Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Devil's Lake Heist

Devil’s Lake Live Cam 1, 2011

Willard Wright stepped out of the vestibule of the Security Trust Bank onto the front steps. The thing had gone well. No one had been hurt. He held two bags of currency that he’d checked to make sure didn’t also hold explosive ink packs. All in all, it had been easier than he’d expected. Certainly not like the convenience store over in Grand Forks.

Willard looked up and down Fifth Avenue. Everything looked normal. It was cold and not many people were on the street. He was counting on people not wasting time outside this time of year.

Spiller was right where he was supposed to be in front of the bank. His left leg bounced up and down on the floorboard. His right foot pushed gently on the gas pedal, as if that would send more heat throughout the vehicle. He was anxious to get on. The stolen gray minivan was the perfect cover, Willard had said, the kind of vehicle no one would notice or remember. If they played it right, the van would be abandoned in the shopping center parking lot at the edge of town within minutes. Nobody’d probably even notice it until later that night when the grocery store closed and it was the only vehicle left our front.

Spiller was itchy. He didn’t like the minivan. He’d have preferred something faster. He didn’t trust it to be able to outrun anyone if push came to shove. But Willard had insisted that the Trans Am was too noticeable and memorable.

In the rearview window Spiller could see a girl inside at the School Board building across the street looking out. He hoped she was daydreaming of something more distracting than the snowy street. People came and went from the bank all the time, didn’t they? What’s another nondescript mini van?

Most of all, Spiller was uncertain about Willard. Spiller looked up through the windshield at Willard, cocking his head slightly to let Willard know he had to step it up a notch. Even if they couldn’t hear anything the bank’s alarm was sure to have been tripped by now. The police had to be on their way. Devil’s Fork is not such a large town that it takes any time to get anywhere.

Willard just stood on the bottom step turning his head from side to side, ignoring Spiller’s increasingly insistent looks. The street was still quiet in both directions. He saw a lady and a little girl come out of the furniture store in the next block and race to their pickup truck. The temperature hadn’t been above zero in days. As Willard had predicted, nobody wanted to be out in it.

Willard stood on the step breathing in the frigid air, as if there was no urgency. He turned his head away from the street as if he was thinking about stepping back into the bank. Spiller reached across the steering wheel and rapped his knuckles on the inside of the windshield. But he was wearing gloves and no sound reached the outside. He didn’t see anyone from the bank looking out the window. Maybe Willard wouldn’t be noticed. Just the same, they had to get on. Spiller could swear he heard a siren in the distance.

Willard turned back toward the street and stepped down to the sidewalk. Finally he stepped off the curb to the van. When he opened the door Spiller could hear the siren better. “GET IN!” he hissed under his breath. Willard smiled and tossed the bags into the back of the van. He settled himself into the passenger’s seat as if he had all the time in the world.

Spiller backed the van out into the street. He could see flashing lights over the tops of the other cars between him and the approaching police cruiser about four blocks down the street. He pulled down the visor hoping to obstruct the view of anyone trying to see into the front of the van and pulled away.

Devil’s Lake Like Cam 2, 2011

[This bit of microfiction was inspired by the scenes above.]


  1. Great little tale! Kept me wondering what happens next. "Spiller" and "Willard:" classic names.

  2. Nice build of tension in this bit of "flash fiction". Love it.