Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Sketch in my Notebook (Part 9): A Bank in Brooklyn

I'd planned to put this chapter out last week, but I got stuck trying to set it up.  A couple of old friends finally helped me out with an approach, and now here we are.  This is the first half of Chapter 8 of the story, but it's actually the ninth installment in the Sketch in My Notebook series.  Hopefully that's not too confusing.

With that in mind, this scene builds on stuff that's come before, especially the parts with Tiffany and Blaine.  I tried to spell it out a little in the text to give you some context if you're coming at this cold, but if it's confusing, you can go back and catch up easily enough.  It's all in there, although I have a feeling that when I finally collect and re-write it, it won't be quite so redundant with the backstory.

Let me know what you think.


The Return of Dr. Necropolis

Chapter 8: A Bank in Brooklyn (Part 1)

“I don’t get it,” Blaine said.  “Why a bank?”
Tiffany snapped the positive-sequence titanium bracers onto her wrists and then zipped up the front of her Kevlar-reinforced leather vest.  She’d found herself wearing both a lot lately, but this was the first time in years that she thought she might actually have need for them as more than a reminder of who she used to be.  Moreover, given the way their last conversation had gone, she couldn’t help hoping that Frank McGuinness’s engineering work was as tough as his attitude had been.
She turned back to Blaine.  “What’s not to get?”
“These guys hit the Diamond District six weeks ago for fifteen million in raw stones,” Blaine replied, “and then they come out and hit bank?  In Brooklyn?  It doesn’t make any sense.
“It makes as much sense as you heading in there with nothing but your cotton uniform on your back, Blaine.  I mean, diamonds are nice and all, but they’re tough to move.  Meanwhile, these guys need some walkin’ around money, you know?  Gracie might be the Tiger’s girl and all, but she’s always had expensive tastes.  If he starts having cash flow problems, my guess is she’s gonna walk.  ‘Least, that’s the Gracie I remember from back in the day, anyway.”
“I’m invulnerable,” Blaine replied, “so Kevlar would be redundant.  And I still don’t think it tracks.  These two take whatever they want.  Why do they need money at all?”
Tiffany pulled her pistol from her underarm holster, ejected the magazine, slapped it against her thigh to reseat the bullets against the magazine’s rear, and then slapped it back into the butt of the pistol.  She chambered a round, made sure the pistol was on ‘safe’, and then slid it back into her holster.  
“Look lieutenant, I read your file.  You’ve got limited invulnerability.  My experience is, you go into a fight like this, you take what they give you, and you use it for whatever it’s worth.  But to your point, it’s called a secretidentity for a reason.  The Siberian Tiger is a Russian mobster, we know a little something about him.  It’s not much, but it’s something.  But ‘Gun Girl Gracie’ is a different story entirely.  Even now, more than ten years after she first hit the scene with Frank McGuinness back in the day, we still don’t have a fucking clue who she really is.”
“How’s that even possible?”
“Don’t ask me.  Frank did something; I don’t know what.  But whatever it was, every print of hers we’ve ever pulled, every strand of DNA, they can’t be analyzed.  It’s like she doesn’t exist.  And even after all those years in prison, he’s still never rolled on her.  She’s as much of a  ghost today as she was way back when.
“What about facial recognition?”
“It works,” Tiffany replied.  “I mean, on those rare occasions when Gracie gets her picture taken, we can tell it’s her.  But it’s not as helpful as you might think.  Anyway, my point is Gracie and the Tiger were off the grid for damned-near a decade.  Frank went to prison after that Federal Reserve job, but those two got away clean, and God alone knows how much they got away with.  So if you ask me, the only reason they resurfaced at all is that they finally ran out of money.  And so here we are.”
Blaine checked his own pistol, slid it back into its holster, and then pulled an old-school blue and red domino eye mask from one of his uniform’s cargo pockets.  He slapped the mask onto his face.  When he looked back at Tiffany, he was grinning like an idiot.  “Well, whatever those two were thinking, we’re lucky they’re stupid.  Now that we know where they are, we can take ‘em down, end this little crime spree once and for all, and have your buddy Frank sent back to solitary for another six months.  You ask me, that right there is gonna be a good day’s work.”
“That your father’s old mask?” Tiffany asked.
“Yeah,” Blaine said.  He couldn’t stop grinning.  “My dad would’ve wanted me to wear it, I think.  Remind folks that there’s a new Centurion in town.”
Tiffany wanted to shake her head but forced herself not to.  Still, she couldn’t help but think about Puck and wonder what he’d have thought of a superhero who’d let himself be turned into an Army officer, who actuallywanted to be in the Army, who wore his Army uniform on purpose to break up a bank heist.  But thinking about Puck made Tiffany mad—it always made her mad—and then she really did shake her head, and not just because of Blaine and his father’s crazy mask.  
Goddammit, Puck, she thought, not for the first time, I can’t believe you just up and left me with this shit.  I could really use your fucking help right now.
But, of course, Puck wasnt coming back.  He’d made that plain more than once.
“What?” Blaine asked.  “You don’t think I should wear the mask?”
“No, it’s not that.  The mask looks good on you.  I’m sure your dad would’ve been proud.”
“Then what?  We can take these guys, Titania, I know we can.”
“God, Blaine.  Nobody’s called me that since Puck left.  I—”
Before she got any further, Casey Walcott stepped into the police van they were using as impromptu dressing room.  Blaine’s partner, the new Kid Zulu, was right behind him.  He was all geared up in a heavy-looking leather vest and bandolier, along with a black domino mask of his own.  
He just goes by ‘Zulu’ now, Tiffany reminded herself.  The kid seemed a little touchy about that.  
“You two done checking each other out back here?” Casey asked.  “Because if you’re not too busy, we’ve got a hostage situation at the bank that we’d like you to take a look at.”
We’re coming,” Tiffany replied.  “Where’s SWAT?  We’re not the only law enforcement assets in the City, you know.”
“SWAT’s here,” Casey replied.  “They’re just a little nervous about going in against two ultra-humans armed with a copy of your buddy Frank’s Neural Disruptor.  But I’ll send them in if that’s official recommendation, Special Agent Trujillo.”
“That won’t be necessary, Agent Walcott,” Blaine replied.  “My team is ready.  What’s going on in there?
“We’re waitin’ on you, kid,” Casey replied.  “The Siberian Tiger and his girlfriend hit the bank maybe forty minutes ago.  The place was about to close, so we don’t think there were many civilians inside, but the regional manager tells me this branch has a staff of six.  We figure maybe ten hostages total.”
“Camera feeds?” Tiffany asked.
“We briefly got a shot of all the hostages on the ground.  Then Gracie hit the cameras with what looks like spray paint.”
“Is he wearing the Disruptor?” Tiffany asked.
“How the Hell should I know?  You’re the expert on Frank McGuinness and his associated bullshit.”
“We can do this,” Blaine said, “We just have to be smart about it.”  He turned to his partner.  “Zulu, get in there and get a look around.  If you can, pop an EMP grenade and a couple of smoke canisters, and hopefully that’ll be enough to keep them from hitting us with the Neural Disruptor.  Agent Trujillo and I will be right behind you.  With any luck, we’ll catch these two rooting around in the vault or something, and that’ll be that.”
Zulu nodded. “Will do.”
And then he disappeared.
“Wow,” Tiffany said.  “Nice.”
Zulu’s voice hadn’t moved.  “My powers allow me to bend light.  That won’t protect me from a bullet, but it has its uses.  Now if you’ll excuse me...”
Blaine gave his partner a minute before standing up.  “You ready, Tiffany?”
She looked over at Casey Walcott and then looked back at Blaine.  “I don’t guess I have much of a choice.”


  1. I'm happy you're back at it. Of course I had to reread all of it. Very enjoyable.
    The last part was good too.

    For some reason, I can't post comments from my iPhone. Grrr. Anywho, your novel is better than many novels I have paid for. I like all the characters and the dialogue seems .true to life. Keep it coming

    1. "the last part" being the section before this most recent one.

    2. Thank you. I didn't love this bit because it's mostly set-up for the next bit, and on top of that, I feel like I telegraphed what's coming. But I guess we can talk about that next week.