by Damian

He knew what he had to do. Facing a challenge greater than any he has ever faced before, he sets aside all doubt about his ability to accomplish the task at hand. He closes his eyes. The calm, warm summer wind passes over his face. "Achoo!" Damn flowers. He struggles to regain his composure. He won't allow allergies to distract him from what must be done. He goes over the steps once again. The first step is easy. He is thankful for that. He repeats the second step in his mind. A mental image of him acting out the steps he is to perform are running over and over again in his head. "Will it really be as easy as it seems to be?", he wonders. Fuck it; it's too late to second-guess yourself. He looks at his watch. The time approaches ever so slowly. "When did seconds take so long?" He calls the time of action "kickoff". The football analogy calms his mind. The Cowboys won last weekend. That has to be a good sign. He imagines his friends and family enjoying his moment with him. Once the task is complete he will be a new man. Life as he knew it yesterday will be as if it were years ago once he lives life tomorrow. One last deep breath. Time to take the field.

The phone rings. It's his mother. "Have you done it yet?", she screeches. He doesn't need this right now. "No". "Why not?" "I just haven't." "Well, hurry up, we don't have all day." "I'll be done soon." Pause. "You know I love you, right?" He didn't. "Sure, mom." He tossed the phone in the back seat of his van. No more distractions. Now it's time for kickoff. He opens the van door and looks around carefully. He glances at the dual glass doors of the large art deco-style building across the street. He zips his jacket. He starts across the street narrowly avoiding getting hit by a passing car, but he is safe nonetheless. He breathes a couple of deep breaths. The first step is always the easiest. Now it gets hard. Or so he was told. He is new to this. He, his mom, and his younger brother have been planning this for some time. He has heard stories of his father and how he is a legend in these parts. He could never live up to that. "I'm not my father", he repeats over and over in his head. One day he will believe that. He snaps out of it. This is no time to sort out emotional baggage. He turns towards the glass doors and they open automatically. As expected. The lobby was fairly empty. Except for a few people. He was greeted at the door by an armed security guard. "Morning, sir." "Morning." He avoided making eye contact as his voice cracked a little. No matter. He couldn't believe how calm he was. Liars. The first step was the hardest. This part is easy. He makes his way past another employee. "Welcome to First National Bank." He nods. No more talking, he has already said too much. He passes all the desks in the lobby, the long row of teller windows protected by Plexiglass. Finally! He swings open the bathroom door and collapses in a stall. The adrenaline rush aborted momentarily. His body needed a break. He was sweaty all over. No time to waste. He opened his jacket and unveiled the device. It was eerily beautiful. So much potential to harm in such a small package. This was a find of a lifetime. He lifted himself and went to the wall closest to the door. He applied adhesive to the wall and set the timer device. All set. 10 minutes is all that stood between him and the possibility of a new life. God knows the one he has hasn't been good to him.

Time to move. He hustles out of the bathroom careful not to make eye contact with anyone. The bank customers are slowly filing in. He does feel for them. As a matter of fact he has fought his mother and brother on this plan for months. He would be happy with your standard bank heist. But his mom is very persuasive. And his brother is very impetuous. And he is very ambivalent. His brother and mother usually win out. He exits the bank and walks leisurely across the street. He checks his watch. Two minutes have already elapsed. He has to start moving. He starts up his van and makes a right turn on the next street. The phone rings. "Hey bro, when can we come collect?" "Give it about 10 minutes." "Dude, if you pull this off, you would be more of a legend than dad even was." "That's not why I'm doing this." "Then why are you doing it?" "To get away." "I want to get away too, bro." "No, I really mean get away, for good." "Away from mom and me?" He paused. He always felt he had an obligation to his brother. To mitigate whatever corrupting influence his mom has on him. To look over his shoulder and make sure he doesn't make too many mistakes. To be his big brother. "You can come with me." "I can't leave mom alone." "Yes, you can. She will have money and she will be able to take care of herself." "I don't want us to break up, we are a team." "We are supposed to be a family." He parks about 8 blocks away from the bank in some metered parking. 5 minutes have passed. 5 more to go. "Mom wants to talk to you." "No, don't put her...." "So how much more time do we have?" "Little under 5 minutes." "We are on our way. You did good son." She hangs up. He knows he didn't do good. He did well. And in this situation, well is about as much good as you can do. He starts thinking about what he plans on doing with his money. Definitely leave the country. Maybe Australia. Yeah, that's it. An Australian beach town. Where he could be alone. 2 minutes left. His thoughts drift to his dad again. Would he be proud of the man he has become? He doesn't remember much of his father. He only hears stories from his mom and people who knew him, family friends. They always talk about how respected he was in the community. How he was dubbed "the Godfather" because if you asked a favor of him, any favor, chances are he could grant your wish. That's if you were in his good graces. If you weren't, God help you. 1 minute left. He didn't want to be his father. The little he remembers, the more he hears about him, the less he wants to be like him. He isn't his father. But he is like him in more ways than he would like to admit.

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