The Getaway - By Tom Barber


They were in and out of the bank in three minutes.

It was late summer, a beautiful August morning in New York City, and the heat and humidity were at just the right level, pleasantly warm yet not stifling or uncomfortable. Above Manhattan, the sun beat down from the cloudless sky on the sea of tall buildings and skyscrapers scattered all over the island below. It had been a scorcher of a summer, the daily temperature consistently in the high 80’s, but today was slightly cooler and brought much welcome relief for the eight million people living in the city area.

It was just past 9 am, Monday. As a consequence the streets were flooded with people making their way to work, sipping coffees, talking into phones or just striding on, head down, ready to get to the office and get started. The sidewalks and subway were crowded, but the slight drop on the thermostat meant that tempers were under control and also that the journey into work was a little more pleasant than it had been earlier in the summer.

One particular business opening its doors for service that Monday morning was a Chase Manhattan Bank. It was located on 2 Avenue between 62 and 63 Streets, towards the southern tip of the Upper East Side, a neighbourhood running up the right side of Central Park that was renowned all over the world for its affluence and wealth. Chase had thirty banks in various locations all over Manhattan, and this was one of the best placed of them all.

Across the United States, Chase as a financial institution enjoyed a staggering amount of daily custom, and had amounts of cash in their reserves that could cure a third-world country’s deficit. With a company ATM inside the hundreds of Duane Reade drug stores in the city and immaculately clean and professional branch headquarters set up in locations such as this, it came as no surprise that Chase was one of the founding pillars of The Big Four, the four banks that held 39 % of every customer deposit across the United States. As a business, Chase had earned all those dollars and custom with the convenience of their branch locations and the quality of the service found when you stepped through their doors. They were renowned as one of the most reliable and dependable banks out there, and it was a reputation they had worked hard to earn.

On that summer day it was also the last Monday of the month, August, and that meant something else to this particular bank.

Delivery day.

To keep the branch fully supplied with dollar currency, two men and a thick white armoured truck arrived at 9 am sharp every second Monday, never early, never late. One of the two men would step outside, unload a considerable amount of money from a hatch on the side of the vehicle, and then take it into the bank, headed straight to the vault. It was an awkward yet vital part of running a financial institution: no bank can operate without money inside. Most modern banks around the world were built like fortresses and military bunkers, and were the kind of places to give bank robbers nightmares. But for those twenty minutes or so each month whenever cash was delivered, each bank was momentarily vulnerable and their collective managers were secretly on edge, despite their pretending to the contrary.

On the other side of the deal, anyone who decided to take a job inside the armoured truck was made well aware of the risks that came with that line of employment before they signed on the dotted line. With the second highest mortality rate amongst all security roles in the United States, anyone inside one of these vehicles knew three undeniable facts.


There were people out there who had a great interest in killing you.


There were people out there who had a great interest in protecting you.

And three.

At some point every fortnight, someone inside the vehicle had to step outside holding the cash.

That morning, the clock had just ticked to 9:03 am. The reinforced white armoured truck had pulled up outside the Upper East Side Chase bank three minutes ago, right on time. The two guys inside were both middle-aged, efficient yet relaxed, accustomed to this routine. They were both retired cops, like most guys in this profession, but figured the rate of pay and healthcare plan that came with the job was worth any potential risk of getting held up or confronted on the street. They’d