The Lieutenant – Chapter 28 Shots Rang Out

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The Lieutenant – Chapter 28 Shots Rang Out

To read previous chapters of “Death by Parking,” here

 

The crew met at the bank at 10 and were coordinating the ‘real’ bankers and moving them into coaches at the side door. The ‘con’ bankers were also moving into place. Veronica looked out the window and saw Cosner and Smith getting out of a taxi. And they weren’t ready.

 

Josh and Veronica ran to the front door, took a deep breath, and walked out to meet the other two. 

 

“Oh, I thought we were picking you up at 11,” said Josh. 

 

“That’s OK. We thought we would come a few minutes earlier and get the full feel for British Banking. You don’t have any objection, do you?” Cosner had a smile on his face.

 

At that moment, shots rang out, and the four hit the sidewalk. 

 

Watching the drama unfold below, Rickey just shook his head. What next?

 

Paul Manning put the Wrather PPK back in his pocket and leaned back into the shadows. That should give his team enough time to finish the preparations for Cosner and Smith. Their early arrival had screwed the pooch, so to speak, and Josh and Veronica could keep them at bay for the few minutes it would take to finish preparations at the bank.

 

Paul didn’t like to be unarmed, particularly in an unfamiliar environment. He had contacted a friend of a friend before he left for London, and the PPK was waiting for him when he arrived. This was unusual for the UK since such weapons were virtually banned except for those holding a police permit, which were few and far between. Carrying the German-made weapon made him feel a bit like James Bond. 

 

He was watching the front of the bank when he saw Cosner and Smith arrive early and knew that would throw a “spanner in the works,” as they said in the UK. Squeezing off four quick shots, aimed so no one would be hurt, was quick and easy. He was sorry he hadn’t time to let the team know what was happening, but they would get over it.

 

Rickey wasn’t sure what was happening, but he kept folks moving in the bank. The ‘real’ employees were loaded on buses and heading for an upscale pub near the Thames, and his crew was moving into position. Five more minutes and they would be ready. Thank heavens for that gunman, whoever he was.

 

Josh and Veronica led Cosner and Smith to a nearby coffee shop and dusted them off. A cup of coffee allowed them to get their heartbeats back to normal. Cosner was calm, but Smith was irate, assuming he was the target. 

 

Veronica explained that he couldn’t be in the sights of the gunman as he needed to be alive to finalize the deal with the bank. She was able to convince him that the attack was random, and although Smith bought her story, particularly after she ran her hand up his thigh, Cosner wasn’t so sanguine. 

 

“This was just a little too convenient. It slowed us down and enabled this group to do whatever they were doing to the bank. I don’t like it.”

 

“I think we should go and see the bank,” said Smith. “Perhaps CEO St.John Smythe can explain.”

 

And off they went.

 

No police had responded. The PPK sounded like a muffled backfire, and most Brits were unfamiliar with gunshots. Paul was counting on the local populace to refrain from overreacting to the shots. He was right. Cosner and Smith knew what they were and reacted accordingly.

 

Veronica and Josh escorted the two past the guards in the lobby, up the marble staircase, and onto the banking floor, which was humming with activity.

 

They walked into CEO St. John Smythe’s office.

 

“What the hell is going on,” said Paul’s old lieutenant. “Are you trying to get us killed?”

 

“Obviously, we didn’t do a very good job of it,” St.John Smythe said. “You appear unscathed. You asked to see the offices during a normal working day. There they are. Frankly, I’m getting a tad annoyed at all this juvenile poking into our affairs. Can we forgo this ridiculous checking back and forth and proceed with the serious work needed to ensure that both parties are comfortable with the transaction?”

 

“Rest assured that we are more than comfortable with the bank,” said Smith. “But perhaps it would be better if we continued our discussions back in LA.”

 

“I have no objection to that. We will meet a week from today. Contact Veronica and the two of you can set up the meeting.”

 

Although Veronica wanted as little as possible to do with Smith, she knew that having her close to him would enable the con to proceed with good intel within his organization. She was sure she could hold him off until the deal was done.

 

“I believe you have a 5 PM flight. When we meet again, we want to ensure you have the funds necessary to complete a transaction of this size. Please have the proper documents ready.”

 

St. John Smythe stood, signaling the end of the meeting.

 

“I’ll call the limo to take us to Heathrow,” said Veronica. “If you have no objection, I’ll come back to LA with you.”

 

Josh, Rickey, and St. John Smythe left for Paul’s hotel. They were breathing fire.

 

“It was a pretty good piece of shooting. If I do say so myself,” said Paul. “I got you the extra few minutes you needed to get your act together before Smith and Cosner walked up the stairs.”

 

The three were shocked into silence. They didn’t realize that Paul was the one behind the shots. 

 

“I think it’s best that this little episode remains in the historical files, never to be spoken of again,” said Rickey.

 

The team packed and headed for the airport. They ensured that they were on a different plane from Cosner, Smith, and Veronica, opened a bottle of Champagne, and were soon sleeping the sleep of the just. 

 

“What else could possibly go wrong?” thought Rickey as he fell asleep. 

 

What indeed?

Article contributed by:
John Van Horn
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