The Violators

Parental Advisory Notice - Rated R

Chapter 1

 "Let's do this, home-boy".

Mule racked his pistol-gripped 12-gauge and then let it swing, on a strap, underneath the cover of his long jacket. My car door sounded like a gunshot as it slammed shut.  True, our Cimarron looked like a dog, but it was that rare combination of reliable, invisible, and disposable.

The familiar adrenaline buzz was ringing in my ears and I could taste copper.  I remembered to check for the crash car and glanced back.  I caught the eye of Cal, behind the wheel, and simply nodded with hooded eyes.  He was parked just west of the intersection of Hall and Harvey, which was a four-way stop.  Traffic was light as the evening rush hour had eased.  Purple dusk - an angry sky, maybe - was the backdrop.

Felt my heart pounding - hard - as we pushed the doors open into 'The Diamond Exchange'.  I followed Mule inside.   After crossing the threshold, I backed up into the door, blocking entrance and exit, and raised the Glock 17 I had concealed beneath my coat.  And took in the view.

"Freeze, motherfuckers!"  Mule screamed at the top of his lungs at the single customer and two employees.  "Move and you are dead!"  No one moved and no one said a word, but everyone had turned white as Liquid Paper.  Which is the way I would look if a sawed-off Mossberg was pointing at me.

From our homework, I knew that guy farthest from us was the owner - a bespectacled and overweight middle-aged fool.  His gut hung over his belt and he was panting.  And we knew he had the combination to the safe in the back.  The Mosler with the loose diamonds and gold bullion in it.

Mule pointed at him.  "You!  Back away from the counter with your hands up".  No silent alarms today, bitch.  "Everyone else, drop to the floor, now!"  Good, no John Waynes in the crowd.  The employee - looked to be a twenty-something, skinny kid with a bad complexion - plastered himself to the floor with his eyes squeezed shut.  Likewise for the citizen, who appeared to be murmuring a prayer.

I checked my watch.  We had about three minutes before the precinct shift change was through.  Maybe five or six at the outside.  The next scheduled police drive-by was a few minutes after that - about the same time that the hired security guard got back from the McDonald’s drive-through, just like clockwork.

My mustache itched.  Actually, my fake mustache itched.  We were wearing baseball caps and pastey mustaches.  The better to obscure our faces without looking like crack-snorting gang-bangers.  No stocking caps for us.  We’re the Boy Scout armed robbers: prepared.  Or so we hoped.

Mule was in the back with the owner.  I heard his voice, calm and steady.  “No silver.  Gold coins, cash and any Rolexes or Pateks.  Those two little bags.  Put it all in the knapsack. “  I breathed a sigh of relief.  Our scouting had paid off.  The safe was open.  I hadn’t looked forward to fucking with a locked Mosler.  There were a few ways to do it, but peeling or popping it weren’t in the cards with the limited time we had.

I called to Mule, “ninety seconds.”  He came out of the back, leading the owner with the barrel of the Mossberg, and winked at me.  The knapsack was looped over his shoulder to keep his hands free.  “Here’s the drill,” he said in a steady, quiet voice.  “No one needs to get hurt.  Keep yourselves peeled to the floor for five minutes.  We have a spotter hanging out across the street.  Any one raises up, follows us out, whatever, he’s going to get some caps popped into him.  That’s a promise.  Make sure you wait 300 seconds.  I wouldn’t want any of you fine citizens to get hurt.”

We concealed our weapons beneath our coats and exited the building.  We didn’t rubber-neck.  We just walked to the Cimarron and climbed in.  Never looked back.  Discipline and all that shit.

We pulled out, eastbound on Hall. I glanced in the passenger side mirror and caught Cal cruising behind us, separated by a Mercedes S-class.  Nice ride.  With a little more preparation, well worth jacking.  Ah well.

Northbound on Truman, then right at the first mall entrance.  The Northside mall.  On a good day, maybe ten thousand cars parked in the lots.  We found a spot inside the west garage structure, well away from the entrance. Only a few shoppers wandering about, but no one was paying attention to us.

In the car, we unstrapped weapons and shoved them - best as we could - underneath the seats.  Peeled our mustaches, glasses and baseball caps, put them in our coat pockets.  We exited the car simultaneously and wandered to the Nordstrom’s entrance. Cal’s ten-year old wood-paneled station wagon was waiting, idling loudly:  the perfect car for a lame.  We took off, northbound again on Truman where it turns into three lanes in each direction.

Mule was in back and tossed the knapsack up to me.  We peeled our coats and gloves and put them in the Hefty bag that was underneath the front passenger seat.  We took a quick right into the Rainbow self-serve car wash and stuffed the trash bag into the oversized refuse bin.  The only customer - a sixtyish geezer - was caressing his Crown Vic with a soapy sponge-brush and paid us no mind.  We hung a U and continued northbound.

None of us said a thing.  No jinxing ourselves.  We listened to Cube on the tape deck for the whole half-hour ride to the suburbs.  I guess this was our commute.  Cube was good jacking music.  Probably none better, despite what Cypress Hill might have to say.  “I heard you say I can’t rap, ho’.  You neeahs duck from the shrapnel.  I’m pushin’ weight like a fatso.”

At the subdivision, we pulled the wagon into the garage.  I grabbed the knapsack and we headed into the kitchen.  Before I opened it, I glanced expectantly at Mule.  “You’ll be pleased,” he said.  Mule was a man of few words.

I spilled the contents onto the Crate and Barrel kitchen table.  There were fifty-seven Kruggerands and Maple Leafs.  One-ouncers.  Ten watches, each retailing from between two and thirty thousand.  Maybe eighteen thousand - give or take a few hundred - in cold, hard cash.  And what we had come for.  Two velvet bags with Hebrew lettering embossed in gold.  I opened each one and poured out tiny pieces of wadded up paper, also with Hebrew words on them.  Inside each wad was a diamond.  The sizes ranged from half a carat to nearly three carats.  And there were sixty-three of them.

Harry Einstein would pay 75% of wholesale for them.  No questions asked.  The way I figured it, we were at a about a hundred grand in diamonds, eighteen grand in gold, an equal amount in cash, and maybe thirty grand in watches.  Conservatively, we’re talking fifty, maybe sixty grand apiece.  For a night’s work.  Well, maybe a bit more than that.  If you plan on being an armed robber, you better prepare.  Or you’ll have ten or twenty years to reconsider your planning.