Survivor XV, Challenge 14: The Mole

Write a story about a group of characters working towards the same goal, while one of them, obviously, is not on the same page. Word Limit: 1500

Part 1: Gary

I can’t believe I agreed to rob a bank, especially just seven months out of prison. But Ron assured me that as long as I stick to the plan and don’t do anything stupid I’ll be okay. Rewarded even. We’ll see. At least my part is easy. They didn’t even give me bullets. I just stand in the corner and hold a gun at my waist, looking serious. I was told I could yell at people to get down if they moved, but thankfully that hasn’t been necessary, what with no customers around. The few bankers that were lucky enough to be here at this hour are being smartly compliant. And rather calm. Almost as if they were expecting us.

Part 2: Reginald

The money has been nice, of course, though there’s easier ways to swindle money. It’s the thrill of planning a heist and the adrenaline rush of pulling it off that can’t be beat. Thanks to my size, and my ability to properly enunciate demands, I’ve always been the lead guy. Today is no exception despite our special mission. And I nailed it. Despite their palpable fear, the bankers (six, as we expected) are not panicking, following my orders swiftly and accurately. Four are on the ground, hands on their heads, being guarded by Gary. One is emptying cash from the tills. And the manager, Aaron Conley, is heading towards the vault with Ron. Everything’s perfect.

Part 3: Justine

Guarding the doors is the hardest part. The last thing you need is an oblivious customer walking inside and fucking things up. So far, so good today. Ron’s already in the vault so this should be over soon. Gary and Reggie assume Ron is the brains behind the operation, and that’s fine. It’s better that way. They’d be useless if they thought I was in charge; it’s hard to follow orders when you’re gawking at breasts. If I told Reg to steal a piggy bank he’d probably come back with a live sow. At least Gary is sweet. Hell, if I wasn’t worried about Ron losing his shit I’d probably entertain Gary’s crush. Ron thinks he’s in love with me, but he really just needs me to fuck him so he can relax before a heist. If there were no banks, there’d be no us. And tonight will be our last bank.

Part 4: Ron

Aaron’s a weasel, but he’s harmless. When I called him a month ago to make him an offer, he agreed almost too readily. But it made sense. Failed marriage, no children, large gambling debt. He was the perfect target and I gave him the opportunity. He assured me the bills wouldn’t be marked and we’d split the profits five ways. I agreed, knowing full well I had no intention of giving him anything. I think he suspected that too, but it was a pretty safe bet for him. If I come through, he’s rich and gets to run away from his shit life. If I don’t come through, the authorities are none the wiser. Either way, starting tonight my life’s coming up roses, especially after I ask Justine to marry me.

Part 5: Aaron

I know there’s a next to zero chance that Ron is going to come through for me if I just empty the vault and wave goodbye. And I can’t take that chance. He’s a dangerous man, but it’s worth it if I don’t have to spend one more night with that bitch. Needless to say he’s surprised when I tell him to take me hostage. He protests, but I inform him that if he doesn’t take me, the dye packs I forgot to warn him about are going to explode before they get halfway down the street. It’s a bluff, but Ron folds like a dead accordion. Less than twenty minutes after they walked in, we’re out the door and in the armored truck with nineteen million dollars. Destination: Mexico.

Part 6: The Driver

Outfitting the truck with hidden audio surveillance was working out splendidly. For starters it was entertaining. Reginald wouldn’t stop bragging about how he pulled off the heist of the century. Gary was whining about his unloaded gun. And Justine had the dirtiest mouth this side of the Rio Grande. Ron was quiet, but that was okay. Not twenty miles out of San Antonio, Aaron began to talk. And boy did he sing.

I pulled into the first empty lot I could find and pulled out the Glock 22. Whistling, I unlatched the back door and lifted it to see one seriously surprised motherfucker.

“Mr. Aaron Conley. Threatening to take all the money for yourself was not a good idea. You are under arrest for burglary, terroristic threats, and probably a whole bunch of other things.”

I’ll never forget the look on his face. Eight years it took me to nail the son of a bitch. I waved his accomplices–or rather, mine–out of the van.

“Ron, Justine, Reginald, Gary. The United States Government would like to extend its sincere thanks for your cooperation.”

K: This is a really smart payoff – which one is the cop? Oh…almost all of them. It seems like a lot of work and danger to nab one man, though. It’s also a little intellectually dishonest. Gary’s segment up top says “Almost as if they were expecting us.” Gary KNOWS they were expecting it, of course. The biggest issue is that this was told in the first person and every character narrated in the same way. Same vocabulary, same occasional use of sentence fragments and sentences starting with “and,” same essential attitude. The narration occasionally alluded to characters having greater depth, but we never saw that from each speaker. If that single thing was attacked hard by the writer, this would be excellent.

DK: Here too, I like the idea to show this from each character’s perspective, although in this case I’m not sure each one got enough space or detail to really distinguish themselves as characters from each other, other than perhaps Justine.

MG: I think this was one of those storytelling experiments that had about a 50/50 shot at succeeding. Making it so deliberately episodic kind of telegraphs exactly when and where we can expect the mole to reveal himself. The twisty ending didn’t really inspire me to go back and reflect on what the earlier sections had said through some new kind of prism, because the twist itself wasn’t that brazen and wasn’t that devastating to anyone, really. As it was, the six parts read like stage directions in a sense. Just a means to get from here to there, and then the story was done.

No arguments from me on the judge’s comments. I wanted to add more depth; just ran out of time after it took me almost a week to come up with an idea. Our team didn’t have much for ideas either, as we got creamed, losing our second player. On top of that, we’ve merged, so there are no more teams. Twelve players left, every man for himself. I’ve had four consecutive weak stories, and now I can’t afford to do that anymore.

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