I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep at all that night. My eyes were closed and my body was still, but I didn't rest at all. When my quarter-to-eight alarm finally went off I headed straight to the bathroom. I decided againt shaving and climbed into the shower. I made it hot, I wasn't sure why, I just felt like it needed to hurt. Getting dressed, all I could see were the cashiers' faces from yesterday. They were a mix of surprised and terrified, I felt like crap knowing I had instilled those feelings in another person. Without making any version of breakfast I grabbed my bag and headed out the door.
I met the gang outside the school, by the overpass. They were clearly waiting for me huddled into a little group. "You're all here early, normally I have to hound you guys down." I called. Nate was the first to approach me.
"Do you have it?" He was suddenly aggressive and grabbed me. I pushed him back gently.
"Easy, the bag is at home. This is my regular backpack, since you know, I have three regular classes still. I have fourth spare so at lunch I go home, get the cash bag and come back for fifth. Not even you could screw that up with two hours." He didn't relax, but then again I didn't expect him to. He had placed a lot of faith in me, the former thief. I could see it in his eyes. Believing I would sell them all short and keep a bunch of the money for myself. I considered it, I was still pissed about the pickpocket betrayal. It would be so easy to tell Kevin that Nate just didn't show. I couldn't though. I had become a leader to this band of idiots.
For the rest of the day Nate was tense. I tried telling him to relax but he wasn't having it. The others appeared to have accepted it, that is until I talked with Jessica during History. She had more or less resigned to the situation. She confessed to being as scared as Nate was. When Kevin burned everyone but Riley after the pickpocket assignmet, it all became terrifyingly real.
I saw my mom's car out front as I got home from lunch.
"Half day?" I called as I entered.
"More like a quarter." I heard her over the living room tv. "Sewer pipe burst, I probably got home right after you left."
"Nasty...and that's the rest of the leftovers too isn't it?"
"Yup, definitely only had a shelf life of two days, nasty is right." We wound up walking into the kitchen together as she tossed what was left of her food. I ended up making a couple sandwiches and went to watch whatever was already playing. It was some crappy reality show that my mom was naturally, totally buying into. After sitting through as much as I could tolerate I headed downstairs to grab the cash backpack.
"That's not your bag is it?" Crap, mom had caught me on my way out.
"Nah it's Trent's. He crashed here a couple days ago and forgot it."
On my way back I chastised myself for how natural it felt to lie to my mom's face. I heard one of dad's lessons playing back. "A straight up lie will go over much easier if you can toss a half truth in there somewhere." Then I started thinking of how often dad told mom lies like that. To my knowledge she was and is blissfully unaware of her brother and late husband's former part time job.
"That bag have my money in it?" Sudddenly I was in Kevin's classroom, when the hell did that happen?
"Yea." I walked the bag to Kevin's desk. "There's a bunch of flour in there."
"Flour? Why the fuck is my money covered in flour?" Kevin flipped through a bunch of bills spilling the powder everywhere. I explained the in-house bakery and that we believed they were about to move the money to a different safe. "Ah, yes, that addresses why there's so much more here than I expected. Definitely not a bad thing." He put the bills back into the bag and stuffed it under his desk. Tell you all what, for pleasantly surprising me." He paused to think for a moment, I feared for the worst. "You can all have the day off." With that he sent us away.
On our way out we decided to head to a nearby coffee shop that was within walking distance, but barely. Sitting down with our various drinks Trent gave me a stern look. "Mitch we've been talking."
"What does that mean?"
"It means they want to know the story, all of it."
"Fuck, really?" I sipped on my coffee. "Now?"
"Why not now?" Riley looked antsy, which I found funny for a moment.
"Fine, but it's shit. I'm talking about a roller coaster designed to make you puke at the top of a loop and run you through it on the bottom."
"Yea, man. I told them."
I took a deep breath and a deep swig of coffee which burned my mouth. "So you know my dad had been teaching me to do this since I was a kid, it started when I was about eight. My uncle was also in on it. They had been literal partners in crime for years before my parents even got married." As I took a breath I saw that everyone was fixated on me. "I learned when I was twelve, something I shouldn't have. My dad had been getting more aggressive, originally the two of them had a pure stealth creed, but around the time I came into the picture he would hit places solo, without scoping them out first and sometimes attacking people." I paused to let that sink in, also to decide if I would give the final detail. "He even killed a few people." Sure enough, shocked looks all around. Thankfully they kept quiet.
"Yea Nate, really. He and my uncle Ray fought about it a lot apparently. We don't know why he got like that, maybe he wanted more of a challenge or something but it was bringing too much heat onto the crew. Ray tried kicking my dad out, it didn't work."
"So did your dad get arrested or..."
"Nah, Ray told dad that since he wouldn't leave on his own they would do the sterotypical one last heist and call it quits."
"What was the heist?" Jessica had completely polished off her iced whatever the heck by now.
"A house on the other end of the city. Some guy had just cashed a massive inheritance, mostly cash. One day, one hit, a few duffel bags and that would be that."
"Well what fucking happened Mitch?!" Jessica snapped, with nothing to drink her anticipation was apparently building.
"There was no inheritance, the people who owned the place were gone on a vacation. I had snuck into the trunk of Ray's car, the Valiant we used yesterday. I wanted to see them in action together. Ray came out the front door, alone. I wondered what he was doing, he didn't have a bag, nothing. He just lit a cigarette..." I trailed off, not wanting to finish the thought. "And then the house exploded."
Now everyone was leaned in as much as physically possible.
"You mean Ray..." I didn't know who it was, I was just looking at the ceiling, remembering the explosion.
"Yea, Ray killed my dad. He was afraid my dad would influence me, Ray didn't want me growing up to be a killer."
"Holy fuck dude."
"I told you it was shitty."