Anthony “Anchovy” Antonelli stood in front of a large city map, pointer in hand. There wasn’t an anchovy, flat or round, with or without capers, bought or sold in the city without Anthony Antonelli getting his cut. But his mind at present wasn’t on salted fish. His arm outstretched, the pointer’s rubber tip rested on the map’s upper left quadrant, bulls-eye center within a hand drawn target around a Metropolitan Bank branch.
“One,” said Antonelli, facing the room. Sweat beads formed a wet mustache above his thick upper lip. He blinked away sweat that flowed in gorge-like streams from his creased forehead. Electric fans blew warm air around but provided little relief. “This might be the most important of the three because they got the largest vault.” Antonelli swung the pointer straight ahead. “Ralphie. Vic. You two take this branch.”
Ralphie and Vic looked at each other, nodded and addressed Antonelli. “Count on us boss,” said Vic, looking smug as he made eye contact with the others in the room.
“What about us boss?” came Solly’s voice from the rear. “Me and Jack want that branch. We’ll handle …”
“Shut up!” sneered Antonelli. He whipped the pointer around and smacked its pointed end against a Metropolitan Bank location smack in the city’s middle. “This one belongs to you two.”
Solly, about to protest was cut short. “But …”
“But nothing” came Antonelli’s reply. “I chose the two of you to handle this one because it’s in the city’s financial district. Look around, whaddya see?”
Solly and Jack rotated their heads, and then in unison shrugged their shoulders. “I don’t … we don’t know what we see,” said Solly.
“I’ll tell you what you don’t see,” Antonelli paused. “You don’t see anyone here who would fit inconspicuous-like in the financial section, do you?” Solly and Jack didn’t respond. “That’s because there isn’t anyone except you two. Don’t you see? You boys look the part. Professional, clean cut, well dressed, and all the rest. Any questions?”
This time, Solly and Jack gloated. Solly grabbed wide lapels and gave them a proud tug. Jack wiped dandruff off his shoulders, grabbed his hat and with his forearm brushed it clean. Ralphie and Vic scowled.
“Hey. Hey. I hate to break up this love fest, but are me and Abe chopped liver?” asked Simon, seated alongside his partner Abe.
“I love chopped liver!” shouted Zachary, the only member of Anthony Antonelli’s gang unpaired. Zach sat next to an open window, the only one without a fan. His heavily pomaded hair resembled black shoe polish.
“No one cares what you like, Zook,” said Solly.
“My name’s Zach! Zach! How many times do I have to tell …” he began standing but sat back down when Antonelli intervened.
“Boys! Stop it. Solly, you know Zach hates to be called Zook. Let’s all get along, shall we?” There wasn’t a hint of amusement in his voice. “This is business. Stop the nonsense. Here,” and with the black rubber tip pointed to the third circled bank location on the map, “is where you and Abe come in.” Antonelli directed his comment at Simon and Abe. “Is this perfect for you two or what? Huh? Does Tony take care of you two?”
The Metropolitan Bank assigned to Simon and Abe was next door to the Skyscraper Delicatessen. “I recommend the corned beef and pastrami combination on rye with extra mustard and pickles. You go in, have a nice meal, and walk next door and rob the bank. I don’t expect you to pull a job on an empty stomach.”
The room filled with laughter. Simon loosened his tie and mopped the front and back of his neck with a stained handkerchief. “Can I get a piece of cheesecake too?” he asked.
“Sure, whatever you want. Just make sure you and Abe are inside the bank at noon sharp. Got it?”
“Got it,” said Simon and Abe together.
“Good. Let’s go over this one more time,” said Antonelli. “Friday, noontime. Every Friday at noon the guards at all the branches go on a thirty-minute lunch. Each branch of the Metropolitan Bank, like all other banks receives a money shipment Thursday evenings so that they have enough on hand to cash the working stiffs’ weekly paychecks. Remember, I want gunfire at all three locations, but I don’t want anyone hurt. Got that?”
“Sure boss,” said Vic.
“Whatever you say,” said Solly.
“Good. I’m not a violent person,” said Abe. “Money, I like. Hurting people, not so much. Unless of course they get in my way of money,” he said without humor.