‘Suicide Squeeze’ is fun for the whole family. A blog novella created with one part ‘Point Break’, two parts, ‘The Fan’ and a dash of ‘Corporate Porn.’
Jim Johanson, Jimmy, was pacing on his hardwood-floored apartment holding a cup of coffee in one hand and a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel in the other. He was reading the sports section.
Growing up in Milwaukee Jim had been a huge baseball fan with hopes of someday playing professional ball. When his team went to the state tournament and hit the game tying homerun in the ninth; however, that day individual heroics were short lived. Next up was Mickey Casanova; he hit the game winning homerun. Mickey’s homerun not only got the headline, but also the scholarship, also the contract. Jimmy enrolled in Finance at Marquette University. After school he went to work as an accountant for the Federal Reserve, learning the banking business as well as the importance of insuring money kept in banks. Now a head security analyst Jimmy had access to every banks infrastructure and would know most importantly: the money flow. The way he figured it, if he couldn’t play America’s favorite past time, he wanted to be somehow involved in America’s second favorite past time, robbing banks.
The first job was in Fall River, Massachusetts, a small town located on the south shore. Jim did all the planning, and when Hartford opened last season playing the Cape Cod Car Dealers it was the perfect opportunity. It was Jim’s idea to add the masks, and now every time another bank was robbed the headlines would read Cooperstown Gang Strikes Again, Bank Robbed by Hall of Famers, or his personal favorite printed just two days ago in the Baltimore Ledger: Bambino Robs Hometown Bank. Jim did all the planning and only expected twenty percent in return. He understood the risk, and felt that with Mickey his friend from back in the day, would keep the heat off. Jim used statistics to pick the banks to hit. Take the size, amount of cash, and number of guards. Jim advises the banks of potential risks, but also knows when the risk will be addressed. The robbery occurs and Jim points out the recommendations after the fact.
The First National Bank of Nashville downtown branch was perfect. A month ago Jim had a meeting with Shannon Jules, the manager of the bank, who explained their situation and was asking his advice on whether another temporary vault should be brought in. Jim pointed out the cost of a temporary vault versus another guard. On a follow up call a week later Jim learned that Shannon had decided to hire an extra guard during the time of repair.
Jim’s phone rang.
“Yeah, it’s Jimmy.”
“What’s up buddy, did you see the game?”
“Yeah, great game, he listen, I’ve gotta run.”
A code Mickey and Jimmy had come up with. Jimmy hung up the phone, put on some shoes, and walked to a pay phone.
Jimmy and Mickey confirm the take down will occur during the Knoxville series.
Two weeks had passed since Mickey struck out to end the game against Wilmington. Since two veteran players had been cut and the only surprise was that Mickey was not one of them, yet.
The Knoxville Clowns played their home games at a park known as the beer garden. Over forty beers on tap, lots of fights. This afternoon Mickey broke out of his slump with a pair of doubles and four runs batted in leading the Heartbreakers to a 7-2 win over the Clowns.
The drive to Nashville was quiet. They were listening to sports radio, taking calls on the economic issues with baseball. There was talk that MLB may be striking next year. Mickey wasn’t paying any attention; instead going through a mental checklist in his head. The masks, the gloves, and bags for the money was in the trunk lying next to the box of dynamite and detonator. Paully was in charge of the explosives. Four nine-millimeter guns were under the front seat. When they arrived in Nashville, they headed to the south part of the city where they found a deserted parking lot to allow them to get ready.
They hit the doors of First National Bank of Nashville like horses coming out of the gates of the Kentucky Derby. The bank had a large lobby with a half circle counter surrounded by metal desks. Behind the counter were several large plants surrounding a small waterfall that appeared to start at the ceiling, and trickle down. Next to the waterfall was an open room where a thick metal door was propped open (being repaired). Pete Rose immediately charged the guard, knocking him to the ground and grabbing his gun in one motion. Babe secured the second guard with a gun to his head, knocking him to the ground. Joe D. quickly moved toward the counter with his gun pointed at the lovely Madeline. He directed the other two tellers around the counter to join the crowd where Big Mac was instructing the crowd to “stay low and shut the hell up!”
“Everyone down, this is a robbery, now one gets hurt if everyone stays cool!” Screamed Mac.
“Oh my God, we’re all going to die!” Screamed an elderly woman dropping to her knees.
Joe D. handed Madeline the bags and directed her to fill the bags with all the cash from the drawers and then the vault.
“I don’t know, uh, what, it’s being –“ Madeline stuttered, cut off by Joe D.
“If the money that is usually in the vault isn’t in that bag in five minutes I’m going to shoot you in the head.”
Madeline nodded and walked around the desk behind the counter where a safe was sitting. She went into the desk, found the combination and began working on it. Joe D. quickly jumped over the counter, grabbing the combination, and opening the safe, proceeding to stuff all the money into the bag he was holding.
Pete Rose was watching Joe D. when the guard he was covering eased his way to his knees and reached for the fire alarm.
Big Mac notice the guard reaching for the alarm, yelling over to Charlie Hustle who kicked the guard in the stomach, dropping him back to the floor.
During the commotion a man wearing a cowboy hat, rose up with his six shooter pulled pointed at Big Mac. Joe D. screamed then shot toward the cowboy, hitting him in the back.
The masked all-stars all ran for the door leaving behind screams of terror, an echoing fire alarm, and a dying cowboy.
Paully took the first lift and the next right, nobody was following the car, buy they could hear the sirens in the distance. Ricky, Raul, and Mickey removed their masks and got out. Paully would dispose of the car. The rest would split up, because right now the cops are looking for a group.
After some Mexican food Mickey calls Jimmy to let him know it’s done, but that there’s heat. Eventually the crew meets up in a parking lot where they are picked up by Paully with a new car. The drive back to Knoxville was quiet.
MICKEY WAS HITTING. In Knoxville he went 11 for 15 with three home runs. The next series in Columbus, 12-17 with four more homers. He was having the time of his life and there was still no heat. The superstitions were also growing, now instead of just tapping his foot he was also looking up at the sky before every pitch. The important thing was that Mickey was hitting. There would be no more banks, everything was secure in a secure offshore account in Belize City.
The Boston Police Department had the red brick Back Bay apartment building surrounded. Despite rain the neighbors looked on with interest. With twenty cops surrounding the building Lenny just walked out with his hands up, he knew they were there for him. After all he was a white mail with dreadlocks and work a black Kangol hat. There was no way he would never get busted for dealing drugs. Recovered in the bust was five guns, a 100 grams of cocaine, and over fifty thousand dollars.
Over the next couple weeks Mickey continued hitting. Back in Hartford Mickey led the Heartbreakers to three wins over the Erie Tools with two game winning home runs. Over the past twelve games Mickey was hitting over .600 and smashing extra base hits every other hit.
Jack Malloy was leaned over his desk with his hands covering a Dunkin Donuts coffee reading about the robbery in Nashville, now also a murder case. Jed Thornton, a truck driver in the bank, had taken a bullet to the back of the head. No clues so far so Jack was skeptical when he got a call from Baltimore saying that they had recovered some of the marked bills. Not actually marked, but each bank was now recording serial numbers of hundred dollar bills. Now some of these bills had turned up.
“Yeah, it’s the damn’est thing.” Donny, a detective from Baltimore said. “They came from a drug dealer in Boston.”
“This is good news.” Mumbles Jack.
“There’s more.” Said Donny. “The guy sang like a canary and we know where the bills came from.”
“I’m all ears.”
“Some guy named Raul, he’s a baseball player for Hartford..”
“Heartbreakers?” Jack finished his sentence.
“Yeah. That’s it.”
“I’ll be damned.” A smile crosses Jack’s face. “Finally, something to go on.” And then he said, “Hold on.” Jack ran to another room and punched up the Heartbreakers schedule on the internet. They were going to be starting a three game series in Raleigh, North Carolina. He runs back to the phone.
“Donny, still there?”
“Yes Jack, what’s going on over there?”
“Nothing, listen I can meet you at BWI at 11:30. Don’t do anything until I get there.”
“Okay Jack, then what?”
“Then we’re going to take a road trip.”
Jack arrived on time, Steve was waiting.
“I’ll drive. Where’s your car!” Shouted Malloy when he saw Steve whom had extended his hand.
“Uh, okay, it’s over their.” Steve pointed. “Where are we going?”
Malloy drove ninety-miles an hour the entire way. They arrived at 3:45pm, so since the Heartbreakers didn’t play until 7:30pm they went to the Day’s Inn where the players were staying. The FBI in Raleigh wasn’t an everyday occurrence and it was sure to spread through the town fast, so Jack and Donny went to pick up Raul.
Raul was sleeping when Jack and Donny showed up at the door. At first he thought it was a joke, but when he saw Jack’s FBI credentials he quickly got serious. Jack refused to talk to him until they got to the local police station where he assured Raul he would let him know then.
Mickey didn’t notice Raul was gone. The night before in Clearwater he had went 5 for 5 with three home runs and now was 4 for 5 against Raleigh. He was unstoppable at the plate.
Raul walked into the gray interview room followed by Jack and Donny. Two metal chairs, a mirror, and a coffee machine.
Jack stares at Raul, Steve stands in the corner.
“Do you know why you’re here?” Jack mumbles.
“Do you know a guy who goes by El in Boston?”
Raul pauses. “No, Never heard of him.”
“Are you sure? You should know that the Raleigh Police Department is checking your room right now, also we have El in custody for possession with intent to delivery.”
Jack sits back. “Do you know him now?”
“Yeah, I’ve bought some cocaine from him once.” Raul exhales slowly, “But not much…”
“How did you pay him?” Jack asks.
“Cash, money, how did you pay him?”
“Uh, yeah cash…I don’t know what you mean?”
“Denominations? Do you remember? Twenties, tens, fives…”
“Twenties, yeah probably twenties.”
“Where did you get the money?”
“God, I don’t remember, probably Wilmington. We were playing there the night before.”
“Are you sure?”
Raul shrugs, “Yeah, it was definitely Wilmington.”
“Hmm.” Grunts Jack. “Definitely Wilmington”, Jack leans closer, looking into Raul’s eyes, “And not Baltimore?” Jack let’s this hang.
Raul chokes for a second then gained his composure. “I said Wilmington.”
“Well Okay.” Said Jack as he stood up. “Since this is your first offense you will probably just get probation. Thanks for coming in.”
Raul leaves. Steve walked over to Jack. “Why did you let him go?”
“You’ll see.” Said Jack and then a grin appears over his face then he calls a man by the name of Greg Monroe, gives Raul’s name, and explains that he needs the usual.
“Who Raul associates with and prints, right?” Asks Greg.
“Correct buddy, call me when you have the info.”
Back at the Heartbreakers hotel Mickey wasn’t answering his door so Raul went to his room and found that his stash was secure, snorted two lines, and then fell asleep.
The next morning Raul caught Mickey in the hotel lobby and explained that they needed to talk, but Mickey was too focused on batting practice that he was late for. “We’ll talk after, at Rusty’s.”
“No, he didn’t say anything about a robbery, but he mentioned it. Why would he mention Baltimore?”
“It’s probably nothing.” Mickey could tell Raul was shaken.
“Dude, if they had anything you wouldn’t be here added Rick. Paully playfully punched Raul in the arm, “Yeah, forget it, probably nothing.”
Raul still appearing nervous, “I don’t know, what if we come clean-“
Mickey cuts off Raul, grabbing his shoulder. “What the hell do you think you’re going to do….get it together man, get it together.”
“You’re right.” Said Raul, “That Malloy guy just got the best of me.”
“No problem, we need to focus on the big game tomorrow anyway.”
Paully laughs, “Yeah, big game for you Mick, have you been sleeping with your bat, what the hell man?”
“Just a little luck” Replied Mikey.
“Ride the wave man, just ride the wave.” Said Ricky.
Two tables away, Greg was unable to hear what they were saying, as soon as they walked away from the table he walked over and cleared the table. A waitress approached him; he smiled, pushed past her, and walked out the door with the glass bottles knocking together in his stained Columbo like trench coat.
Malloy popped the top of the Advil bottle and chased two capsules with a large Dunkin Donuts coffee. His phone lit up, it was Greg, he had come through with two sets of prints and two of them matched prints from the Mustang in Nashville, Paul and Rick.
“What about this guy…” Jack fumbled around looking for the name. “Mickey. Mickey Casanova?”
“No, nothing yet, but he was doing all the talking.”
“Got it. Alright, I’ll be right there, give me an hour.”
“Don’t sweat it.” Mickey told Raul at the Elbow room in Birmingham where they played that night (Mickey had three more hits and was now leading the team).
“I hope you’re right Mick, I just got this bad feeling.”
Mickey put his arm on Raul’s shoulder, his body was shaking, and “It’s just a little heat, not big thing.”
The bartender, Walker, walked over to the table shaking his head, “Mickey Casanova, how the hell are you? You look good; I hear you’re hitting the leather right off the ball.”
Mickey shook his hand, “Yeah, right now it looks like a beach ball coming at me, I can’t miss.”
“Good to hear, I saw some guys playing catch out on the street the other day and thought of you. Remember how we used to play catch on the roof?”
Mickey laughed. “I remember you throwing the ball over my head, and watching it land four stories down on some guy’s new ride. He was pissed.”
“Yeah, that guy waited for us all night. Good thing there’s a back door.”
Raul came back and Mickey introduced the two.
Doug looked at both of them, “I have to work, but if you guys want the gloves and ball are right over there, go ahead Mick if you want.”
Mickey looked over at Raul who shrugged his shoulders. Mickey grabbed the gloves and they walked up the spiral staircase to the roof.
On the roof they looked over the city.
“Thanks, you know, for what you said down there.” Raul said to Mickey. “It should blow over, I need to take it all in stride.” Raul grabbed one of the gloves, Mickey threw him a curve ball that he caught.
“Yeah, just give it time, it will blow over.” Mickey threw a high fastball, forcing Raul to jump back and make the catch.
“So what’s it like man?” Asked Raul, winding up and throwing a sinker that dropped just as it reached Mickey. “What do you mean?”
“To be hitting like you are, what’s it like?”
“It’s the greatest” Smiled Mickey, throwing another high fastball, forcing Raul to jump back again, this time to the edge of the roof. Raul wasn’t sure if it was the elevation, beers he had consumed, or the cocaine, but he was feeling great and laughed for no reason. He threw a knuckle ball back at Mickey.
“Cool man, I hope you make it to the big leagues.”
“Dude, don’t say that, you’ll jinx me.” Replied Mickey as he winded up and throwing a fast ball.
Raul was smiling, looking up at the stars when the ball hit him in the chest sending him over the roof to the street below.
“You gotta be kidding me.” Was the response from Jack when he heard about Raul. “Accidental? Bullshit. Enough is enough I’m going to go pick up the two with the matched prints.”
Raul was dressing in gray, his road uniform. Mickey was sitting in the front row surrounded by the other Heartbreakers. The only family Raul had left was a sister, living in Florida who decided it would be best to have the funeral wherever the team was, Raul would have wanted it that way; baseball was his life.
Mickey, Ricky, and Paully were all walking out of the funeral parlor, consoling each other when Jack Malloy approached them.
“Paul Johnson and Rick Diangelo you need to come with me.”
“Hey, our friend just died, who the hell are you?”
With Donny and two uniformed officers standing behind him Malloy flashed his FBI badge and told them they were under arrest for four counts of armed robbery and one felony homicide. After reading the counts he turned to Mickey. “And when I catch up with you maybe we’ll throw in another homicide.” The officers cuffed Paul and Rick. Jack looked back at Mickey, “Oh, and Mick, sorry to hear about your friend, I hear he fell off a roof top, tough break kiddo.”