It Was A Simple Plan, Really

It Was A Simple Plan, Really
Photo by Nataliya Smirnova / Unsplash

New Year’s Eve.

11:00 pm.

Park in back of the bowling alley, next to the railroad tracks.

Drag one of those metal snow-disc saucer sleds down the rail bed, across the farmer’s field, and through the little wooded patch up to the back of Victor’s house.

Break in through Victor's flimsy old back door.

Up three steps, bedroom on the left, snatch the safe by the nightstand, back down three steps, out the door.

Drag the safe on the sled back through the woods, across the field, up the rail bed, put everything in the trunk, and we’re gone.

Simple, right?

And with all the sketchy shit Victor was into, we knew it was a sure thing.

We figured at least $50,000.00 in cash, a fat brick of cocaine, plus whatever else we find inside the safe.

What we didn’t plan for was the blizzard.

Photo by freestocks / Unsplash

Six inches of freshly fallen snow and more dumping on us every minute.

When we finally finish high-stepping down the tracks, stumbling across that stubbled cornfield, crashing through the briar patch, and busting down Victor’s frozen back door...we’re sweat-soaked and exhausted.

Clothes turned to ice. Hands and feet blue. Huffing, puffing, wheezing. We can’t catch our breath, then we can’t find Victor’s bedroom, and then, no goddamn safe.

Neighborhood dogs are barking everywhere, and now there’s a set of headlights streaming up the driveway.

Sweet Jesus, we are so fucked.

But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Why are we robbing Victor Martin?

We didn't like him. That's all

Victor Martin was just a rotten dude.

Oh, and he was rich.

By the age of 28, Victor owned a strip club, an X-rated movie theater, an X-rated book store, and a limo service, and he was the biggest dope dealer in town.

Coke, weed, Ecstasy, you name it. Even heroin.

If it got you high, Victor had it or could get it—for a price.

And we hated him for it.

Why? Because he didn’t need it.

He didn’t need any of it.

He was already filthy rich.

His old man owned Martin Corporate Air, the largest, most popular charter jet service in Detroit.

Auto execs, rock stars, professional athletes, politicians, lobbyists... all the movers and shakers in every industry you can imagine flew Martin Air.

Old Man Martin had cash falling out of his pockets.

But, unlike Victor, Old Man Martin was a great guy–and very generous.

Victor's dad sponsored our hockey teams, lacrosse, and baseball teams–even built us a new football stadium at the high school.

Of course, that meant Victor was the team captain in every sport.

And that meant Victor Martin was a total prick to just about everyone.

Been that way since we were kids.

All the good looks of a quarterback but none of that wholesome charm, you know?

He was that guy.

Photo by Alberto Rodríguez Santana / Unsplash

Take a girl out, wine and dine her, make her feel all special just to get in her pants, then tell the whole school what a slut she was.

Just a mean-spirited, good-for-nothing, total prick-ass creep.

And we hated him for that, too.

So, when Beak came up with the plan, it didn’t take much for the rest of us to fall in.

We were the Three Musketeers...all four of us

It was me, Dink, Dave, and Beak.

We were the crew.

Been that way since—hell, since as long as I can remember.

We were just always together, the four of us.

Beak was always calling us the Three Musketeers—which made no fucking sense.

“There’s four of us, you fuck,” Dave would tell him.

Beak’s name was really Mike, but nobody called him that. Not even his mom. She called him Michael.

Buff as hell, Beak was. Ripped. Did gymnastics in school and even got a scholarship behind it.

Not that any of that mattered now.

Beak was too old, weak and busted up to anything graceful, and he was unemployed half the time too, just like the rest of us.

See, in Detroit...

If you don’t work in the factories, you probably work in construction.  

And we were construction guys.

Great money in construction, but Michigan winters are a bitch.

Everything freezes hard. Roads ice over, the ground freezes solid, and snow gets knee-deep every other week.

Can’t get much done in those conditions, so construction just shuts down. And there you sit, collecting a little unemployment—but it’s not enough.

A man’s gotta provide, ya know?

We all have family to support. So, we get into a little something from time to time.

Now, don’t get to thinking we’re all career criminals up here.

It ain’t like that. Not at all.

We’re good people. Stand up guys.

We just have to get a little creative every now and then to make ends meet, is all.

Nothing violent. We never set out to hurt nobody. We just need a little extra jingle in our pockets and we’re willing to get a little sideways to earn it.

The real Musketeers though, that was me, Dave, and Dink.

We were brothers.

I basically grew up with Dave and Dink, the Ashoonas.

They were Canadian.

Like the real kind.

Inuit people. First Nations people.

theree boys at the edge of a pier overlooking water
Photo by Tolga Ahmetler / Unsplash

Dark-skinned, dark-eyed, coarse black hair kind of people.

Tough as nails kind of people too.

They raised me, the Ashoona family did.

Took me in after mom left.  

I was one of them, an Ashoona. Just looked a little different is all.

So there we are...

The three of us, me, Dave, and Dink.

We made it inside, we're sweat-soaked and frozen and nothing is where it's supposed to be.

We're stumbling around in the dark because none of us remembered flashlights...

And Beak?

Beak is back at the car—it was his car, after all.

We’re not inside two minutes when Dink starts in on me–bitchin'.

But like in a whisper. Whisper-bitchin’.

“What’re you doin'?” he says, all whisper-bitchin’.

“Gettin’ some dry fuckin' socks.”

“And leavin’ your dumb-ass fingerprints everywhere!” he whispers.

“Why you whispering?” I say. “Ain’t nobody home, you dope.”

Dink gives me a shove. “I knew we should’a left you back at the car, you stupid mutha…”

Smack! Dave slaps Dink right in the back of the head.

“Shut up. Both of you,” he says.

“Yeah, Bro, we’re stealin’ this man’s safe, and you’re losing your mind ‘cause I’m swipin’ a dry pair of soc…. Hey,” I say.

“Look at this.”

“Is it loaded?” Dink says.

“It better be,” Dave says.

“Look who’s pulling up the driveway.”

It’s New Year’s Eve.

Victor’s supposed to be out somewhere—wherever filthy-rich total creep-ass pricks go to party on New Year’s Eve—and we’re supposed to have the place to ourselves.

Beak made sure of it.

Or at least we think he did.

It’s what he said, anyway.

See, Beak works for Victor.

Well, sometimes he does. Winter months, mostly.

When construction shuts down.

Beak runs a little dope here and there. Making pick-ups and deliveries. All low-key sort of moves. Nothing major.

And one time, a couple of years ago, Beak saw this little bitty safe by Victor’s nightstand.

"It’s a little thing," he said.

"Like, two of us can definitely lift it up."

Beak swore it would be here—he was absolutely sure.

But now, we can’t find it, and well, that seems to be the least of our problems.


“What are we gonna do?” Dink yells.

Now you’re fucking yelling?” I say.

“Shut up, you two,” Dave whispers.

“Give me the gun,” he says.

“Dink, you go out back and wait. Don’t signal Beak, not yet. Just go out back and wait," he says.

"Darc, you follow me.”

Now, I’d follow Dave anywhere. I always have, anyway.

But I got to tell ya, I’m not feeling this.

Not with a gun.

We’ve never messed with guns—not even fucking around.

Hell, we don’t even use guns for hunting, and we do a lot of hunting.

It’s a way of life for the Inuits, we fish, trap, catch, and kill all with our bare hands.

It’s just how it’s done.

But now, Dave’s packin’ heat, and I’m not sure what’s next, but I already don’t like it.

“Listen,” Dave whispers.

“We’re going out the back, circling around to the front, heading out to the road, and Beak’s picking us up,” he says.

“I ain’t trudging across that goddamn field again.”

“I’m with ya there,” I whisper back.

“But the gun, dude…”

“Let me worry about the gun,” he says.

“Let’s make sure whoever is here is inside and settled before we head out front and break for the road, right?”

Beams of light and shadow blast across the floor, up the walls, and across the ceiling as the car pulls up and stops right out front, motor running, just sitting out there, blasting high-beams, lighting up the whole place bright as day.

We lock eyes, Dave and I, and give each other a nod.

Then Bang! Dink comes stumbling through the busted back door.

“It’s him! He’s here!”

Again, with the fucking yelling?” I say.

"No, it’s Beak!” Dink says.

“Beak’s up front! Come on! Let’s go!”

Me, Dave, and Dink break for the back door and around front, and there's skinny-ass Beak–squirming around, neck craned out the window, totally freaking out.

“We gotta go!” Beak shouts.

“Victor’s on his way. Wants me to make a liquor run. We gotta get the fuck outta here!” he says.

Before we can move, another set of headlights comes flashing up the drive.

Dogs barking, Dave with a gun, Dink and Beak freaking out, snow flyin' everywhere …

So, what do we do?

We all just stand there, that’s what we do.


The standing stupid.

Headlights, bouncing up and down, plowing up snow, and barreling straight at us...

It's Victor in his Caddy, half-sideways, slipping, sliding, and skidding across the ice right up behind Beak and blammo!

Both of Beak’s taillights shattered into pieces.

Whitesnake rattles the Caddy windows as Amber, Brandy, Candy, Crystal, Cinnamon, Ginger, and probably a couple of Trixies come tumbling, stumbling, bumbling out the doors.

Neon Girls sign with arrow pointing to the right

"We gotta pee," they sing.

"Where's the little girl’s room?"

They giggle and toddle along in their faux-mink stoles, miniskirts, and thigh-high hooker boots, clip-clop-slip-sliding across the snow and ice, up toward the front door of the house–all lit up from the parking lot we’ve created on Victor’s front lawn.

Gank! Gank! Gank-gank!

The starter grinds as douchebag Victor fumbles to cut the engine.

Tumbling out from behind the wheel, the man of the hour makes his entrance.

Drunk as a skunk, bow tie undone, white tuxedo shirt—half untucked and completely smudged with peach shimmer, deep plum, and lollipop pink lipstick.

With a bottle of champagne in one hand, and a cigarette burning in the other, Victor thrusts both hands to the heavens in celebration.

“Hey, you guys!” Victor slurs.

“So glad you could make our little swa’-swar’-party."

Victor slams back a shot of champagne and chucks the empty bottle over his shoulder.

"Come on inside!" he says, throwing an arm over Dink’s shoulder.

"I got some goodies stashed away and we’re gonna go—ALL night!” he smiles, clenching a soaking wet cigarette between his perfect white teeth.

“Hey, Victor,” Beak pipes up. “I better get going to the liquor store,” he says.

“Maybe give Dink here your keys so I can get my car out?”

“Come on, Victor!” the girls squeal.

“It’s cold. We gotta pee!” they sing again. Dancing up there on the porch, doing their little pee-pee dance.

Victor’s arm slides off Dink’s shoulder. “They’re in the ignition!” he says, stumbling forward.

Dink breaks for the Caddy.

“No keys!” he calls back.

Beak's scrawny neck whips his skinny head back around. “Hey Victor!” he yells. “No keys!”

Victor just laughs. “Too bad,” he says.

We all look at Dave.

“We got no choice,” Dave says. “We’re all the way in now.”

“No turning back,” I say.

...and that just gets Beak going.

“All for one and one for…”

“Oh, shut the fuck up,” we all say.

I was such a simple plan.