I remember a quote from the Spielberg movie, Always, where Audrey Hepburn tells the deceased pilot Richard Dreyfuss that the inspiration he felt when he was learning to fly was breathed into him and that he was there to do the same for the next … [Read More...]
From The Book:
Grant sized up the situation immediately. He scanned the street from left to right all the way from the Mount Vernon intersection down past the smoke grenade at the bank. His mind ticked off the positives in a few short seconds. There were cars parked along both sides of Charles Street providing cover if Grant went down that route. The smoke would hide him even more. There were only two robbers visible before the smoke engulfed them. They were outside attacking the money delivery, not inside robbing the bank.
The negatives came just as quick. There were lots of innocent bystanders scattering across the street. The robbers were armed. And they were wearing gas masks. Damn. That meant the smoke wasn’t smoke it was teargas.
Panic spread along Charles Street like a shockwave. People nearest the bank started first, screaming and shouting and running around like headless chickens. Cars stopped in the middle of the road forming a bottleneck as the drivers abandoned their vehicles and joined the headless chickens. Customers coming out of the pharmacy turned around and went back in. A woman crossing the road got trampled in the rush. Tourists sitting outside the coffee shop jerked upright knocking their tables over. The crush of humanity came swarming past the coffee shop as gunshots ripped the air.
Grant breathed out slowly.
He nodded at his inner decision.
Then set off against the flow.
Heading into the danger not away from it.
Another gunshot came from the cloud. Grant hoped it was a warning shot. He couldn’t hear a scream of pain so it didn’t sound like anybody had been hit. He took one last look around him to get his bearings. One-way street. Three-lane blacktop. Cars parked along both sides. That made five rows of stalled cars in narrow lanes. Not like the freeways of Los Angeles. A quiet commercial street with shops and restaurants and street side cafés with metal tables.
A helicopter thudded across the sky. Either the police chopper or a WCVB news crew. Alerted by the explosion and the gunshots. Grant didn’t wait to find out which. He grabbed the nearest overturned table by its pedestal leg and hefted it like a shield. The table was big and round and protected most of him from knees to shoulders. Ignoring the rush of humanity he charged along the sidewalk. Opposite side to the bank. Hidden by the parked cars and stalled traffic.
The back doors of the armoured car opened. No doubt in response to the threat of shooting the guard with the moneybag. Standard procedure. The money wasn’t theirs. Life was more important. The security firm would claim off insurance. Nobody needed to die. One of the robbers loomed out of the smoke and started unloading canvas sacks with leather handles.
Grant crossed the road behind a knot of cars. He reached the opposite sidewalk between the Holiday Boutique and the Toscano Restaurant. Next door to the Bank of America and just outside the cloud of teargas. He took a deep breath and slitted his eyes then let out a roar.
Primal scream therapy. It used to work against violent drunks in the cells back home. The look of shock in their eyes was only matched by the disorientation they felt. The two gunmen didn’t know what hit them. The six-foot Yorkshireman with the five-foot table became a charging bull. The table ploughed through the first robber and flattened him against the side of the truck. Surprise and a metal tabletop didn’t give him time to raise his gun. It was knocked out of his hand at the same time as he lost three teeth and smashed his nose.
Grant’s eyes began to sting. Tears streamed down his face. He tried not to breath in, protecting his throat from the worst effects just like he’d been taught in the army. He scanned the mist around him and saw the second robber a split second too late.
The gun came up. Primal scream therapy had worn off. The gunshot was loud in Grant’s ears.
Praise For Colin Campbell:
“Campbell’s dark muscular prose suggests the best pulp writers of the 50s.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Very real. And very good.” – Lee Child