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I remember my first job like it was yesterday.

On the way there the air was electric, like, you could hear the faint crackle of static from somewhere just behind you. It was hot, humid. You could see the heat rising off the street, smell the sweat in the car. Everyone was buzzing. We could all tell from each others faces that we were thinking the same thing: This is it. I parked up and the others got out of the car. I just had to wait.

I remember feeling like the world had slowed down, like I could see everything almost before it happened. I felt invincible, but at the same time like my heart was beating so hard I was gonna choke on it. The drive up had been quiet. No one dared speak. No one even dared look each other in the eye, in case you spied doubt in the other man’s face. We were past the point of no return now. Doubt would only lead to panic, and panic always leads to mistakes. No one wanted to make a mistake, least of all me.

Suddenly I’m not invincible, I’m a scared little kid who’s way out of his depth. What was I thinking?! How did I even get myself into this mess? I had to snap out of it. Think about something else. Think about Laura. She’s the one you’re doing this for. This one job and we won’t have to worry any more, that’s what I told her. Now to get the job done. I look at my watch. It’s only been 7 minutes. How long are they gonna take anyway?

A crash and the alarm starts ringing. It’s time.

Omar comes running out first, his face is wild like he’s just won the lottery but it’s giving him a heart attack. Then comes Walt, moving slow, poker face, like a man who’s always in control. He’s not worried, or if he is he’s hiding it pretty damn well. Last out the door is Dexter. That stupid sonofabitch still has his piece on display. They pile in, Walt up front with me, the others in the back, bags on their laps, yelling all kinds of shit I’m way too distracted to take in. Walt tells me to drive. I drive.

We figure we have a 4 minute window to get to the other car, change and make our way downtown before this whole area turns into a hotbed of activity, the kind we don’t want to get caught up in. I try to keep my speed down to avoid drawing attention, despite the two in the back, and every muscle in my body, screaming at me to just floor it. We arrive about 30 seconds later than planned, the guys half stripped off already. I jump out and open the other car, get to the trunk and start throwing bags to the others before stripping down and opening my own bag. We transfer the goods and set fire to the old car. They’d find it anyway so it’s more important to get rid of anything inside. It’s this car we don’t want them to find.

We head south, the dynamic still the same: I drive, Walt sits up front, stoic as ever but it’s calming you know? Omar and Dexter are in the back whooping, cursing, giving me an action replay like I’ve got nothing better to do than listen to them. They’re keeping me excited though, keeping the adrenaline going, I just wish they’d do it more quietly so I could concentrate more. I take one more glance at Walt and swear I see a grin flash across his face. He knows we’ve made it.

I enter traffic and head downtown to the carwash. The others get out, a bag slung over each of their shoulders as they head off in different directions. I ask for the full valet service and leave a nice tip. I won’t need that car again.

I hail a taxi and head off to my own destination, back to Laura and a new life. At least that’s what I planned, but when do things ever go to plan?

Disclaimer: Names have been changed to protect those involved.

Additional Disclaimer: In case it’s not blindingly obvious, this is all fictional!