Why, you ask, would a millionaire many times over, rob a bank, risking reputation and very frankly, a life of luxury and pleasure? " Nate" as his friends called him, had everything a man desired. Various beautiful homes throughout the world, luxury cars, friends, and between this and his debonair good looks, the women crooned over him. Why? Nate asked himself the same question about six months ago when the idea first came Into his mind. Two reasons, basically. The first, to prove he could do this and get away with it. The second, for the sheer fun and thrill of it! Now keep in mind, Nathaniel Watkins was not planning on some ski-mask, gun-toting robbery during business hours or some foolish "hand the teller a note" scheme. This heist was one of the brain types. Calculated. Smooth. Every detail planned, no surprises. Foolproof. Because Nate was smart. He was going to commit the perfect crime and only he would know. The thought sent a chill down his spine.
Nathaniel woke from his day-dreaming and stood. "Well, Mr. Davis, I have to run now. This celebration of your takeover has been most enjoyable." The white-haired fiftiesh businessman smiled and rested his hand on the consultants shoulder. "Couldn't have done it without you Nate, now that is a fact! My guess is with that mind of yours, your already planning your next act of genius that will put some good money in the bank for your next client!" Nate smiled. If Mr. Davis only knew. Just then, Hammond appeared and handed Nate a check. Hammond was a mousy guy who lacked the social status of both Nate and Mr. Davis, but for some reason the latter chose him as his assistant. Quite a job for a twenty-something kid who rumour had it, never even graduated from high school. Mr. Davis shook Nate's hand. "That is the balance of what we at Americorp owe you. Thank you Nate." Appreciative and knowing the check was for two million dollars, Nathaniel Watkins smiled ever so smoothly. "Making my clients happy is what I am about Mr. Davis. Thank you sir and please feel free to give me a call if you are ever again in need of my services."
Tired, Nate entered his two story home, the most expensive on the block and headed straight for his study. For six months this venture had been planned and tomorrow night was the night. At midnight, Nate would gain access to the vault of Los Angeles Memorial Bank and steal fifty million dollars in bonds and certificates. Pulling out the building plans and time schedule that he had made, the middle-aged man smiled. This was going to be great!
At 11:30 the next evening Nathaniel Watkins exited a cab on Second Street. Even at this hour the district was busy with restaurants and upscale bars receiving most of the business. There were dozens of people walking and the businesses combined in this are alone easily had hundreds of customers. It would be easy for Nate to go unnoticed in this crowd and even by the cab driver. Especially since Nate wore a homedmade, but very effective, disguise. He paid the driver and included a modest tip, anything too exorbitant would surely be remembered by the man. Nate passed the Memorial Bank and entered the alley two blocks away. It was empty and in less than a minute, the daring man had put on his sleek rubber gloves, found the manhole cover, opened it, went down it and replaced the lid. Even if there was a camera, and after careful inspection throughout the last few months, Nate had found absolutely no evidence of one, surely no one could identify him as the mysterious sewer-dweller. Climbing down the 10 foot ladder, Nate was in the tunnel and made his way towards the bank. His compass confirmed that he was on track, then he put it back into his small waist bag that carried a number of materials necessary for his evening adventure.
Locating the wall that he knew was Memorial Bank, Nate took out his miniature acetylene torch and speedily made a hole large enough to fit through. Still disguised in mustache, wig, short sleeve button-down shirt and common cargo pants, he went in and saw the vault to his left. Memorial Bank was very large and was a primary banking establishment for many of the Hollywood celebrities, so naturally security was top- notch. Nate smiled. That is what made this task so challenging, although most of the success of this robbery depended on fancy high-tech devices that were only available at a high cost and from certain people. Nate hated to even use such a common word as robbery for it had no class whereas the word theft at least had a sense of prestige about it. He only had a three foot free space before he hit the invisible ultraviolet sensor rays so he stopped and took out another gadget. This was expensive, but well worth it. This tiny computerized square would shut off all electronic rays and sensors for five minutes and five minutes only. After it's initial use, a two minute period was required before Re-activating the unit. Confident, Nate was surprised by his own lack of fear. This was like a game that felt he could not lose. Turning the device on, he hesitated a few seconds, then made his way to the large vault, which was about seven feet high. The keypad was directly in the center. This was really only the tricky part of the feat. Nate took out yet another electronic tool, very small, that resembled a flash drive. This too was extremely expensive, but came with one catch. It would read, for lack of a better word, the combination lock and make a computerized educated guess as to which buttons on the keypad had been pressed the most and in what order. The sellers of this unique and very illegal item called it the safe-breaker. Almost foolproof, the device would give three options for the possible correct combination sequence, the problem was that the Memorial Bank vaults had a two-time limit on opening attempts for security. Plus the sensor square that he activated was ticking, so time was a factor. Nate stuck the magnetized safe-breaker on the vault and watched as it went through literally hundreds of number combinations in seconds, which were visible on a small digital screen. Nate glanced at his watch. Four minutes until the sensor square shut off. More seconds went by and then a series of seven numbers appeared. 2961438. Somewhat hesitant, but only slightly, he put in the numbers on the vault keypad. More seconds. A very slight whirring sound could be heard, apparently the vault was accepting the numbers one at a time that Nate had used. Never before had seconds seemed to race by so quickly. In three minutes, the sensor square would cease working and the alarm would sound, alerting the authorities. A half a minute went by and suddenly a light came on above the vault keypad which read "FAIL!" Great. Sweat began to appear on the thief's forehead. A little over two minutes and only one more chance. He reset the safe-breaker and waited for the second sequence of numbers, the reality setting in that this was his only chance. Ninety seconds. Seventy-five seconds. The numbers appeared. 4831629. Quickly Nate pushed the keypad buttons. Sixty seconds before Nate's perfect crime would be considered a failure. And that is if this set of numbers was correct. If the third possibility was the right sequence, then he had no chance for success and probably not even one minute. The whirring was audible again. Forty-five seconds. Nate's face intensified. He had to be right. This had to be the correct sequence. Thirty seconds. Now he began to worry, something he was not accustomed to doing. What if the number order was right, but it took longer than the remaining seconds. He considered praying but quickly realized the hypocrisy it would have been. The notification light came on and read, " Unlocked." Nate smiled, wiped his brow and entered the vault, which opened automatically. Unbuttoning his shirt, a thin vest was underneath and it was lined inside and out with pockets, two dozen total to be exact. The cunning man located the drawers that held the appropriate certificates and bonds and began carefully, but speedily, placing them in the pockets, then re-buttoned his garment. Ready to depart and with his two minutes up, Nate hit the button on the sensor de-activator. Within one minute he passed through the wall and was making his way up the ladder.
Sliding the man-hole cover to the side, the side street was empty. Swelling with confidence as well as excitement and still in his disguise, Nate stepped out into the alley, replaced the cover and went out into the still busy street. This time however he went right two blocks and entered a restaurant, proceeding immediately to the men's room. Appearing somewhat heavier then normal due to the full vest, Nate went into a bathroom stall, the oversize type for handicapped people, and proceeded to take off his disguise. He put them into the toilet and then took out a small bottle labeled "acid" from his waist bag and poured it into the toilet. Within seconds everything was dissolved. Nate then took some other items out of his gadget bag. The first was cotton, with which he proceeded to stuff his cheeks, changing his appearance greatly. Then he applied some hair color to his hair, making his previously black hair look more reddish than black. Next he used some hair grease and slicked his hair back. Taking out a rolled piece of clothing, it turned out to be a t-shirt with a large "Chicago Bears" name and logo on it. He rolled the sleeves if the short sleeve polo shirt up, just enough to not be noticeable under the t-shirt and put the latter on over polo. In fact, this gave his arms a wider appearance which matched his larger chest size due to the vest underneath. At quick glance a passerby might think this man was somewhat overweight while another could assume he was a weightlifter of sorts. Leaving the establishment, Nathaniel Watkins had just completed the perfect crime. Fifty million dollars richer, no clues left and the police had no idea that Memorial Bank had just been robbed.
Mission accomplished, Nate's plan was to catch a cab, which he did. He got out five blocks from home, entered the car he left parked on the side of the street in one of the nearby residential areas and proceeded to take the cotton out of his cheeks. He also applied a liquid that brought his hair back to its original black and combed it back where it resembled his normal style. Nate took off the Bears shirt, grabbed a shirt from the passenger seat that he had apparently planted there earlier and put it on. This is almost too good, he thought to himself. At least that is what he was thinking when he suddenly felt the stab of a cold gun barrel against his cheek.
"The perfect crime...almost," came a voice from the backseat. Nate started to fidget ever so slightly, trying to think of what to do. "Do not move and make no noise Mr. Watkins. This pistol has a full clip but I am an expert shot and one is all it will take to end your life. And it does have a silencer as well, so no one will hear it go boom if I pull the trigger. " Nate sighed. Where had he went wrong? " Now roll your window down, then hand me the keys. If you hesitate in the slightest or attempt to leave the vehicle, I will shoot you. Nate complied and he was starting to get worried. "Do you know who I am?" he stated. " I am very wealthy and can make this worth your while." The man brandishing the gun was not interested. " I know full well who you are Mr. Watkins and you have already made this worth my while, take off the vest please." Nate was shocked. How much did this man know. And that voice... He started to argue but the pistol barrel was pressed harder into his skull. Nate took off his shirt and then the vest and tossed it over the back seat. A minute later a handful of the bonds and certificates were thrown back into the front seat. The back door opened suddenly and the mysterious man was immediately at the drivers door. The military style pistol was aimed directly at Nate's head. "Now be silent please, I have a call to make." Cell phone in his free hand, vest over his shoulder, the man, who was dressed in a black trench coat, hit a button. " Yes, I would like to report a robbery. Yes, I am serious." Nate was livid. He attempted to grab the gun but was far too slow. A quiet "wwhhifft" was heard and Nate felt a sharp pain in his left leg. He was shot! What kind of maniac wa this? " Yes, officer, the Los Angeles Memorial bank was robbed just moments ago. Yes, officer,a I am sure and this is no prank. The thief is one Nathaniel Watkins and he is presently in a vehicle parked on Wiltshire Ave, just outside of street address 4101." Yes sir, I have him detained. Yes, sir, thanks sir." There was a slight hesitation. "No problem sir, just doing my civic duty."Nate's mind was reeling. That voice seemed so familiar. And his pain was I creasing. He could not believe he had been shot. The assailant now leaned over and face Nate. "Your injury is non-threatening, but it will prevent you from making it far if you try to leave before the police get here." He smiled. Nate turned angrier. "Hammond! Hammond! What...?" Gun still pointed towards Nate, the assistant to Mr. Davis smiled again. Nate was shocked. "How did you..." Hammond interrupted and answered. It was obvious he was very pleased with himself. "It was not very hard all all Mr. Watkins. You see, my uncle has a restaurant downtown and I noticed you in the vicinity a few months ago. There was certainly nothing unusual about that, but it seemed strange after I saw you there many times, almost every week. So more out of curiousity than anything devious, I began following you and soon it became very apparent that you were planning something unusual and as I guessed, very illegal." The man smiled yet again. "So, I began watching your home the last few weeks seeing if you were leaving at any unusual times. I saw you check out not only the manhole and the restaurant where you changed disguises, but I was nearby when you purchased your disguises...and I followed you here this evening when you parked this car here. Pretty ingenious plan, really sir." Sirens sounded in the distance. "What are you going to do, are you going to kill me?" questioned the thief. Hammond grimaced. "Of course not, I am no murderer, at least I have no intent of murder. I am going away. I have all this money now ( he smiled as he held up the vest, he had put away his cellphone), a new ID and a plan to never get caught. And you, Mr. Watkins, are going to prison for a very long time. You have some of the evidence right next to you. Mother will simply think I was your accomplice and that I double-crossed you, which in some ways is what happened, though you had no clue we were partners in a sense." Hammond laughed, probably louder than he intended. "And the police will never find me Mr. Watkins, never." The sirens were getting closer. "Well, I best be going now. But think on this sir. It appears with all your planning that you thought you would pull off the perfect crime." The grinning man glanced up at the stars, then back to Nate, who was still clutching his leg. "But really, I have done that very same thing and I am just a nobody, hardly educated and not nearly as smart as you. But I am the one with all this money." Hammond winked at Nate. "Please remember Mr. Watkins, that crime does not pay, especially for you and especially tonight. Let's hope you have learned a lesson from all this." He sounded like a reprimanding schoolteacher. The sirens were dangerously close now. "Good day, sir." And Hammond was gone.
"..and those that walk in pride he (the Lord) is able to abase."