“If you donīt open this door and pay your rent, I`ll call the police!“ screamed the landlady.
Joe and Dave sighed in relief as they heard her stamping downstairs. They knew she would not call the police, because she tried to avoid any scandal in her house. They also knew that her patience was reaching breaking point, especially when she thought of the money she would get by renting the room to someone else.
“Itīs no good, Joe“, said Dave, breaking the silence. “Weīve got to do something to get money!“
“Shut up, will you!“ rasped Joe. “Canīt you see Iīm trying to think?“
Inspiration was not forthcoming as both youths sat there, heads in hand. Once Dave opened his mouth as if to speak, but quickly closed it again. After all, Joe was the boss and it was his privilege to think up what they were going to do.
After ten minutes of solemn silence, Dave sighed deeply and walked over to the window, as if to gain inspiration from what was happening outside.
Joe glared at him. “What the hell are you doing now?“ he shouted, sounding utterly exasperated. `Muggings` over there was driving him mad! He was chicken! Scared the landlady would get the police! Stupid fool! He wouldnīt even try to leave the joint, in case the landlady caught them going. `Well`, thought Joe, `just as soon as I get the money Iīll show the dope where to get off. `
He stood up and walked over to Dave. Absent-mindedly he watched a van parked across the road. The plumber was putting his tools in the back.
“Well, thereīs someone who likes his job,“ murmured Dave.“ He looks like the plumber I saw on the television programme `PLUMBERS FROM HELL`, you know them who charge householders a lot of money, when there is nothing wrong. I bet his pockets are bursting with money!“
“Shut up“, came the reply from Joe, whose mind was a blank, but he liked to appear on the verge of producing some great ideas. He was now also staring at the plumberīs van and suddenly his great idea materialised!
“Whereīs the old lady?“ he hissed dramatically at Dave, who obediently disappeared. A few minutes later he returned, “Sheīs in the back yard, talking to her from next door.
Here, what have you thought up?“
“Not very much,“ said Joe. He secretly thought it a marvellous idea, but felt he must make it seem as if he was used to having such brainwaves.
They were to get the plumber into their room, knock him out, jump in the van and dump him in the country. By the time he got back to civilisation and raised the alarm, they would have left town with the money. With a bit of luck they could get Mickey down at the garage to spray the van, change the numberplate and they would sell it. It was a cinch!
“Yeah!“ breathed Dave, obviously impressed.
They called the plumber as he walked back to his van.
“ Here!“ yelled Joe. “My mother wants you to have a look at our bathroom, because weīve got a leak; water everywhere. She knocked a nail in the loose floorboards and it went through into the pipes! I have got my finger on the hole!“
Twenty minutes later a confident Joe and a shaking Dave carried the unconscious plumber downstairs.
“Hey! What have you done!“ shrieked the next door neighbour.
“Nothing, he came over all funny!“ shouted Joe, “so weīre taking him to the hospital.“
They quickly climbed in the van.
“Come on, Dave,“ snapped Joe. “You know I canīt drive.“
“Well, Iīve never passed my test,“ said Dave.
Eventually the van moved from the spot rather jerkily.
Joeīs eyes narrowed with a tough pride. All that remained to be done was to dump the plumber and keep the money. Then he could leave Dave to take the rap.
`Joe`, he thought to himself, `you are a real cool customer. If only these other dopes could keep up with my ideas we could have another Great Train Robbery, only bigger still. My name will go down as Al Capone the second. `
The plumberīs van sped down the road.
Dave was on edge in the driverīs seat, his heart and pulse racing at any sign of a policemanīs uniform.
Joe sat next to him, lost in dreams and ambitions.
Sprawled inside the van lay the inert figure of the plumber.
A movement from behind caught Joeīs attention. He spun round to see the plumber regaining consciousness. Joe removed his flick-knife from his pocket, made a threatening gesture and proceeded to outline his masterful plan to the plumber, whose mouth gaped wider with every word.
“Itīs not every day someone ordinary has a chance to meet a mastermind of the criminal world,“ boasted Joe. “Itīs a shame you wonīt be able to tell the tale,“ looking meaningful at his flick-knife.
“Not a murder, Joe!“ Dave stuttered, but was silenced by Joeīs implacable stare.
“Watch the road, Dave“, came Joeīs coldly threatening command.
The plumber was shaking like a leaf. Begging Joe to let him out of the van, “Please think of my wife and five children! What are they going to do without their dad!“ He was sobbing and put his hand in his overall pocket.
“Thatīs right, Mister. Show us a sweet little photo,“ scowled Joe, his curled upper lip emphasising his mood.
Then he froze.
The plumber had not drawn a photo from his trouser pocket.
He was holding a gun!
The panic that seized Joe turned his stomach and made his head pound. He was petrified.
His knife fell to the floor of the van. He was breathing in short gasps.
Dave was still trying to keep the van under control. He gathered that something had gone wrong and let out a loud whine.
“Just keep on driving as you were and do as I say,“ the man with the gun voiced coolly. He turned to Joe with a stern face and a jaw set like rock.
“Let me tell you something. Iīm no green plumber. Iīm the one behind all these recent house robberies. You know the ones that get a big write-up in the newspapers, because the burglar always seems to know a lot about the house layout. That only goes to show how well I case the joint. Of course, this isnīt the only disguise I use. I must have at least... but donīt letīs get off the subject. As you rightly said, itīs not every day someone ordinary has the chance to meet a mastermind of the criminal world!“
The plumber emphasised his threat by pointing the gun at Joeīs head.
Daveīs sweaty hands gripped the wheel. His confused mind told him to put his foot down hard on the accelerator.
The van shot through the red traffic light and was hit by a large truck. All three men died in the crash: a stolen van containing a lot of money, a gun, flick-knife and plumberīs merchandise.
The driver never passed his driving test.
The landlady did not receive her money, of course.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Erika Seetzen-Woods.
Published on e-Stories.org on 04/29/2004.