“It was supposed to be easy. A quick smash and grab, in and out before anyone knew they were there, and then it was off to paradise with more money than they could spend in a lifetime. Hell, two lifetimes! Shoulda known nothing was ever that easy…”

Six convicts.

One helluva score.

What could possibly go wrong?

Originally published on the Quest of Evolution by Joseph Nassise.

Visual by Martin Cala

Big Tony slid out from under the front of the 1996 Chevrolet Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle, his nearly three-hundred-pound frame dwarfing the mechanic’s sled on which he was lying. He sat up, braced his feet against the floor, and then used the front bumper of the vehicle to haul himself to his feet.

Most others took one look at him and given his size and Italian heritage, imagined him in the role of a leg breaker in a gangster movie, an association he made no effort to discourage. That assumption caused many to keep their distance, which Tony appreciated. He wasn’t good with people anyway. He much preferred the company of a good vehicle with a finely tuned V8.

He might be two-and-a-half times the size of the next guy but put him behind the wheel of a vehicle, any vehicle, and he transformed. All that iron, steel, and chrome became an extension of his body, giving him grace, speed, and power, as if he and the vehicle were one and the same.

That was when Tony felt truly alive, and he lived for the days when he was on a job with the clock ticking down and his hands loose on the steering wheel. He’d never admit to it, but he secretly longed for something to go wrong with every job he participated in, wanting to feel that rush of adrenaline as he pitted his skill and knowledge of the streets against the skill and knowledge of the cops on their tail.

In just a few short hours, he’d get his chance again.

He pulled a rag out of his pocket and wiped the grease from his hands. The timing belt hadn’t been all that worn, but he felt better know that he’d changed it out. It was unlikely to have failed in the midst of the job, but unlikely and impossible are two very different things.

Besides, it gave him something to do while the clock ticked down the hours and minutes until he could slide behind the wheel once more.

The seconds ticked by eternally as Tony waited... Suddenly, he heard it: The faint sound of a cheesy Godfather theme MIDI ringtone. He rushed for the top drawer of his tool cabinet and took out an old Nokia burner phone. He answered:

"...Pronto..." "Listen, Tony, there's been a change in plans..."

Tony didn't like "changes in plans." He loved a thrill, but the ecstasy was relishing in safety after having a dance with the devil. Changes in plans were always bad, and Uncle Mauro had warned Tony since he was a small kid, "Evita i fottuti messicani" — Don't mess with the fucking Mexicans.

"I told you not to use my fuckin' name, Miguel..." "Quick, listen, hermano, the pickup has changed. Instead of..."

Tony interrupted and cut off Miguel, losing his patience now.

What do ya mean the pickup's changed? I've calculated everything perfectly for this job..."

Tony had prepped an old 2003 Dodge Pickup meticulously for his mission. He hollowed out its unnecessary innards and welded hidden compartments to carry the exact dimensions of the agreed contraband.

Miguel continued, "...Look, you agreed to fucking drive, nothing changes. Volume stays the same, the package size is identical to what we agreed, but El Rayo says triple the pay for your efforts, a total of 1.5 mil'. You get half today when you see Chucho, and half when you get to Miami..."

Tony remained in absolute silence while he absorbed the financial implications of this development. Changes were never welcome in Tony's world, but something he chased more than adrenaline was guap: His risk management was always reactive when guap was in the picture...

After a moment of somber silence and reflection, Tony curiously asked, "Then, what are we talking about exactly? We agreed to COKE, man..." "No, NOBODY said coke, PUTO... FUCK! Just listen!..." "...Sorry... Go on, fuck, I'm on edge now, sorry."

Tony took a mouthful of his Cutty Sark straight out of the bottle, knowing that whatever Miguel was about to say was worth an extra one million dollars...

"You will be carrying organs, my friend. Many organs."


What happen to the others? Read their stories here:

The Mastermind Gordon Simonovic

The Gun Moll Jennifer Caplan

The Killer Edward Hopper

The Face Marco Davis

The Narc Noah Jakes

Want to continue Antonio's story? Collect and add your stories here.