Catch-22

“Aww shit man. This is bad. This is real bad.”

As the two men lay against the metal door, sirens could be heard far off in the distance, with the occasional gunshot ringing out.

“You think anybody else made it out?”

“Would you shut the fuck up,” Anger glared. “I need to focus. If I don’t get this door open, we’re gonna be next.”

The truth is, Worry didn’t think anyone made it out alive. When the feds came crashing into the old church, all six members of the crew fled like cockroaches from a light. He and Anger had barely escaped the chaos. They had to shoot their way out. Anger killed two men when they first entered the small alleyway next to the church. Worry shot three police, two of them immediate kills, and one of them potentially fatal.

“But Anger. Do you think they caught any of ‘em alive? What if they talk?” Worry puffed, still trying to catch his breath.

“Well nobody knows each other’s names, so it doesn’t matter if they talk now does it, Worry?”

“Got it,” Anger said as he tossed the padlock over his shoulder.

The heavy, steel chain dropped to the concrete floor with a thud, and Anger and Worry quickly entered the small decrepit garage. In the center of the room was a large rusted engine hoist with a bright orange motor precariously hovering above the car below it.

“This one isn’t taking us where we need to go,” Anger boasted. “Check over there. Underneath that tarp.”

Worry hastily shuffled over towards the dusty, stain-covered tarp and drew it back, unclothing the sleek red 1980 Mercedes-Benz 280 SEL that lie underneath. He glanced at Anger, waiting to see what his reaction would be.

“It had to be bloody red,” Anger sighed. “Least this one’s got a motor.”

He walked towards the car and opened the driver’s door. Ducking his head into the cabin, he began to search about the car for a set of keys, looking through the glove compartment, both of the visors, and in the center console.

Worry stood, still staring at Anger. His gaze turned to a small metal box that hung on the wall behind the Mercedes.

“Check in the box over there,” Worry said. “The one on the wall behind you.”

Anger exited the vehicle and turned behind him, opening the metal box, which was filled with keys to various cars. He grasped the label, which read, “Mercedes-Benz 280,” and snatched the key from the box.

“Let’s go. I’m driving,” Anger said, as he entered the vehicle.

Worry nodded and began to round the car, stopping only to push the large red button on the wall that operated the garage door.

Anger pulled out into the bright sunny street. There were still sirens close by, but he hoped that would mean a clean getaway. The Mercedes growled as Anger sharply turned the street corner.

Worry searched his pockets for a cigarette, locating the pack of Viceroys and handing one to Anger.

“Do you think you’ll leave after the way this job turned out?” Anger asked as he took the lit cigarette from Worry.

“Everyone leaves,” Worry said.

1353

Anger took a long drag of his cigarette and threw it out of the window. For a moment, the two sat in complete silence. Apart from the names they had received at the start of the job, the two men knew absolutely nothing about each other. It was better that way. The other four men were no different. All six of them were given a name when they arrived for the job. It was supposed to be a simple exchange, but it’s never really simple is it?

Just a few days ago, the six men, Anger, Cheerful, Humble, Gloomy, Impatient and Worry, all named for their emotions, had flawlessly executed their heist. Today, it was supposed to be a simple trade. The money for the package. That simple.

Anger rounded another corner, but suddenly lurched to a stop as he saw two men stumbling into the street before them.

“Holy fuck,” Anger said. “Is that Humble and Cheerful?”

The two men crossing the street didn’t even seem to notice the red Mercedes stopped in the road. Humble, the short, thickset one of the two, was carrying Cheerful, who didn’t look so cheerful with a gunshot wound in his leg, on his back.

Worry got out of the car and rushed to help the pair who were struggling across the road.

“We shouldn’t be stopping,” Anger shouted after Worry. But it was too late. Now they had four men to deal with, and one of them was a loud bloody mess. Anger knew this was a mistake and briefly toiled with the idea of speeding off and leaving the three men standing in the street, waiting for the sirens to reach them.

Worry and Humble drug the screaming Cheerful to the back of the car.

“Hurry up we’ve got to bloody go,” Anger shouted as the misfit lot piled into the Mercedes.

“Where the hell did you two get a car?” Humble questioned.

“Stashed in some garage,” Worry said. “Anger said they always keep the keys locked up somewhere inside those kinds of shops.

The Mercedes lurched back as Anger put his foot down.

“Cheerful how you doin’ back there?” Worry asked.

“I got fucking two gunshot wounds in my right leg Worry,” Cheerful jeered. “I’m just peachy asshole.”

The blood coming from his leg had already soaked his pants, and the blood was beginning to form a pool in the backseat.

“We gotta get him some treatment man,” Humble said. “I don’t know how long he’s going to last with that leg.”

“I’m not takin’ him to a fucking hospital ok,” Anger said.

“Well no shit you Bloke,” Humble shot back. “We can’t just let him bleed out.”

The sirens could be heard more closely now, but there were still no signs of the police.

“You watch who you’re callin’ a Bloke you fuckin’ Yank.”

“Aw for the love of Christ will the two of you shut it?” Worry cried. “Don’t you think we’ve got bigger problems here?”

Anger and Humble stared each other down through the rearview mirror for another moment, until Humble looked down at his pistol to check his remaining ammo.

“Did either of you kill any of them?” Humble asked.

“Yeah. Anger two. Me three. All five of ‘em are dead,” Worry said.

“Shit. You sure all five of them are dead?”

“Yeah.”

“Those weren’t regular cops,” Humble said, trying to keep pressure on Cheerful’s leg. “Had to be CIA, FBI maybe?”

“You see what happened to Gloomy or Impatient?”

“Both dead. Guess that means we don’t have to worry about our faces getting out though do we?”

Worry tried to remember what happened to Gloomy and Impatient when they fled the church. When the front door burst open and the feds entered the chapel, everyone began shooting. It was complete pandemonium. Worry downed one of the intruders with a quick shot to the chest, and another with a headshot before they broke a stained-glass window and headed into the alley.

The four men raced down the hot summer road in their stolen red Mercedes. Seemingly free. But it’s never simple is it?

“We’ve got a bloody car on our tail,” Anger said as he stared into the rearview mirror. “Make that two.”

Two black vehicles were quickly closing in on the group, despite Anger’s attempts to accelerate further. Anger cornered around another building sharply.

“Watch out!” Worry shouted. But it was too late, Anger had clipped a car coming around the corner, and the car was spinning uncontrollably down the street. Sirens echoed off the surrounding buildings as the car came to a sudden halt.

“Shit. We’ve got to go on foot,” Anger said.

Humble exited the car and tried to help Cheerful out onto the asphalt, though he was nearly unconscious now from the blood loss. Worry and Anger quickly loaded their submachine guns, watching the street in front of them as the two police cars chasing them rounded the turn.

“Too late now,” Anger said, ducking behind one of the cars they had wrecked into.

Worry and Humble took up positions behind the Mercedes and laid Cheerful down on the street.

The police immediately began shooting at the four men, the shots slamming into the sides of the surrounding vehicles as they hid behind them. Anger let out a quick burst from his sub machine gun as the window above him shattered, showering him with glass.

catch-22 gunfight

The three men exchanged hopeless looks, and Cheerful lay dying in the street beside them.