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Cliche #3 Innocent Bomb

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Old 08-23-2009, 04:34 PM
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Default Cliche #3 Innocent Bomb


Lawrence Coates - a manager of the Global Bank Trust - sat behind his desk in their city Megamall branch. He looked up from the computer as his 2:30 appointment arrived. Something about a house extension loan with a Mr. Packs, according to the notes.


Mr. Packs sat on the chair opposite Lawrence and said “I’m sorry Mr. Coates, but I lied to your receptionist when I was making the appointment. But I won’t apologize for anything else. I’ve made up my mind and I won’t change it for anything on Earth.”


Lawrence blinked in confusion; not sure where this was leading but certain the next words he heard would not be pleasing. He was right.


Mr. Packs continued. “My name is not Packs. I’m about to rob you so I thought it unwise to give my real one. You can’t see it from your office but you must know there is a crèche opposite your bank. When I was there some minutes ago, there was seventeen children and two members of staff.”


The man, who was no longer Mr. Packs, delved into his pocket and retrieved an item similar to a watch box. This he put on his lap. From his other pocket he withdrew a wallet. He flipped it open and slid out a Polaroid, folded tightly. He unfurled it and then placed it face up onto the desk between them.


Lawrence was now feeling the first trickles of sweat down his spine, knowing with dread in his heart the situation he was in; still his eyes went instinctively to the picture. A little girl of three years or so. A cherub face framed with golden ringlets. A gap toothed smile which displayed innocent purity. The type of face that would have gotten any politician elected into any position, if only they could use the face without being obviously guilty of emotional chicanery.


The man opened the box on his lap, but left it there in plain sight. It had a digital face with complex symbols, a small keypad with three buttons, and wires occupying any spare space. He then unzipped his jacket and revealed what he had concealed within. Strapped on each side of his chest he had ominous red tubes; at the top of those were small digital devices, similar to pedometers or small stop watches.


The man took a breath and began to speak in a monotone voice. “As you may have guessed, this is dynamite. Industrial stuff. The blinking devices are remote igniters attached to a one second fuse. This object in my lap needs one button pressed to set off a spark. Before you panic and do anything stupid, I need you to know that only plan B involves me pressing the button. Plan A involves you listening carefully and then deciding which plan you prefer. Understood?”


Lawrence merely gaped, then nodded mutely.


“Good. That little girl is my daughter. She’s all I have but I’m not all she has. She also has a degenerative condition killing her from the inside out. Doctors say six months to a year. They also say that numerous organ transplants would save her life, but not much three year olds donate these days. Less than a one per-cent chance of someone donating a compatible lung, let alone heart or kidneys. I’ll cut the tension and let you know just how committed I am. Yes, my little girl is in the crèche right now, with four sticks of this stuff in her floppy eared bunny. Yes, I will press the button if you do not hand me a bag of cash in five minutes. And yes, I will explode at the same time as my little angel, and all her new playmates. You may live, if play along but then call the police or run. But, they will still die and your office will be a mess for a while. Not that the bank would let you have an office or a job, once the people of America discover you were able to put a price on their children. We’ll be dead, but you’ll be stuck alive. So I need money. Money for travel, money for bribes, money for organs. There are places in the world where donation is mandatory, places where one person’s tragedy can become another person’s miracle. If that doesn’t work, money to make sure she lives like a princess until her very last day. If there is no money, no hope for the future, then she dies now while she’s still happy and ignorant. She won’t go alone. Option A or option B. Choose now.


“A! A! A! A!” Lawrence stammered and shouted at the same time, as if a second of hesitation would set off the explosives. He wasn’t sure how he would have reacted if it was just his own life threatened, but the threat on the crèche made the decision a simple one. He saw only one course of action.


“Good.” Stated the man. Then a brief nod towards Lawrence’s briefcase by the side of the desk. “Use that. Fill it ‘till it’s full. Go now, and no longer than five minutes or I make a call to the bomb squad, say your name, then press the button.


Lawrence wasted no time. He shot to his feet and emptied the contents of the briefcase before snapping it shut. He took the briefest of moments to gather his composure and then left the room. The next moments passed in a haze. He didn’t dare glimpse at his watch because even that was a delay. He recalled murmuring something to his staff as he passed them, something about depositing paperwork for Mr. Packs. Smiles and nods. Using his card to access the safe room. Opening the wall sized vault and then packing cash until there was no more space. Closing the vault and then heading back, more smiles and nods. Then he was back in his office, faint with anxiety.


The man now had his chair facing the door - detonator still poised within reach – and greeted Lawrence. “Just over two minutes Mr. Coates. Excellent. Hold it open please so I can look.”


Lawrence did so, and when he received a nod of approval, he closed the briefcase and handed it over. He hurried to the other side of his desk and slumped in his seat. More exhausted then he could ever remember.


The man closed the lid of his detonation device and stood, but did not pocket it. “This stays close to me for insurance, because my little girl is forgetful and will leave her stuffed animal behind. In an hour I’m going to deactivate all of the igniters. You can call the authorities then, we don’t want explosives lying about after all. The picture you can keep, so you can remember the life you saved today. Thank you Mr. Coates.” Then he left as calmly as he entered.


Lawrence sat stunned for a moment, recovering from the nervous tension of the last ten minutes. He then opened the drawer with his cigarettes, deciding that today was definitely not the right day to quit. He smoke where he sat, using his desk as an ashtray. He smoked in blissful calm.


His heart almost leapt out of his chest as a harried looking woman burst into the office. She began a verbal assault before the door had even closed. “The receptionist says I must speak to you. Do any of your security cameras point towards the crèche outside? I just went to pick up my girl and she says a strange man went in and took a…” Her eyes narrowed as she focused on the desk, and the Polaroid upon it. Her expression went from major concern to righteous fury. “IT WAS YOU!!!”


The End.





An Idea that’s been knocking around my head for a while. I originally intended to go more in depth, make it more believable. I know there may be some inconsistencies which make it unrealistic i.e. the nuances of dynamite or the unsupervised access that one person had to the vault. But, I wanted to partake of a Cliché Challenge and this seemed as good a time as any. I did my best to balance brevity with readability. Thanks for reading. People with explosive experience are encouraged to comment


B



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Old 08-24-2009, 09:39 AM
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So the woman at the end the thought that the teller was the one to have taken the picture of her daughter? I'm sure then afterwards that they realized it was a ruse and called the police right away then, huh? It was kind of funny how oblivious everyone was in there, not to notice a guy with dynamite and briefcase, lol.

What I don't understand is why the elaborate story? Most guys would figure that the fear of being blown up would make sure that someone would listen to instructions just fine. I supposed the picture and such guaranteed that though!
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:14 AM
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Aye, the whole point was that Mr Bomber man wanted to lay out a senario that would get the most obedience in the least amount of time. Removed that 'Hero' factor by mentioning something unimaginable.

He pretty much runs as fast as he can once hes out.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:24 AM
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A great story. Had me on the edge of my seat whilst I was reading.
My only problem was the ending. I think it would have been stronger if you had just had the woman say that someone had took her daughter, and left Lawrence Coates (and the reader) realise the full implications of what he had done. Somehow for me, having the woman accuse Lawrence took the focus off the horror of the situation.
Still, that's just my opinion.
Other than that, very impressive.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:37 AM
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Thank you for reading. I think maybe you have underlined a issue. I don't mean to convey that the guy harmed or took the girl, just took a polaroid and added it to his wallet before going in, to add more body to his deception. Now it just seems excessively ridiculous and elaborate

The woman bursting in and complaining that someone was takining pictures of her girl, then finding that picture on his desk, was the briefest way I could think of to let everyone know it was all a ruse. No Creche was risked during the making of this story!

Cheers for input. Appreciated.

B
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:49 AM
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Ah, of course.
I think the issue is more with me being an idiot rather than your story not being clear enough.
Now excuse me while I go and find my dunce cap.
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:05 AM
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lol. I think you shall find I was keeping the hat nice and warm on my own head.I am repeatedly guilty of endings that trip themselves up in various attempts to be complex.

I wonder If I was savaged by clarity as a child? because I certainly avoid it like a rabid dog. Live and learn

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Old 08-25-2009, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Bel View Post
Lawrence Coates - a manager of the Global Bank Trust - sat behind his desk in their city Megamall branch. He looked up from the computer as his 2:30 appointment arrived. Something about a house extension loan with a Mr. Packs, according to the notes.


Mr. Packs sat on the chair opposite Lawrence and said “I’m sorry Mr. Coates, but I lied to your receptionist when I was making the appointment. But I won’t apologize for anything else. I’ve made up my mind and I won’t change it for anything on Earth.”


Lawrence blinked in confusion; not sure where this was leading but certain the next words he heard would not be pleasing. He was right.


Mr. Packs continued. “My name is not Packs. I’m about to rob you so I thought it unwise to give my real one. You can’t see it from your office but you must know there is a crèche opposite your bank. When I was there some minutes ago, there was seventeen children and two members of staff.”


The man, who was no longer Mr. Packs, delved into his pocket and retrieved an item similar to a watch box. This he put on his lap. From his other pocket he withdrew a wallet. He flipped it open and slid out a Polaroid, folded tightly. He unfurled it and then placed it face up onto the desk between them.


Lawrence was now feeling the first trickles of sweat down his spine, knowing with dread in his heart the situation he was in; still his eyes went instinctively to the picture. A little girl of three years or so. A cherub face framed with golden ringlets. A gap toothed smile which displayed innocent purity. The type of face that would have gotten any politician elected
into any position, if only they could use the face without being obviously guilty of emotional chicanery.

I liked this line but it seemed out of place.
The man opened the box on his lap, but left it there in plain sight. It had a digital face with complex symbols, a small keypad with three buttons, and wires occupying any spare space. He then unzipped his jacket and revealed what he had concealed within. Strapped on each side of his chest he had ominous red tubes; at the top of those were small digital devices, similar to pedometers or small stop watches.


The man took a breath and began to speak in a monotone voice. “As you may have guessed, this is dynamite. Industrial stuff. The blinking devices are remote igniters attached to a one second fuse. This object in my lap needs one button pressed to set off a spark. Before you panic and do anything stupid, I need you to know that only plan B involves me pressing the button. Plan A involves you listening carefully and then deciding which plan you prefer. Understood?”


Lawrence merely gaped, then nodded mutely.


“Good. That little girl is my daughter. She’s all I have but I’m not all she has. She also has a degenerative condition killing her from the inside out. Doctors say six months to a year. They also say that numerous organ transplants would save her life, but not much three year olds donate these days. Less than a one per-cent chance of someone donating a compatible lung, let alone heart or kidneys. I’ll cut the tension and let you know just how committed I am. Yes, my little girl is in the crèche right now, with four sticks of this stuff in her floppy eared bunny. Yes, I will press the button if you do not hand me a bag of cash in five minutes. And yes, I will explode at the same time as my little angel, and all her new playmates. You may live, if youplay along but then call the police or run. But, they will still die and your office will be a mess for a while. Not that the bank would let you have an office or a job, once the people of America discover you were able to put a price on their children. We’ll be dead, but you’ll be stuck alive. So I need money. Money for travel, money for bribes, money for organs. There are places in the world where donation is mandatory, places where one person’s tragedy can become another person’s miracle. If that doesn’t work, money to make sure she lives like a princess until her very last day. If there is no money, no hope for the future, then she dies now while she’s still happy and ignorant. She won’t go alone. Option A or option B. Choose now.


“A! A! A! A!” Lawrence stammered and shouted at the same time, as if a second of hesitation would set off the explosives. He wasn’t sure how he would have reacted if it was just his own life threatened, but the threat on the crèche made the decision a simple one. He saw only one course of action.


“Good.” Stated the man. Then a brief nod towards Lawrence’s briefcase by the side of the desk. “Use that. Fill it ‘till it’s full. Go now, and no longer than five minutes or I make a call to the bomb squad, say your name, then press the button. What does "say your name, then press the button" mean? Is that how he will let him back into the office?


Lawrence wasted no time. He shot to his feet and emptied the contents of the briefcase before snapping it shut. He took the briefest of moments to gather his composure and then left the room. The next moments passed in a haze. He didn’t dare glimpse at his watch because even that was a delay. He recalled murmuring something to his staff as he passed them, something about depositing paperwork for Mr. Packs. Smiles and nods. Using his card to access the safe room. Opening the wall sized vault and then packing cash until there was no more space. Closing the vault and then heading back, more smiles and nods. Then he was back in his office, faint with anxiety.


The man now had his chair facing the door - detonator still poised within reach – and greeted Lawrence. “Just over two minutes Mr. Coates. Excellent. Hold it open please so I can look.”


Lawrence did so, and when he received a nod of approval, he closed the briefcase and handed it over. He hurried to the other side of his desk and slumped in his seat. More exhausted then he could ever remember.


The man closed the lid of his detonation device and stood, but did not pocket it. “This stays close to me for insurance, because my little girl is forgetful and will leave her stuffed animal behind. In an hour I’m going to deactivate all of the igniters. You can call the authorities then, we don’t want explosives lying about after all. The picture you can keep, so you can remember the life you saved today. Thank you Mr. Coates.” Then he left as calmly as he entered.


Lawrence sat stunned for a moment, recovering from the nervous tension of the last ten minutes. He then opened the drawer with his cigarettes, deciding that today was definitely not the right day to quit. He smoke where he sat, using his desk as an ashtray. He smoked in blissful calm. Blissful calm seems out of place as he is probably frazzled. He has got to be worried about what he is going to tell the police and the bank management.


His heart almost leapt out of his chest as a harried looking woman burst into the office. She began a verbal assault before the door had even closed. “The receptionist says I must speak to you. Do any of your security cameras point towards the crèche outside? I just went to pick up my girl and she says a strange man went in and took a…” Her eyes narrowed as she focused on the desk, and the Polaroid upon it. Her expression went from major concern to righteous fury. “IT WAS YOU!!!”

Bel,
Great story. It held me from the beginning to the end. I went back and reread it and made a few suggestions, but they are all minor tidbits. Count them as humble suggestions from an amateur. I did notice the one-person access to the vault, but it wasn't a problem.
You succeeded with the brevity and readability. You could add to the guy’s sob story with an account of the mother (his wife). Where is she? Is she dead, depressed, or suicidal? I know you were making it brief, and well done, but something to keep in mind anyway.
I actually enjoyed the elaborate story, only to find out it was made up. I think you could have made it more elaborate by sharing a fact or two about his daughter that only a dad would know. Like: Today I carried her downstairs to breakfast. She likes piggyback rides in the morning. She asked me to play Polly Pocket with her until I relented. I only did it because I realized I might be our last time.

Or something like that? And then to find out it was all made up even better. It's just a suggestion.
Anyway great finish. You had me hook line and sinker when the mad mother rushed in and found the Polaroid. It caught me off guard.

You continue to impress me with your skills.


Teancor
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Old 08-26-2009, 02:47 AM
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I have two thanks for thee. The first of course for reading and replying, the second for your relevant suggestions and edits. Being too close to the story sometimes makes editing difficult, I know what I mean and don't consider that I'm the only one.

E.g "I make a call the bomb squad,say your name, then press the button" I'm trying to imply that before he triggers the bombs, he will let the authorities know the name of Lawrence Coates, so they know who to blame. Now i can see this is ridiculously ambiguous. There are a million better ways for him to make that threat. Best if he didn't actually, since Coates can just say 'Mad bastard blew the bomb when I was getting the cash'. If he lived.

Cheers! Solid advice.

B
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