So far, so good. Reset was standing next to the safe. Speedy was zipping around, staying faster than Reset could see…and hopefully faster than anyone else could notice as well. There was just one watchman, and he was knocked out. Speedy had been forced to break in upstairs, the noise had drawn the man to them and Speedy had knocked him out…and may have broken a finger when he did it. After incapacitating the watchman, he had quickly run downstairs to the basement where he disabled the video system in the home. Then Speedy had hit the master power switch in the home, cutting off most of the house’s electricity; there was still a backup system in place with the safe and the vault.
It was 04:00 on Thanksgiving morning. Just after 23:00 on the west coast; Speedy and Reset were trying to get this robbery done before the holiday. The safe was on the second level, in a den lined with bookshelves. Behind a portrait of an old man in a smoking jacket was the safe. Reset swung the picture open and with a glove covered hand spun the dial. Left, right, left, right, left. Click. Inside the wall safe was a button which would open the massive door hidden behind the bookshelves on the west wall.
Slowly he opened the safe, when it was about halfway open he ducked quickly behind the massive dark desk, getting out of eyesight from whatever he expected was going to come into the room.
Whoever it was, they didn’t disappoint. The door flew open with a loud bang, hinges torn from torn from one edge. Into the room rushed a normal looking man, about two meters tall, skinny with a close-cropped bit of red hair on top, matched by scrawny beard on his chin. He was dressed in security vest, with a belt laden with gear. He had hit the door with one shoulder and the hand opposite came up with an odd shaped gun, about the size of a carbine with a bulbous knob at business end.
Without so much as a word ‘Red’ sprayed the room with the gun.
“Fuck.” Rest muttered, the immediate future wasn’t so cloudy now, but anything more than half a minute out was opaque, “How do people live that way?” The spray from the carbine was criss-crossing the room in a random pattern, sticking to the walls and leaving a web behind it. The room was rapidly being locked down by sticky strands of goo. Even with his limited view of the future Reset knew the crime duo was in trouble. He lowered himself to his belly behind the desk, took careful aim at Red’s feet and fired off three shots, at least one of which connected.
Red went down, the web sprayed into a corner of the room and then down onto the floor, as his finger continued holding the trigger down. Two more shots, into the sprayer this time and it blew up in almost slow motion, spewing a mound of gray slime out in an arc that solidified in the doorway, trapping Red with his bleeding feet in the room and his torso out in the hall.
“Where the fuck are you, Speedy?” Reset called.
“Here.” Came his friends voice from close to the window, “I, uh, I’m stuck.”
“What?” The room wasn’t even a third covered in webs and Speedy should have avoided them easy enough.
“I touched one, well my arm did and it stuck, this shit is serious strong, brother.” Speedy turned on a red bulbed torch in the darkness and Reset went to his friend. The feet in the doorway started moving, kicking and struggling. A loud crack sounded from that direction as the bulk of the solidified web broke the door frame.
“Shit.” Reset said.
“Double shit.” Speedy echoed. “Get me loose.”
Reset didn’t know what would release his friend, so he future viewed some solutions for a moment, he shook his head, “Can’t cut it, burn it.” He nodded toward the still struggling man on the floor, “He has a solvent in his belt, but he can’t reach it…for now. Neither can we. I think we might have to kill him.”
“Why?” Speedy asked. Neither young man liked the prospect. They had done their homework on this case and any deaths escalated the mobster’s reactions beyond anything being stolen from ever could.
“He gets out in a few minutes, he’s strong. I can barely see that far ahead right now…from here I can wade through the future, but it’s slow and like in a fog.” Reset stepped toward Red, “From here I lose more distance, the closer I get to him and when his face looks at me, and I get shut down, no better than you.”
“No offense. We going to have to cut your jacket free.”
“And leave part of it here? No way!”
“Then we kill him and take our chances.” Reset said.
Speedy just looked at him and shook his head once before pulling out a long, sturdy knife. Once in hand he carefully started slicing through the tough fabric of his jacket. Reset, meanwhile went to the vault behind the bookshelves. He had gloves on and quickly moved the fake shelf out of the way to reveal another combination lock, along with a massive stainless-steel latch recessed into the door. He dialed the second combination. Hitting the button in the wall safe was required to open this safe, but also set off a silent alarm, which Reset hadn’t been able to figure out how to disable, hence the scene with Red. When this vault door opened, Speedy was by his side.
“I sped up and did it that way. I held a lighter under the threads for a while too, but it didn’t want to burn, just sort of melted.”
They were both carrying heavy masks designed to absorb the impacts from Speedy’s travel along with heavy clothing to protect them when he traveled with Reset in his arms. They pulled the safe open and gasped at what they saw. The safe was a room three meters square and it was full of duffle bags and milk crates of cash.
Speedy let out a whistle, “Fucking A!”
Reset shook his head, “No. Not fucking-a. We fucked up. There is no way we could carry this much. We’re idiots! They brought this shit here in a van and we were, what? Going to carry it out on our backs?” He walked to the nearest duffle bag and unzipped it, running his hand through the bundles of rubber band strapped cash. “Fives. Threes. This one’s tens. Fuck, hardly any of them are twenties…oh, wait, here’s one of fifties.” Reset scanned the bag. “One bundle of fifties in the whole goddamned bag!”
Realization set in for Speedy and he quietly said, “Shit.” He tilted his head sideways for a moment. “Okay, what is our exit.”
“Through the window.”
“I’m on it. You future out the best bags, dig through and put them most valuable in the center.”
“It’s too bulky, you want to carry a million dollars in twenties and fifties across the States? It can’t…”
Speedy interrupted him, “It is what it is. Stop whining, follow the plan as best we can; we ain’t walking out of here with nothing and even fifty thousand is a good night. Do it.”
Reset nodded, sometimes Speedy could be more pragmatic when it came to making the best of bad situations. He quickly sorted through the best of the bags and was digging through retrieving the highest denomination bundles of cash from other bags by the time Speedy came back a few minutes later to grab the first load.
“Good, I’m taking these to our rendezvous point a couple miles away, keep working.”
Reset kept at it, but the pile in the center of the room was gone in seconds. “More?” Speedy asked.
Reset shrugged, “A few thousand here and there, how are we for guns?”
“Why are you asking? Pound for pound cash is worth more than a gun.”
Reset waved his hand at the piles of duffle bags, “With this shit, it’s actually closer than you might think. Who steals fucking ones?”
Speedy put his hand on his friend’s shoulder, “Knock it off. Let’s blow.”
“We have a few minutes still, probably closer to twelve.”
“Fuck it, let’s get out of here, what I have will take me three trips as it is. How much did we get?”
“Two hundred, thirty-seven thousand and change.” Reset answered off the top of his head, inside the vault he was able to see the future very clearly.
“Not lair money. But nothing to sneeze at.”
“It’s fucking..” Reset started, Speedy put a finger on his lips and the two were in the wooded clearing some distance from the house. A hefty pile of duffle bags was near them.
“I hate it when you move me like that.”
“Sometimes I get tired of your whining. We just stole more money than any of us would earn in ten years and you’re bitching about it when you should be celebrating.”
“You’re right. Sorry.”
“Suit up, I’m bringing you home. Grab as much as you can, maybe I can do it in two loads.”
Reset didn’t argue, he just pulled on his protective gear and picked the heaviest duffles he could find. Speedy hefted him up and, from Reset’s perspective he was back in Kathy’s garage in an instant. From Speedy’s point of view things were different. He had explained how it worked to Reset before, that his perspective of time was different, as fast as he was, from his side of things the trip still took him almost four hours each way. It did take him two more trips, just several seconds real time, but Speedy was dead on his feet by the time he was done, even with what he called a ‘rest stop’ after the second trip, where he slept in speed mode to stave off fatigue.
“Check the bags.” Speedy said and Reset did, looking for tracking devices, explosive dye packs and other unusual items that could be traceable.
“Okay, lets get this put away and then I’m dumping the bags, just to be sure.”
Reset admired Speedy’s paranoia, it helped make them a good team. Both had evolved from only a few short years ago, feeling that just because they were young and had super talents didn’t mean they could slack off or get lazy. Speedy hid the money in trash bags in Kathy’s crawl space, buried nearly two feet down in the hard-packed rocky soil beneath the house.
It was nearly midnight, real time, before they finished up. They turned their hand to working on Reset’s car, each with an open container of beer near them when Kathy, on cue, opened up the garage door from the house and looked in on them, “Reset, it’s after midnight!” Of course, Kathy didn’t say ‘Reset’, but he only ever heard his shiner hero name now, even when she used his given name. She scowled at the open beers, “You know you shouldn’t get into the beer, you’re too young.”
She said it out of concern and she was dying, so Reset nodded, “Yes, mom. It’s just been a longer job than we thought and I have to get to work Friday, so we gotta get it done.”
“Just like, Don.” Kathy went to the garage fridge and got herself a beer, popping the cap with wall mounted ‘Cola’ opener mounted there for that purpose. She sighed, “Will it work? I mean we have the money, we could pay someone else to do this.”
“Then me and Speedy wouldn’t learn anything, besides it keeps us off the streets. You know how you adults want to keep us off the streets.”
She laughed, “Smart ass! Also, just like Don. I guess he had more of a good influence on you than I thought.”
“Better a smart ass, then a dumb ass, any day of the year.” Reset said, repeating a phrase the man had also said to her many times.
Kathy sighed and a look of melancholy passed over her face. Reset was worried he had touched the wrong buttons, but she asked, “Speedy have you talked him into going to Berkley with you next year?”
“He like being stupid. Says he’s too smart for school.”
“Ma, there’s still time for that, it’s like a year away!”
“Just go. We have the money, you have the grades. Pull yourself out of…” she waved her hand at the engine of the car, “This!”
“What blue collar isn’t good enough?” Reset said, moving down the well-worn line of conversation.
“The future is computers. Go get into computers.”
“Yeah, Reset, you know their putting ‘em in all the cars now. Soon won’t be able to fix one without hooking it up to another computer.”
“Maybe…” Reset made like he was considering it, “I’m just good with the markets. Computers, huh? Maybe I should move some of our stocks there? I’ve heard there is going to be some sort of network revolution or something soon.”
“They’ve been saying that for years! Keep our money in Japan, in steel and cars. Everybody needs a car, who needs a ‘network’ for computers?”
“Hah! Yeah, smart. You can’t drive a network to work, can you?” Reset said. He had already moved more than three quarters of their stock into the neophyte tech industry, which he knew was going to make him rich in less than a decade, especially as he laundered in tonights ill-gotten gains over the next year. “Sure, I’ll go to Berkley, but I’m studying math and economics, not computers.”
“Really?” Kathy asked, her eyebrows shot up and she put one hand to her mouth, “It’s all I’ve every wanted for you. A college degree!”
Reset could challenge that, but the mood was good and he felt oddly sentimental, so he just nodded, “I sort of want it too. I just don’t want to…take your money is all. Maybe I could get loans?”
“Grants and scholarships. Mr Gravel has it all lined up for me and my family isn’t that poor.” Speedy said, “Are you really going to do this?”
“I’ll try it, sure.” Reset said.
Kathy stepped over to him and hugged him, against his protests, “Ma! I’m filthy! You’re gonna get all greasy!”
She laughed and when she pulled back there were tears in her eyes, she quickly wiped them away and turned, using a swig of beer to keep the young men from seeing her cry. “We should have another beer. To celebrate.”
They had two more and Kathy left them to finish buttoning up the car when it was close to one. Once the door to the house closed Reset nodded and the parts of the car seemed to flow together as if by magic as Speedy put it back together.
“You really going to do it?”
“I’m thinking I will. A degree does give me legitimacy and I have to go somewhere, do something.”
“Good.” Speedy said with a nod. “I was worried about how I would pass without you with me. And I…” Speedy paused, “I would miss you.”
“What? You’ll never miss me, Speedy. We’ll always be together. Forever.”
“Forever.” Speedy said.
The lie felt like sand on Reset’s tongue; forever for Speedy, not for Reset. Something they had done tonight had changed their futures. Reset couldn’t see a way through the next few years where both of them were alive.