Chapter One FRIDAY A.M. I didn't reform, I lost my nerve. I still think it's sensible to want money and if you want money it has to be sensible to go where they have it and make them give you some. Al Nussbaum Lennon watched people making their way up and down Seventeenth Street as the brisk March air whipped around the buildings. Had he been a smoker, Lennon would have savored the last few puffs before pressing the window button and flipping out the butt. Just one cigarettesomething for the geeks in khaki pants and navy blue windbreakers to pick up with tweezers, drop into a thick Ziploc bag, tag, log, then store in their evidence cases. Maybe someone would get around to analyzing the brand, try to pluck some DNA from the butt. Part of Lennon would live forever, somewhere, tucked away in the case files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But Lennon didn't smoke. He fiddled with the car radio a bit and watched strangers make their way to various duties and diversions. He used to wonder what motivated themwhat made them get up every morning, brush their teeth, shower, eat breakfast, kiss a loved one and possibly a child good-bye. That wasn't for him, and that's probably why Lennon enjoyed these last moments before a big job. It put everything into perspective. You could either be outside, burning shoe leather, reporting to a cubicle, thinking about a report, whatever. Or you could be inside a car, waiting for your accomplices. Then the alarm went off, and everything went to hell. Bang Bang Bang Holden was right up Bling's ass. NO NO no you idiot. Hang back. Hang two steps back. But it was too late. The big glass door behind Holden swung shut before Bling had a chance to push open the door in front of him. The hidden ACUthe gunpowder-sniffing gizmokicked in. Or maybe someone inside tripped it. Didn't matter. Both Bling and Holden were sealed inside the bank vestibule. Even from twenty yards away you could read the expression on Bling's face as his pistol hand smacked against glass: Motherfuck. Trapped, like two gerbils in a Habitrail. Lennon slid the gearshift into drive, checked the rearview and side mirrors, then punched the car forward and to the left, blocking traffic on Seventeenth Street. He turned around. The strong late March sunshine blazed off the bank's white stone so fiercely it hurt the eyes. Lennon still had a choice. He could leave them behind. Holden deserved it. Bling was another story. And this whole job was another story still. Lennon pressed two fingers to his neck, feeling for his carotid artery. He counted quickly. Everything was normal. His pulse hadn't jumped much. Good. Hooking an arm around the seat, Lennon looked back at Bling. He was watching Lennon very carefully. Lennon gave him the universal "move to the left" sign with his hand. Bling grabbed a hunk of Holden's windbreaker and yanked him out of the way. Cars honked and Lennon hammered the gas pedal. He would have given them the finger, but there wasn't time. In the rearview, the bank came rushing forward like the view from a cockpit in a plane barreling into the ground. Lennon made tiny adjustments, keeping his gloved hands light on the wheel. A nudge to the left, a tap to the right. He had to hit the glass just right. He had done enough reading to know that ACUsaccess-control-unitswere designed to be bulletproof from the inside. That way, the bank nabs a crew of stupid Holden-like bad guys, they can't go whipping out their Sig Sauers aSwierczynski, Duane is the author of 'Wheelman ', published 2006 under ISBN 9780312343781 and ISBN 0312343787.