I DON’T THINK I CAN DO THIS, Scott thought.
His eyes darted to the clock on the wall. 2:00 p.m.
The 2:30 train to Yonkers had not yet slid into the station, and Scott wondered if it was running late. His eyes went to the clock again.
If the train was late, the whole deal was off, he decided. He would take it as a sign. A bad omen. He drummed his fingers on his knee.
He looked around at the people in the station. A kid slouched over a huge, torn black duffel bag. An old couple with matching white hair. A young girl, her head bent into a book. A middle-aged woman, reading a gardening magazine.
She would be the hostage, he thought. He slid his hand underneath his jacket, and felt for the gun tucked into his waistband.
Leonard had been insistent about the hostage thing, although Scott hadn’t liked the idea. He had never even held a gun before, except for a BB gun Uncle Dave had bought him one long-ago Christmas.
They had hatched the plan one night, as they griped about their jobs – Leonard’s as a train conductor, Scott’s as a warehouse assistant – and wondered how they could make more money. Quick, easy money. Then Leonard’s eyes had lit up, his cigarette nearly falling from his mouth as it dawned.
“We’ll rob the train.”
Scott blinked. “Huh?”
Leonard had convinced him. There was a cache of tickets in the conductor’s cab, over $100,000 worth, kept for those people who hadn’t had time to buy their tickets before boarding. They would hijack the train; steal the tickets. They would sell the tickets to a sleazy dealer Leonard knew – it was already arranged.
“We’ve got to get you a gun,” Leonard had said.
Leonard would divert the train from the southbound tracks onto the westbound tracks, towards the abandoned trainyard. There, the car would be waiting. All Scott had to do was keep everybody quiet while Leonard loaded the tickets into a bag, then into the car.
“Two-thirty to Yonkers, track eight,” the announcer called over the station’s loudspeaker.
Scott sat at the back of the first car, as Leonard had instructed. The middle-aged woman sat across the aisle.
Time passed slowly, the creaky train rumbling innocently along. Out the window, Scott saw the old trainyard approaching. He felt for the gun again. His hands were shaking.
The train started to slow, the brakes screeching to a halt. Scott closed his eyes.
Go! Do it! a voice in his head screamed.
Suddenly, something tightened around his neck. He gasped.
The middle-aged woman yanked him up from his seat, and Scott felt the cold barrel of the pistol in his side.
“Nobody move!” she yelled. “This is a holdup!”