It was chilly and dark when Sam awoke far too early one mid-April morning, but he was in good spirits. The Rogues had a major heist planned that afternoon, and it was also his birthday! The day was going to be great -- a good old-fashioned bank robbery with hopefully a large haul, and then getting wasted with the guys afterward. Actually that summed up most of his time spent with the Rogues, but he loved it and wasn’t going to complain. And today should be even better, because the guys would treat him like a king.
But things didn’t seem much fun when he met up with the others at the arranged time. The guys were alternately surly, preoccupied, hungover, or all three. Nobody wished him a happy birthday, and as they went over the heist plans one last time, Sam felt distinctly disappointed. Still, he was a grown man and the leader of the bunch, so he sucked it up and said nothing.
“Remember: the guards change shifts at 2:15 pm, so we need to get in there right on the dot. No dawdling. Digger, are you even listening?” Sam asked in exasperation, noting that his bleary-eyed Australian colleague seemed to be staring off into space.
“Yeah mate, you said no dawdling.” Apparently he’d been paying attention after all, but was clearly still feeling the effects of last night’s bender.
“Make certain you don’t throw those boomerangs at us, you lout,” Roscoe said crossly, and Len snorted.
“Oh for fuck’s sake, Digger’s a pro. Shut up and let’s get back to the plan.”
“Remember when he barely missed Mick’s head last time? He’s a liability when he’s half-drunk!” Roscoe retorted, and Sam slammed his hands down on the table.
“All of you shut the hell up!” Sam shouted, now deeply angry. “You know the plan and you’ll follow it to the letter, or next time you don’t get to work with the group. That goes for everyone!”
Nobody said anything in response, and everyone looked around resentfully at each other. This was not the sign of a successful heist.
Things continued to go poorly at the bank. Some of the guards had changed a few minutes early, meaning they weren’t busy when the Rogues burst through the front door. Hartley put a few of them to sleep, but one was able to hit the alarm before falling unconscious and another two managed to escape.
“This is all wrong!” Sam griped as the anxious Rogues stood in the vault and stuffed all the money they could find into satchels. The situation was too tense for them to bicker with each other or cast blame.
“Flash’ll be here any second,” Len noted worriedly, and Sam ordered Mick to watch for him. Mick stood at the door, gun ready, and waited for the Flash to arrive as his colleagues continued gathering piles of cash. It was only a minute before he saw a familiar red blur approaching, and fired his gun.
“Look out!” Digger warned as Mick was sent flying towards them with one punch from the speedster. Heat Wave barreled into Hartley, and the slightly-built man had the wind knocked out of him. He wasn’t going to be playing any music for the next few minutes.
“We’ll be trapped in the vault,” Roscoe suddenly announced with concern, running for the door, but was backhanded by the Flash and left sprawling. And just as he’d predicted, the door slammed shut, leaving them locked inside in complete darkness.
“Shit!” Digger screamed in a panicked rage. “We’re totally balls-up now!”
“Are they gonna leave us to suffocate in here?” Mick asked fearfully, and Roscoe rolled his eyes.
“Of course not, idiot. They’ll probably flood the chamber with gas and take us into custody.”
“I can try freezing and smashing the vault door,” Len suggested. “Dillon, you bring explosives?”
“Yes, though I doubt they’re sufficient to punch through that much metal, even if brittle. And we’d likely be severely injured at this range.”
Everyone was silent for a few moments, then Sam had an idea. “Mick, is your gun still working?”
There were a few futile clicks in the darkness, and now Mick sounded more dejected than ever. “Nope.”
It wasn’t cold in the vault, but he still had a terror of being locked in a small dark room.
“Anyone have a lighter, flashlight, or matches?” Sam asked, and Digger dug around in his pockets for cigarettes and related paraphernalia.
“Got a few matches left, mate.”
He managed to hand the matchbook to Sam by feeling around in the darkness, and Sam began piling money at his feet. Suddenly they could hear the sound of a small drill from outside the vault, and whatever was happening probably wouldn’t be good. He had to hurry.
“Okay guys,” Sam announced. “I’m gonna start a fire to make some light, and hopefully that’ll be enough to activate my mirror so we can get out of here.”
Roscoe raised an eyebrow at him, of course unseen in the darkness. “Be careful you don’t use up all the oxygen before they can reach us -- and we don’t want to burn to death either.”
“I know, I know,” Sam replied calmly. He lit the match, used it to ignite some of the money at his feet, and crouched with his mirror next to the small but growing bonfire. Everyone watched as the light hit the mirror and its reflective surface began to glow.
“Move it!” he ordered the Rogues, and no one needed to be told twice. They jumped through the mirror and emerged at the safehouse, never so relieved to see its dingy environs.
“What a goddamn disaster,” Len growled as they poured out what little money had been brought with them. They’d been so anxious to escape that two satchels had been forgotten, and once the loot was split six ways, there wouldn’t be much cash for each man.
“Look, this was just a bad day,” Sam sighed as he pulled off his cowl and rubbed his head tiredly. “Next time will go better, right? At least we all got away and no one’s seriously hurt.”
“Speak for yourself,” Hartley grumbled, still holding his midsection. A nasty bruise was already forming where Mick had crashed into him. “And I lost my pipe in the dark.”
“We need a drink. Or five!” Digger declared loudly, and nobody disagreed. He suggested they go to their favourite local hole-in-the-wall, so the guys changed into street clothes and wandered down to the bar.
The bar looked kind of dark and quiet when they arrived, but they went in anyway. And the place immediately lit up with people and activity.
“Surprise!” several people shouted drunkenly at Sam, who reflexively pulled out his gun. But the other Rogues were laughing and he quickly understood what was going on.
“Happy birthday, huh?” Len said, thumping Sam on the back. “Yeah, the heist went bad, but the day ain’t a total write-off. We can still get drunk.”
“I thought you guys forgot,” Sam replied honestly, now grinning broadly at everyone, and they all looked pretty happy too.
“Nah, we got Bill to set things up,” Digger crowed with an arm around Sam’s shoulders, pointing at the bartender. “And now we can drink! Someone bring us the first round!”
The six Rogues sat at their usual table with foaming mugs and a handful of hanging-on admirers. They were local heroes in the neighbourhood, and no one would ever dream of turning them in. The bad heist was forgotten, the mood now jubilant.
“A toast: to Sam and the Rogues, long may we reign,” Roscoe declared joyously, and everyone sloppily raised their glass.