Banker's Hours

by Peg Keeley

Part 2

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Mike and Justin pushed Danny and Duke quickly beyond the front lobby of the bank into the darkened hallway as the Five-0 officers blinked to try to adjust their eyes to the dim light. Before they could adapt, Mike grabbed Duke, Sam seized Danny, and they were shoved roughly against the brick wall where they were quickly searched.

"Clean," Mike reported.

"Good." Justin nodded, tapping the .32 against his leg.

Danny turned to face him. "Okay we're here. Now what?"

Justin gestured graciously towards the back vault room. "Come and be introduced to our little group."

They started in the direction he indicated.

"That one," Justin said, pointing at Danny.

Sam and Mike grabbed him, one on either side and he started to struggle. Duke, not missing the opportunity, leapt towards Justin who dodged his tackle, kneeing Duke just as Sam secured Danny by twisting the officer's arm behind his back.

Justin paused, glaring at Duke. "Well, perhaps I chose badly."

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Outside, the FBI van lumbered into the lot. "Get the phone lines connected!" Scates shouted, trying to hurry the activity.

There was a gunshot from inside.

Both Steve and Mark turned towards the bank in anger.

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Duke gasped in pain, his knees buckled, hand reaching around behind him where he'd been shot in the back. He collapsed onto his side on the floor.

Justin smiled placidly. "This is a much better choice since you insisted in being unruly." He placed a foot against Duke's shoulder and shoved him off his side onto his back. Like a teacher lecturing students Justin continued. "You are only now beginning to realize two things. First, you are powerless to move. Second, your wound is not as painful as you first thought."

Duke stared at him, knowing both of these to be true.

"You have a .32 bullet lodged in your spinal cord at the fifth thoracic vertebra. You are effectively paralyzed from the neck down," said Justin matter-o-factly. He glanced back and Danny. "No more funny business, all right? Get hold of your buddy here and bring him back there." He gestured towards the doorway to the vault where the bodies of Greg and Smith were lined up.

Danny bent down close to Duke. "Duke?"

"Danny," he murmured, "I really can't move."

Danny noted the fear in Duke's eyes. Knowing Duke was not easily intimidated, he sought for words to say, but could find none. "Hang in there, okay? I've got to move you." He took hold of Duke under the arms.

He nodded. As he was moved, pain like a knife shot through his back and he bit off a cry of agony. He ordered his legs and arms to move, but nothing happened. A fear greater than the pain enveloped Duke as he wondered if Justin was correct.

"Okay, cop, get away from him," Justin ordered Danny.

Danny rose, and turned to glare at Kirkwood. "What's next, Kirkwood? You've proven you can shoot an unarmed man in the back. Quite an accomplishment. Are we here to help negotiate or just be in a turkey shoot?"

Justin's cold blue eyes stared back with the same intensity as Danny glared at him. "You want to know the truth? That was meant for you. Your friend there just happened to mess it up. What happens to him should have happened to you. Remember that the rest of your life -- which is likely to be very short."

"Cut the crap," Danny snapped.

Kirkwood burst into a smile that then melted into a sneer. "Give me your handcuffs. You do carry handcuffs I suppose?"

Without taking his gaze off Kirkwood, Danny reached behind his back and pulled them out.

"Cuff your right wrist."

He did so.

Sam checked it and tightened the cuff two notches. "Back up." Sam pushed Danny back to the steel bars that separated the safety deposit boxes and money vault from the rest of the room. Sam fastened the other cuff around a bar.

Justin dismissed Danny and turned his attention to Nancy Weathers. "Is there a phone in here?"

She nodded. "There." It was hung on the wall above where Duke lay. "You won't hear it ring, but the light blinks when there's a call."

"Perfect." Justin pulled out a total of four guns and examined each one. One was a .38 snub-nose; one the .32 he'd shot Duke with; a large .357 magnum; and a Smith & Wesson .45. He finally selected the .45 and handed it to Sam. "Watch the phone. When it rings, call me."

Sam' expression was one of mild confusion.

"Don't worry," Kirkwood assured him, "they'll call." He glanced at his watch. "Pretty soon, too." He turned around to Nancy. "Where is the log book to the deposit boxes?"

She scowled and hesitated.

"Don't you understand yet?" he hissed intently and pointed towards the body of Greg. "That man is dead because you didn't answer me last time."

Nancy fired a glare at Danny. "You're the cop, do something."

"Give him what he wants," he answered flatly.

"Hell of a cop you are." She stormed to the counter that stood in the center of the small 10 by 10 barred room of safety deposit boxes. She unlocked a drawer and pulled out a larger ledger book that she flopped loudly onto the counter. "Choke on it," she growled.

Justin eagerly flipped it open and looked through the ledger entries. "This is just names. Where's the contents?"

"That's all there is." She gloated. "That's the customer's business. We don't keep a record of that."

He pursed his lips in anger. "You think this is a silly game?!" he stamped back through the barred doorway and spotted Vince who brought his hands up in horror. "How 'bout that, fellah? Your boss lady here doesn't think much of your life. Pity, huh?"

"I gave you what you wanted," Nancy stated angrily. "I can't help what was in it."

He looked back at her and gave a chuckle.

Vince breathed slowly, and ran a hand through his thinning hair.

Mike stepped closer to him. "Hey, Doc, let's just cut and run. We got a bunch of cash here. It'll take a long time to go through those boxes. Cops will be here any second."

Justin patted his arm. "Cops don't matter, Mike. They won't come in with hostages here. The Feds know better. You go check out that storm drain like we talked about. Let me worry about the cops and time."

Mike left the small vault area and Justin grabbed Nancy by the arm. "You're with me, Honey. Let's start opening those drawers."

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Steve and Lawson pumped the three rescued hostages for everything they could recall. One of them, Al, had drawn a hasty sketch of the bank interior and pointed out where Justin and his men had taken the rest of the hostages.

"He's some kind of maniac," Al commented. "They killed the security guard in cold blood; poor Smith never knew what hit him. And Greg Dudley -- Weathers hesitated to identify herself was all and they killed him."

Lawson crossed his arms, unhappy about the events. He remembered the mode-of-operation he'd reviewed on Kirkwood and what the bank teller was saying meant things were very ominous. On two robberies including the one he went to San Quentin for, he killed everyone in the place, even his two partners before they trapped him.

McGarrett turned the bank personnel loose and the FBI and Five-0 teams drew together in the back of the large, square van. "Well, gentlemen?"

"I've called for floor plans of the bank," Kono offered.

Scates handed out Styrofoam cups of bitter coffee that had been donated by the Burger King up the street. Gary glanced back into the paper sack hoping for some fries, but was disappointed.

Lawson took a sip of the hot coffee then set it aside. "I wish I had better news. Kirkwood has had two previous bank robberies that went like this one."

"I thought you said he likes to get in and out fast," Gary commented.

"He may be after something more than money," Lawson answered. "Safety deposit boxes."

"Unless he knew what he was after, they would take a lot of time," McGarrett said, shaking his head in disagreement. "It's suicide."

"Not for Kirkwood. Chances are he already has his way out planned. One job in Pasadena, California, he held up a branch office bank -- kind of like this one. Limited security. There, like here, he killed the security guard and killed a patron there to intimidate the bank president. Systematically shot the hell out of everyone."

"He shot everyone?" McGarrett repeated.

"Not right away. He will use the people he has in there like cards in a poker game. He'll play them one by one. He's got -- what? -- five people in there, right?"

Scates nodded.

"He's already killed two, so he won't probably kill anyone for awhile. But that won't stop him from using his victims to put pressure on the vice president, Weathers."

"How so?" Kono asked, leaning out the back door to pour the coffee onto the ground.

"His first tactic is to use his shootings to apply pressure to them in there -- and to us. His second tactic is guilt. He really pours on how the upper management is responsible for injury or death of employees. The loan officer says that the senior officer in there is a thirty-two year old woman who's as hard as steel. For everyone's sake, I sure hope he's right."

"That shot before--" Steve murmured.

He nodded. "With two dead bodies in there, he probably winged somebody in attempt to bring the others -- most likely your cops -- in line and assert who's in control."

Steve was silent. There was little doubt who was in control right now and he wasn't in the least pleased. "So how have they taken him, Lawson? I doubt he just surrenders and walks out."

Lawson sighed and took a deep breath. "First bank robbery he was just nineteen and he did just that --walked out and gave up. That never happened again. Got clean away twice, a fatality in one of those. They caught him in the Pasadena job after he'd already escaped the bank. Freak accident: he fell into a manhole. There he killed three bank employees, one patron, and the police officer he'd tricked into coming inside."

"God," Steve murmured, feeling tension mounting as he considered five lives inside that bank, not the least of which were Duke and Danny. Duke's just become a grandfather. Danny is a single parent. Why them? This was supposed to be a simple awareness call. They were told to stay outside. "What are our options?"

"Wait on the blueprints. Maybe we can figure out his exit route. The bank is too small to hide in and we're not damned likely to let him walk out."

Steve had a moment of satisfaction. I remember why I like Lawson. I couldn't have said that better myself.

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Kirkwood gave a small whoop of joy upon discovering a small cache of diamond jewelry in a deposit box. Most had turned up things of little value: pictures, baby shoes, heirlooms, and birth certificates. He was growing agitated as his frustration increased. It was not difficult to ascertain that he was looking for something specific -- and, so far not finding it.

"Hey!" Sam called to him from where he stood in the outer area guarding the hostages. "The phone's ringing!"

Kirkwood came out of the vault and looked at the little blinking light on top of the phone. He accepted the .45 from Sam. "You guys ready?" he asked his men and they nodded. "Let's get to it, then."

Duke lay on the floor at Kirkwood's feet, begging his arms and legs to do something -- anything. In spite of his rage, he was also terrified of his complete helplessness. During his first few moments of paralysis, he'd thought he was suffocating, until he realized that he could feel the air brushing through his nostrils. He'd never realized that a person could feel breathing and how frightening it was not to sense the lungs at work. I have to do something. What can I do? Sadly, he knew the answer -- nothing.

Kirkwood looked down at him and gave a smile.

"You'll never get out of here," Duke remarked.

He chuckled. "Still talking, huh? I can change that for you if you'd like." He bent over and found Duke's wallet and pulled out his ID. "Duke Lukela," he read. "Five-0, huh? Sorry, I thought you were FBI. No matter, I'm sure you've got friends out there worrying about you anyway." He glanced towards Danny, then commented to Duke, "You know, it wasn't supposed to be you -- this is his fault."

"Go to hell," Duke managed to utter.

Kirkwood laughed. "Original." He turned his attention back to the blinking light and picked up the receiver. "Good morning, Bank of Hawaii," he said pleasantly.

"Um----" came the stunned officer's response on the other end.

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An uniformed patrolman burst into the FBI van. "Lawson! Lawson! He's asking for you!"

Mark spun towards the man. "What? Who?"

"Kirkwood. He's on the negotiator's phone."

Lawson blew into a rage. "Who authorized calling him?!" he demanded, jumping out of the van at a dead run, Steve at his heels.

The officer led the way towards the squad car where the negotiator sat, explaining as he ran. "Protocol. He initiated steps --"

"This is an FBI matter! You idiots have just killed somebody!"

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"Who is this?" Justin demanded into the phone.

"This is Detective Tim Patterson, Honolulu Police," the man replied.

"Who? I don't want you. You think this is a stinking game?" Kirkwood shouted into the receiver. "Where's Lawson!"

"Who?" it was Patterson's turn to ask.

"Mark Lawson, your FBI man!" Justin demanded.

Patterson tried to recoup. "Release your hostages and come out."

Kirkwood laughed. "Sure." He laughed again. "Just like that. I'm going to need a wee bit of reassurance, don't you think?"

"What are your demands?" Patterson asked, just as Lawson and Steve arrived.

"Christ," Lawson muttered.

"Where's Lawson?" Kirkwood demanded again.

"He's right here listening," Patterson replied, just as Lawson yanked the phone from his hand.

"Well, tell him to listen to this." Kirkwood pointed the .45 at Duke.

Duke gasped in shock.

Kirkwood fired, the impact causing Duke's body to jump off the floor as the bullet hit his upper right chest. The shot echoed through the small vault. Duke now lay unconscious as the blood began to seep out onto his shirt. Calmly, Justin spoke into the phone. Lawson, you there now?"

Mark slowly leaned over, resting his head against the door jam of the car in sorrow, phone to his ear. "I'm here," he said hollowly.

"Good. Have you told the good folks out there how I do business?" He did not wait for a response. "I've just started the clock running. I've got a cop named Duke Lukela in here with two slugs in him. I just opened his chest. He'll be dead in about two hours give or take a little. So, if you want to see him alive, get me an armored car, gassed up, and plane tickets for four to Argentina." He hung up.

Lawson threw the receiver at Patterson and waved an angry finger. "No more, got that!" He shouted. "It all goes through me! Me or McGarrett!" He slumped back against the car. "Dammit, Steve."

McGarrett looked wistfully towards the bank and glanced at his watch: 10:15.

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Kirkwood turned away from the phone without so much as a glance at the bleeding man at his feet. Spotting Nancy in the doorway, he gave a shrug. "Back to work, honey, we have a plane to catch."

She set her jaw in determination, not glancing once at anyone in the room. If I show sensitivity to any of them, that person will be this animal's next target. Keep your cool, Nancy, keep like it's always been -- just business. But she knew that with two employees dead, and Duke slowing dying right in front of them, this was anything but business. She jammed the master key roughly into the lock on the front of the next deposit box.

Kirkwood observed her smoldering fury. "You've spent your whole career getting to this position, haven't you?"

She glared. "Is this what you want?" She tossed the bearer bonds onto the counter.

He picked them up and dropped them into his collection in a cloth duffel. "You think your boss is gonna have your job?"

She did not answer, but opened the next box. In a moment of inspiration, she wondered if she could somehow break the master key off in a lock. That would end his little game and maybe they'd just escape however they've planned it. One of his guys already wants to get out of here.

"I'll bet you've always thought of your job before your employees, haven't you?" he continued to probe. "They weren't real people, were they? The dead guy -- did he have a family? Wife? Kids?"

She tried to shut out his questions, but they bore into her mind. She remembered Greg bragging on his daughter's violin recital just last week. She was a cute little girl with blonde curls.

"You know," he whispered, "I have a family, too? Can you imagine that?"

She turned to face the man whose features on any other occasion would have been stunning, but now seemed ugly. She looked back to the deposit boxes and opened another.

He gave a chuckle. "You know that cop has a family, too. I saw the photo in his wallet. Wife and four kids. Baby pictures in there, too. Think he's a grandpappy? Guess he's having a bad day, huh?"

Unable to control her rage, she snapped, "I've got to do what you say, do I have to listen to your chatter, too?"

In a surge of action, he gripped her face in one hand, squeezing her cheeks towards each other. "You do what I tell you -- no matter what." He planted a forced kiss on her lips.

On pulse of the moment, she spit into his face.

Kirkwood nearly turned purple with rage. "You dirty bitch!" He yanked her by the hair, half dragging her out to the others. No one breathed. "SAM!" he screamed. "Put that silencer on the .22!"

  Nancy's heart thundered in fear. Oh God, how stupid! How could I have let him get me to do that! He's gonna kill someone! This one really is my fault! "Look, I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" she pleaded, still battling him. "Let me go!"

"For damn sure you're gonna be sorry, lady!" Justin answered. He released her to Mike who grabbed her, pinning her arms back. She continued to struggle. Kirkwood came close to her ear and whispered, "This one's all for you. You want to pick who it is?"

She stared at him.

A smile crossed his features for a moment. Justin turned towards the group, raised the pistol and again singled out Vince.

"God, no!" he begged.

There was a muffled shot followed by Vince's cry of pain. He staggered, gripping his left knee. Kirkwood fired again, hitting the other knee and Vince collapsed to the floor where he lay doubled over moaning in pain.

Kirkwood narrowed his eyes towards Nancy. "You did that. Don't forget it."

"You bastard," she muttered.

He smiled again. "You think so?" He chuckled. "Naw, he--" He swung around and leveled the .22 in Danny's face. "--thinks I'm a bastard." He grinned. "She--" He reaimed on Kiko. "--thinks I'm cute."

Kiko, relatively unnoticed in this whole affair until now, gasped in fear and terror.

"Admit it, sweetheart," he said soothingly. "When I came to your window you thought I was the hottest thing in pants, didn't you?"

She looked at the floor, cheeks crimson.

"You--" He pointed the weapon back at Nancy and spoke in a soft tone. "--think I'm a bastard, but a cute bastard. And that one--" He aimed at Vince, writhing on the floor. He fired and Vince went limp, dead, a bullet hole between his eyes. Kirkwood shrugged. "--I guess he doesn't think anything anymore."

Nancy stood still, stunned. Her eyes met Danny's. Why the hell don't you do something, cop?

He could easily read her thought. What in blazes does she think I'm supposed to do? He tugged for the thousandth time at the cuffs that chained him to the bar.

Kirkwood grabbed Nancy's arm. "Back to work with me, Love, and no more heroics. I haven't got too many hostages to waste."

Mike and Sam exchanged glances, then a shrug, and between them, picked up Vince's body and hauled it outside, dropping him like the garbage on top of the other two bodies.

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Gary had been watching the crowd for some time, partially because he knew clues might lie with someone out there, partially because he needed to be doing something. Most of the bystanders seemed to be doing that -- standing by. Some were family members of the hostages; easily identifiable by their tears, and stunned expresses. Others were from different media sources, also easy to recognize by their eager faces. What are they hoping for? The goriest news story of the year? Are they disappointed when the police keep some idiot from killing people? His interest kept focusing back on one man who seemed to stand apart from others, chain puffing cigarettes nervously. What's he nervous about? Family member? How about something he's keeping in the bank? He sure isn't dressed like a man with lots to lose. Gary moved closer to him.

Ten minutes later, Gary was escorting the same man up the steps into the FBI van. "You gotta hear this guy," Gary announced without ceremony.

McGarrett turned a bit wearily towards the man, noting the frightened look. This guy doesn't trust authority, why? "What am I supposed to hear?"

"Tell him," Gary said flatly.

"I--I'm concerned about my investment in the bank," he murmured.

"Investment?" Steve also deduced the man's attire not to be consistent with wealth.

He sighed nervously. "You FBI?" he asked of Steve.

"No, I am," replied Mark. "You want me?"

His fear seemed to increase. "Um, look I want you guys to get those crooks, but I don't want no trouble."

"Trouble with whom?" Steve asked.

"Um--I've got something special in a box in there," he explained.

"Drugs?" Steve guessed.

"No!" He gasped. "Nothing like that. Gold."

"Gold?" Steve asked.

"Yeah, um, a bar of gold."

"You have a bar of gold?" Steve repeated.

"Yeah, I'm, um, holding it for a friend."

Lawson and Steve exchanged looks. "Tell us about it," Lawson ordered.

"Me an' a friend were part of a dive group off the coast of Sanibal Island, Florida. We found this wreck and, um, well, we just sort of kept a bar of gold. Just one," he hastened to add.

"And it is in this bank?" Lawson clarified.

"Yeah," the man muttered.

"Let me guess, your friend is in prison," Steve added.

"Well." The man ran a hand around his collar. "Salvage divers ain't always the neatest bunch, if you take my meaning. He got locked up for six years for killing a guy in a bar fight. He didn't mean to."

Steve shook his head. "Now we know why Kirkwood is here."

"Doesnít matter much now," Lawson commented and crossed his arms authoritatively, looking at the sweating man. "It is against the law to hoard gold in the United States except as jewelry. Did you know that?"

"I didnít mean nothing by it. It wasn't hurting nobody." The man's voice rose by a full octave. "And I'm trying to help your guys in there."

"Gary, book him," Steve muttered.

"What charge?" Gary asked.

Steve blinked. "Ask the IRS later." He sighed and gazed at the floor plan again. "We know why."

"Yeah, and halting a 28 pound bar of gold will slow Kirkwood down a little, too," Lawson pointed out.

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Kiko began to weep quietly, shivering, arms wrapped tightly around her body. She moved a little closer to Danny. "I am so scared," she confessed.

Danny wished he could say something to console her. "It's all right to be scared," he offered. "I can't think of a better time." He again tugged gently at the handcuff that secured him to the bar.

"Vince was a nice man," she whimpered. "A nice man. He didn't deserve that. Why are they doing this? Why us?"

Danny decided not to waste time giving an answer that did not exist. Sam and Mike were standing in the doorway peering out at the circus of media and police in the parking lot. "Kiko, you and Nancy are the only two who can help us. They don't think you can do anything to them so they didn't worry about tying you up."

"I can't do anything," she replied.

"You must."

"What?"

"I don't know," he admitted, "but be looking for an opportunity to get away. Just make it to the front door and there will be people right outside who see you make it to safety."

"But you and Nancy?"

"They need Nancy alive. And me--don't worry about me. If you see a chance, you take it, hear me?"

She nodded, her tears subsided some. It wasn't a plan, but she still felt a little less helpless knowing she would be waiting for the chance.

Mike and Sam were turning back towards the room.

"Would you check on Duke?" Danny asked of Kiko.

She nodded. Sam and Mike said nothing as she crossed the room in front of them and crouched down next to Duke. It was plain to see he was bleeding badly. Blood had soaked his shirt and continued to ooze from the wound in his right upper chest. She gingerly pulled the fabric away from the spot. She pulled the scarf off her blouse and pressed it against the wound.

He opened his eyes slowly. "Hi, there," he whispered weakly.

She managed a quick grin. "How are you feeling?"

"I've been better," he whispered back. "But it doesn't hurt." In reality that was the most frightening part. Nothing hurt. Nothing felt at all. He could sense he had to cough, but couldn't control the muscles to make it happen. As he looked at the young, terrified face of Kiko, he wanted to try to make it easier for her. "I'll be all right."

She wiped away a tear. "Kirkwood says you'll die if they don't do something to get out of here."

End Part 2

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