Being Inspired, maybe - 97

A picture paints ... well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

And, then, the words:

It was like a Hollywood script.

It was a friend of a friend of a friend, more an acquaintance really, that came up with a plan.  A plan that, if I'd been given a million years to think up, still wouldn't

But in an odd way, I'd seen it all before.

I was dressed in a prison guards’ uniform, in a room with two others similarly dressed, and a woman who looked definitely in charge.  It was a detail, part of a plan to remove Latanzio from his prison cell at the police station where he was being held for the duration of the arraignment.

My disappearance, and that of Amy, the leader of my security detail, had sent the police into a frenzy particularly when after sifting through the human wreckage of the hotel, they found five dead police officers, and nine unnamed gunmen, all without any identification.

The police were not naming names, but the media were.  A blatant act of attempting to silence a witness and the most positive indication yet that Latanzio was guilty.

But the problem was, there was no evidence the witness was dead, and this being the case, the trial was put on hold until the witness was found, dead or alive.  The only lead they had was a man and a woman matching our description had been seen landing in and leaving a helicopter in a carpark in lower Manhattan.  No one knew where they went after that.

It was now a day and a half after the event, and rumors were rife as to where the witness was, and who was to blame for the attack on the hotel.  Latanzio's brother was quick to blame a rival family whom they were locked in a territorial battle.  The rival family blamed the [name] family, and neither was backing down.

But for the innocent bystanders, there were two takes on these events, the first, a smiling [name] being escorted out of the court, and when a voice cries out 'did you have the witness killed?' he replied, 'what witness?'.  The other, because of the seriousness of the situation, the police decided to move him from his current holding facility to a more fortified jail on fears that members of his organization, or their rivals, might stage a similar shootout attempting to break him out. 

They were, of course, right, but it wasn't going to be his organization or any other for that matter, nor was it going to be a break-in.

And we just got the call to say that the real transfer crew was going to be delayed and that the call had not reached the police station but intercepted by another friend of a friend.

Our mission was a go.

We walked out of the room and into a large warehouse where there were four motorcycle police and a van, the van an exact replica of that to be sent to transfer the prisoner from the police station to a real jail.  Everything looked very, very real.  We had all studied actual tapes of prisoner transfers, enough to know precisely how to act, remarkable given the time we'd been given.

It was a tense moment, there in the warehouse.  Then Amy said, "Mount up.  Time to go.  I'll see you back here soon."

There were more rooms, several set up for what was to come.  We had several guests, waiting in other rooms, waiting to be reunited with [name] knowing only that he was being rescued and they would be leaving for a non-extradition country.  It had been easy.  The arrogance had been staggering.

I was on autopilot, having snapped into a mode where at times I felt like I was looking down at myself.  I think it was the same for the others, having studied those tapes so many times, we became them.

The transfer went smoothly, no one suspecting we were not the real crew.

It was curious to observe [name] close up, and feel the confidence, the arrogance of the man.  He was in no way intimidated by the fact he was being transferred, in fact, if I was not mistaken, he looked as though he knew he was being broken out.

And for a moment when he looked me directly in the face, I thought he might recognize me, but he didn't.

The station police escorted him to the back of the van, we escorted him into the van, chained him up, and the doors closed, just as I heard, "He's your problem now."  

They would have to be relieved that he was no longer on their premises, and they would not have to fend off any attack.  But from the expression on the officer in charge, I got the distinct impression we would not make our destination, at least, not with the prisoner.

However, that had been accounted for in the master plan.

It was why the warehouse we were going to use as the ‘studio’ was not far away.
I was surprised that they had found a place that was part of a rabbit warren of interconnected buildings at the basement level, and that it had two entrances, one at the front, and one at the back so it would appear the prison van was taking a shortcut.

The plan was to stop, briefly in the building, offload the prisoner, and then drive on, heading for the jail.  In that part of the city, there was no easy place to attack the van, that would, if it happened, come several miles from the building.

There were tracking devices on the van so anyone tracking would note the minor change to the route, and think it was an avoidance tactic.

Now, all we had to do is execute the plan, and hope anyone tracking us wouldn’t notice the subterfuge.

© Charles Heath 2020


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