I stared at the open bag, estimating that it must’ve held at least 50 grand. I then quickly closed it, and asked Steve if he’d lost his mind, to which he replied with a series of broken sentences regarding gambling debts and unpaid rent. I attempted to explain how this wasn’t the answer, and tried to convince him to give himself up to the police.
“Everything was going great until you showed up and brought them with you!” he replied, throwing his backpack back on top of his shoulders.
The intercom crackled once more, advising all passengers to exit the station and again mentioning code 54-A. Both our heartbeats raced as we panicked, trying to figure out what to do.
From above we heard footsteps rushing down the stairs accompanied by the sounds of guns cocking. Stuck in the corner, Steve and I looked down at the metro rails. We both knew this was our only way out, so we hopped down onto the tracks and began running into the dark underground tunnel of the metro, occasionally looking back to ensure no train was going to run us down. As our feet quickly moved us away from the cops, we heard their radios come on and off as they searched for us. Luckily, they didn’t know if we were dangerous or not – though I assume Officer Murray was able to convince them we were – so they would probably take their time in searching the station, covering and securing every corner before moving on.
We continued down the track and soon saw a parked train in the distance. We ran along side of it, up to what seemed like a small metro station, and then found the end of the tunnel. Steve explained that this was the employee entrance, which meant we could walk out of the station as did the train conductors.
We tried a few doors only to find that they were all locked, and finally gave up and sat down on the platform floor. My mind was spinning, but obviously not as much as Steve’s. He began shaking, saying incoherent things and incomplete sentences regarding jail, gambling, dept and murder. I realized at that moment that I obviously didn’t know the guy as much as I thought I did. Nevertheless, I tried to calm him down, telling him that everything was going to be okay. Truth be told, however, I wasn’t so certain of that myself. I knew it was only a matter of time before the SWAT team would come walking down the track, and they’d find the two of us, sitting casually in this small, dark station.
Maybe they’d be nice with us if we surrendered, I thought to myself.
“You kids need help?”
The voice echoed in the darkness of the station and made both Steve and I jump to our feet. We looked around for the person who’d spoken, but saw only shadows and darkness. Then, as though appearing out of nowhere, a tall lean man with bushy hair and a beard appeared before us.
“I presume those cops be lookin’ for both of ya?” he asked with a lisp that could only be caused by the many teeth he was missing. We both nodded slowly, uncertain if we could trust him.
“Well,” he continued, clearing his throat, “if ya don’t want ‘em to find ya, better come this way.”
The man turned and began walking to the other side of the track. From there, he climbed up a wall and shimmied his way into a crack about four feet tall and one foot wide. Steve and I both looked at ourselves, somewhat puzzled, and figured we didn’t have much choice but to follow him.
We hopped down onto the track and climbed up the other side. I squeezed through the crack first, the sharp stone scratching both my arms. Once I was through it was Steve’s turn, and he pushed himself halfway before coming to a complete stop.
“Ah shit dude, I’m stuck,” he said, trying to pull himself out of the crack.
“Yea, I think its your backpack, seems to be caught on something,” I said, looking over his shoulder. “Can you back out?”
Steve answered with a shake of the head: he wasn’t going anywhere. I put my hand against the backpack and tried to pull it, but it wouldn’t budge. We tried once more, and then we froze like deer caught in headlights.
“Do you hear that?” Steve quietly whispered to me, sweat dripping from his brow.
“Yes,” I answered, trying to move as little as possible.
The echoes of quiet footsteps could be heard from behind Steve, which could only mean that a small group of someones were walking down the tunnel towards us. Those someones, I assumed, were members of the SWAT team, and a radio cackle confirmed my suspicion.
“What are you two doing?” The lean man that had lead us to this crack in the wall asked from a distance.
“We need to go, now!” I told Steve as forcefully as I could without raising my voice.
“But I’m stuck!”
“No, you’re not stuck, your back pack is, take it off and lets go!”
Steve looked at me as though I had just betrayed him: it was clear that he wasn’t going to leave the backpack behind. I plunged my hand into his bag and searched around, finding the pliers he’d used to remove my handcuffs earlier during the night. The pliers were multi-use – kind of like two Swiss Army Knives attached at the ends – and I opened them up and pulled out the knife part. Then, with little effort, I sliced through the bag’s straps, separating it from Steve, who came crashing to the ground with a swear and a thud.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing? I need that!” Steve shouted, some of the money falling out of the backpack that swung on the wall.
My reply was to grab him and slap him across the face, which quickly made him realize what he’d just done. We then turned and quickly ran away as we heard someone shouting from the other side of the crack.
“They’re over here! Through the crack in the wall!”