Joe prayed Iola was safe. He watched as the two thieves tore their time between making sure they took every single piece of inventory and threatening the hostages.
Ms. Personality smirked over at Joe as they got closer. “You really think we don’t think we’re going to succeed, do you?”
“I hope you don’t.” Joe’s tone was very polite and he smiled.
“We knew to block the security camera feed.” For some reason she waited for Joe to be impressed. She would be waiting forever. So she went on, “Now it’s just blank. That surprise you?”
“No, not at all.” Joe’s smile didn’t leave. A blank feed would not go unnoticed and would be checked out. Yes, these two were nominees, among many other nominees, for stupid criminals of the year award. Yet they were also nominees for deadliest, because Joe sensed they didn’t plan on leaving anyone alive in the store. He felt that had been their plan all along.
Mr. Snoots continued to fill up the bags. At first he was irritated that Joe had started mouthing off to the thieves, afraid it would anger them. Then he decided that was safer for him because if they were determined to shoot someone it would be Joe instead of himself. He didn’t want them to shoot Joe, but he was selfish and would rather it be anyone other than himself.
The female thief told Mr. Snoots and another employee to get the jewels from the back room. She stood in the doorway, keeping an eye on them and also on the front.
“Um, I don’t want to disrupt this perfect holdup,” again Joe was sure the sarcasm would be lost on them, “but, how’re you going to carry all of those bags and your guns?” He raised his eyebrows. “I guess you didn’t want to divvy the take more so that meant not cutting anyone else in.”
The male thief stared at Joe for a second then turned to his cohort and girlfriend. She was glaring at Joe.
“College helped you a lot, didn’t it?” Joe’s eyebrows were still raised and he nodded his head.
“I’m getting tired of listening to you!”
“How are we going to get all this outta here?” the male thief asked. It was adding up to a bit, even though they were dumping each single piece of jewelry in the bags minus any boxes. It was adding on to the time, but both thieves thought it would be impressive to clean out the whole store.
“We are going to haul it out to the car, of course!”
Mr. Snoots spoke for the first time since it began. “What are you going to do to me?”
“The same thing we’re going to do to all of you.”
Mr. Snoots decided not to pursue the questioning. He didn’t think he’d like the answers.
“So what was the job you pulled off yesterday?” Joe asked.
“We knocked over a convenience store,” the male thief said. “But we had to leave in a hurry because some cops were coming in the front so we got out the back.”
“You realize this will be your last job?” Joe asked.
“Don’t listen to him!” the female thief told her boyfriend. She couldn’t stand it, though, and she asked, “Why do you say that?!?”
“For a couple of reasons. One of them being, it’s not a safe thing to rip off the mob.”
The female thief frowned. “What?”
“You think you’re not stealing a member of the mafia’s gift to his girlfriend out of all of that jewelry? This is New York. And, in case you’re also not good with geography, Jersey’s not far away, either.”
The two thieves looked at each other. Now the hostages weren’t the only ones in fear of their lives.
Frank looked at his phone and decided to call his brother. His instincts were sending signals of concern to his mind.
“No answer?” Callie asked, putting a comforting hand on his strong one.
He shook his head. As he was about to call Iola, he got a call. From Iola.
“What is it?” Frank asked. The screen was mostly dark, but he could see Iola’s face and her concern.
“Frank, the jewelry store we were in is being hit. By a 21st century Bonnie and Clyde. Joe’s still in there. They didn’t see me, so I got out the back. The phone wouldn’t work in there, but it did out here. The police are on the way.” Iola bit her lip as it started to tremble. The fact that Joe was still in there with those dangerous nuts kept running through her mind like it was Times Square.
“The police are on their way,” Iola reiterated. She didn’t want Frank driving on roads that could have black ice. His focus was going to be on his fear for his brother’s safety.
“Frank.” Callie squeezed his hand.
“What’s the address?” Frank asked Iola and she reluctantly gave it to him. “Are you safe? Where are you, Iola?”
“Yes, I’m safe. I’m at a restaurant next to the jewelry store.”
“Stay there, please.”
“Frank, Joe wouldn’t want you to endanger yourself.”
“He’d do the same thing if he were in my place.”
Iola knew that was absolutely true.
When Frank got off the phone he had Callie and Aunt Gertrude to contend with.
“If you go, we go!” Callie told him.
“You need to stay off your leg and Aunt Gertrude should look after you.” Frank gave her a look to remind her of the special guest they had arriving for Aunt Gertrude. They couldn’t all leave and no one be there when he came.
“Jack was flying in sometime this week, let me see if he can go with me, will that make you two feel better?” Frank suggested. “I’ll see if we can use the helicopter, that’ll get us there a lot faster.”
Callie and Aunt Gertrude reluctantly agreed. Frank called their friend and fellow pilot, Jack Wayne. He was on a date with a lovely lady he’d met last time he was in Bayport. She was a policewoman from the Bayport Police Department and she was very understanding about the interrupted date. In fact, she offered to go along as well.
Frank met up with Jack and Rose at the Bayport Airport. As quickly as could be done, they were in the air, heading toward the nearest place to set down that would put them as close as possible to the jewelry store. Frank watched the lights below, hoping this would get them to New York in time to help, he prayed.
Callie and Aunt Gertrude weren’t idle as they waited. They prayed and they called others to do the same.