Three people sat on a sofa; they looked ordinary, one with dirty blonde hair to a jutting chin, wearing jeans and beat up converse; she was Jenna and she was in charge. Next to her sat the brains of the unit; Billy knew all there was about computers and some more on top; he was geek through and through, down to the adidas vintage blue flash on his feet. Billy understood that it was the geeks who would inherit the earth and smiled his gap toothed smile at Melanie. Ah sweet Melanie with her dark bob, all neat and compact like a fold up version of a human, a factory model someone, a careless cleaner perhaps, let loose on the streets. Beneath that perfectly plain exterior lay a mind like a bomb. Melanie brought energy to their little gang; surplus energy that leaked out of her fingers, tap-tapping their way through this planning meeting. Yet another planning meeting; what was up with all these meetings? What about some action? Yet she sat and tapped and smiled vaguely back at Billy, wondering if she would sleep with him or not. Perhaps it would help him get over her; or maybe she’d fall for him. It happened. One minute you’re having casual fun and the next, bam, without them you’re a wreck. If she thought about it too much it became alarming. Best not to think; just do.
If you saw them you would think, students for sure; they all wore that slightly impoverished bish-bash style which involved no real style at all. It was anti-style, retro-style, ironic-style; ultimately anonymous, it blended. And they wanted to blend. To stand out from the crowd was to invite curiosity and they all knew the tale of curiosity and the pussycat. These three wore their individuality on the inside, where it counted. These three had a plan. It was Jenna’s plan really but she knew that without Billy and Melanie there would be no plan at all. Need was too strong a word she felt; glancing sharply at them both. A better word for it was valued. Yes, she valued what they could bring; their talents, gifts if you will. Both had been gifted with traits that afforded them a certain perspective on life; it was random luck when you thought about it. Which Jenna did, often. She liked to think things through. There’s nothing wrong with being thorough is there? Her attention to detail is what has brought them this far. This is what both these two beside her come down to; details pure and simple, components. Without them her plan cannot function. Soon it will all come down to Melanie and this makes her nervous. She can’t figure her out. Billy is infatuated; he thinks he’s hiding it behind those NHS specs of his but Jenna is a woman above all else and her feminine instinct is never wrong. Melanie seems not to notice, or at least not to care; Jenna would care if someone loved her like that.
“I’ve been into their database and we’re all set. I’ve reloaded the code through the back door and when you go in it will all be there waiting. You simply ask and walk out with it.” Billy bit his lip to stop more info spilling out. These girls didn’t want the tech-specifics. He made it sound so easy, reloading code, huh, seventy-five hours of programming went into that last week alone and a hundred the week before. Billy was earning his share and more. It wasn’t the pay off though, that was only money. Billy’s heart quickened at the thought of another programmer, someone in-house, discovering his backdoor Trojan and how they couldn’t fail to admire the flourishes in his work. By the glaze skimming across Melanie’s eyes he knew there would be no appreciation of his efforts from her. Instead of feeling annoyed his gaze softened in her direction; the buzz and hum of suppressed motion all around her like a halo. She would play her part beautifully he was sure; as Jenna had played hers. Billy beamed at Jenna, wanting her to know that he was glad to do his bit; that her plan was worth his time. Jenna frowned.
Melanie bounced gently in her seat, ready to propel her self forwards at any moment. “Right then, so, one hour, yeah? I’ll go in and do the do and meet you all back here.” She twiddled a poker piece of hair around a finger, red varnish glowing at the tip. It gleamed like a cigarette butt in the dark and Billy wanted to inhale her. Instead he nodded and held back the words good luck, which seemed unlucky to say out loud. Jenna curled her toes up, scrunching them into the floor secretly, while her face remained a calm mask.
“Yep, one hour. Any longer and we’ll be at the depot as planned.” This was the fall back, should it all go wrong. They would be safe there; Jenna needed a plan B. After Melanie left Billy and Jenna sat and looked at each other or the clock. In one hour they could do anything; go anywhere, be anyone. Sixty minutes is a long time when you count it out second by second. They could not stop the relentless flick of their eyes in the clocks’ direction. The TV was just noise, conversation was impossible and tea sat cooling in untouched mugs. The tick and tock towards all or nothing absorbed every corner of their consciousness.
The door bounced open after fifty-eight minutes; Melanie threw down the satchels knocking the tea mugs off the table. Jenna didn’t even tut; it was done. Two years of careful planning came down to this moment; two bags on a table holding all their futures in clean, useable notes crisp and perfect. Melanie danced round the table throwing Billy a wink. She’d made up her mind; she would sleep with him tonight. It was her thank you, just as he’d said all she’d done is ask and it had been there.
Perhaps it was the wink, Jenna wasn’t sure; she’d planned on sharing it, but maybe not. Why bring the gun otherwise? Billy and Melanie looked at the steely snub nose pointed in their direction and laughed; Jenna took up both satchels and left without a word. Melanie stood still for once; Billy gap toothed took in her beautiful simplicity with an open smile. She nodded and headed for the bedroom. The bam had happened.