Monday, October 5, 2009

A Twist Of Noir 197 - Michael Kechula


Originally published at Powder Burn Flash on July 23, 2008

“How much was in the safe, honey?” Ann asked, while cleaning her pistol.

“Fifty thousand,” said Alex.

“No way!”

“It’s true,” he said. “Not only that. Look what I found in the safe.” He tossed a clump of papers on the motel bed.

“What’s this?”

“A plan for a coin shop heist. It’s supposed to happen in two days. That’s why so much money was in the safe. Probably pay for the driver, and whatever.”

“Oh Hell!” Ann yelled. “You musta robbed mob money. I don’t want my share.”

“But with this you can get that fur coat and diamond tennis bracelet you want so much. Well, that means more for me,” Alex said.

“Yeah. More bullets for you when they find out.”

“How the hell will they find out?” he asked. “We’re unknowns around here. Listen, I stopped for coffee and read the plan. It’s pure genius. Somebody’s gonna hit a coin shop that’s loaded with gold and silver ingots without serial numbers. So, I got a brilliant idea.”

“Like what?”

“We’ll use their plan and pull the robbery before they do.”

“Wait,” she said. “We’re talking heavy stuff here. You rob the safe of a company---probably one of the mob’s legit operations. You get fifty thou, plus a plan for a heist. Bad enough you took their cash, but you also took their plan. Wake up! We’re talking mob, here. They’ll go ballistic. They’ll turn this city upside down looking for us.”

“Let them. We’ll be in Mexico on our honeymoon.” He grabbed her and kissed her hard.

“I love you so much, Alex,” she said. “You know how protective I am about you. Listen to me. I got a bad feeling about this. Please…for me…for the sake of our future life together…take it all back. We got enough to live on for six months.”

“Are you crazy? You want me to go there, open the safe and put everything back?”

“Yeah. Right now.”

“You going soft on me, Love?”

“No way,” she said. “There’s plenty of other jobs to pull. Forget this one. Listen to what I’m saying.”

“Are you having one of your intuitions?”

“Yeah. It’s a bad one. Take it back. Real quick.”

Alex trusted Ann’s intuition. It’d gotten them out of a few pickles over the past few months. Without another word, he dropped everything into a black laundry bag, kissed her passionately, and left.

Intuition or no, Alex really hated to see a good plan go to waste. Why should somebody else get all them gold and silver ingots? Charlie in Fresno can melt them and cast them into palm-sized bars. They’ll be easy to sell. Plus we can use the extra money now that we’re gonna get married. I wanna get her that beautiful band she likes so much.

Passing Kinko’s copy shop, he was struck with an idea.


Alex woke Ann. “Look, Sweetie. I copied the plan. Now there’s no link between the plan and us. So there’s nothing to worry about. We can pull the job tonight. And then we’ll head to Mexico and get married.”

Throwing her arms around him, she said, “I’m gonna marry the most brilliant crook in the whole world.”

She didn’t tell him her intuition nagged even worse.

They spent a few hours studying the plan. At noon, they drove downtown to check out the coin shop. Alex occupied the owner by buying a silver commemorative coin, while Ann looked the place over.

“It’s just like the drawings in the plan,” she said. “You were right. That plan is dynamite.”

“We’ll hit it at midnight,” Alex said.


“Rise and shine, Honey,” she said. “It’s time to get those sweet ingots.”

On the way to the coin shop, a dozen fire engines raced by.

“Wow. Must be a huge one,” Alex said.

Street barriers blocked them several blocks from the coin shop.

“What’s going on, Officer?” Alex asked.

“Whole block’s on fire.”

“Oh God, my uncle’s coin shop is up that way,” Ann said with faked alarm.

“That’s toast, along with a bunch of other stores,” the cop said.

“Sonovabitch!” Alex yelled as he turned the car toward the Interstate. “Talk about rotten luck. We get a chance to make a real killing, and this happens. It just ain’t right. I had fifty grand in my hands before you made me take it back. Now we got nothing for all that work.”

“Fate,” she said. “It wasn’t meant to be. Let’s leave for Mexico right now. Please.”

As they drove toward the border, Alex tuned the radio to a news station.

A newscaster was interviewing the Police Chief.

“We think it started in a coin dealer’s shop,” the Chief said. “The arsonist used a Molotov cocktail. That’s why the fire spread so fast. Right now, three people are dead, including a fireman who has a wife and four kids. And the fire isn’t out yet.”

“Hear that?” Alex asked.

“Yeah. Tough break”

“What’s that up ahead?”

“Looks like a roadblock,” she answered. “Must be a hundred cop cars.”

“No sweat. They ain’t got nothing on us,” Alex said, as they approached the barriers.

Suddenly, cops brandishing pistols ordered them out of the car.

“What the hell is this?” Alex yelled.

“You’re under arrest for suspicion of arson and murder.”

“You’re making a big mistake. I’m gonna sue you for false arrest!”

“We have a witness. He wrote down your license plate. You have the right to remain silent...”


While cyanide gas filled the chamber, Ann wished she’d never gone to the coin store an hour before they were supposed to rob it.

“I didn’t have a choice,” she muttered in the rising fog. “I hadda do it so we could get married and have children.”

Drawing her last breath, she screamed, “If I didn’t burn it down, we woulda got killed during the robbery!”

BIO: Michael A. Kechula is a retired tech writer. His fiction has won first place in 8 contests and placed in 7 others. He’s also won Editor’s Choice awards 4 times. His stories have been published by 116 magazines and 32 anthologies in Australia, Canada, England, India, Scotland, and US. He’s authored two books of flash and micro-fiction stories: “A Full Deck of Zombies--61 Speculative Fiction Tales” and “The Area 51 Option and 70 More Speculative Fiction Tales.” eBook versions available at and Paperback available at


Sheila Deeth said...

Oh wow! I didn't see that coming. Very clever.

Joyce said...

Ooops! Never would have guessed at THAT outcome! Loved it.