I pulled into my local Starbucks just after dark. Across the street, about 70 yards away, the bank’s alarm was going off. The days of a bell with a striker are long gone; the intermittent audio advisory sounded like something you’d hear in a sci-fi prison movie. A light on the side of the bank flashed like an airport landing beacon. I watched the bank from the coffee counter and then stood with my Joe outside by the parking lot. I know: situational awareness fail. I should have left. But the road system (excellent for quick getaways) would’ve forced me to drive by the bank. Besides, the bear’s been chasing me recently. A remote viewing of an armed robbery might’ve been just the thing to cheer me up . . .
Anyway . . . Nothing. Five minutes went by. Six. Seven. Nada. No bad guys. No cops. Nothing. Oh yeah life goes on, long after the thrill of bank robbing is gone. A customer walked out. Starbucks does its thing. And then Paul Blart came around the corner.
Actually the security cop ambled up to the front of the bank. He’s a short stout fellow (of course). Trailing behind him: one of the bank employees. The cop swung a set of keys in his gun hand (I swear).
The two men looked at the light in wonderment and (eventually) checked the surroundings. They look up and down the street and then went back around the corner down an alleyway (a.k.a. a funnel of death) and headed to the back of the bank.
Ten minutes. No cops. And then it happened: a customer walked IN to the bank, happily surrendering his plastic to the ATM in the brightly lit fishbowl that houses it. It was a truly stunning display of Condition White.
I eventually risked dying in a hail of bullets, drove past the bank to RTB. Twelve minutes after I’d arrived. I have no idea how long the alarm was sounding before I arrived.