By: Jesse Phillips
Jack walked slowly down the alley in the pre-dawn darkness. When he neared the bank’s back door he
looked for the hiding place he had chosen earlier. The small alcove opposite the bank where the trash
dumpsters were placed would conceal him in the dark alley and it was near enough to the bank entrance
for him to accomplish his mission. He slipped in behind the dumpster and sat down with his back against
the concrete wall to wait.
From his concealed position in the alcove, Jack watched the back door of the bank intently. It was a
good location for waiting. The night had been cold, with an early autumn chill still present in the air.
Shuffling his feet quickly to generate some warmth, his eyes swept both ends of the street. The soft
shoes he was wearing to muffle sound did not suit the weather. Early morning sunshine bathed the top
floors of the surrounding buildings in a brilliant glow, leaving the streets below cold and dim.
He wished he had a partner on this job, just someone to drive the getaway car. If anything went wrong,
a quick escape was crucial. However, in the past Jack had always worked alone, and today was no
He had been checking on this bank for over eight weeks, and knew on the eleventh of each month an
armored car delivered a shipment of cash at exactly 6:30 a.m., well before the bank opened. That was
the time he had decided to strike.
Barely visible in the early morning light except for its headlights, the grey armored vehicle turned onto
the back street and crawled slowly to the rear door of the bank. Jack watched keenly as the bank
president appeared on the sidewalk near the van. Hands in his pockets, he talked to the uniformed
guards as they casually unloaded two large bags.
Jack’s heart skipped a beat. That’s my cash, he thought. He pulled a gun out of his coat pocket, flexing
the fingers of his right hand around the grip.
A little past seven, as the armored car pulled away from the curb, the president turned and prepared to
reenter the bank. The moment had come. Jack raced silently from his hiding place and shoved his gun
against the man’s back. He pushed the president roughly into the bank. Forcing him onto the floor,
Jack grabbed the keys to the back door and spun around to lock it. From the corner of his eye, he saw
the bank guard drawing a gun. Instinctively, Jack aimed the 9 millimeter automatic and fired. His first
shot killed the man instantly. The second shot was just to make sure. Taking a life was not new to
Jack, he had killed before and would probably do so again. He was a robber. Banks were his specialty
but anywhere there was money was fair game to him.
He locked the back door and pulled down the shades. Tugging back the corner of one of the shades he
peered furtively into the street. It looked like no one had heard the shots.
The robbery hadn’t gone too well so far. First he had to park the car he had stolen two nights before, a
block away from the bank. Then that damned guard had tried to be a hero.
The two sacks of money left by the armored car drivers lay just inside the open vault. Dragging them
out to the lobby, Jack dropped them near where the bank executive lay spread eagled on his stomach.
At that same moment, the sound of a key in the door startled him. He whirled around as the door
opened and two young women entered busily talking. Seconds later, their faces registering shock and
disbelief, they joined the president on the floor.
Working quickly, Jack unwound a canvas bag from around his waist, and slashing open the sacks, he
rapidly stuffed handfuls of large bills into his bag, as many as it would hold.
He ordered his three captives into a small utility closet at the rear of the bank. The closet had no lock,
so he forced a chair under the doorknob hoping that would keep them prisoners long enough for him to
make his getaway. Using the keys he had taken from one of the women, he unlocked the banks front
door, and with only a few pedestrians in sight, started up the street toward the stolen vehicle. Half a
block from the bank, alarm sirens started screaming, the sound echoing off the nearby buildings. Over
his shoulder he saw people come out of the bank shouting and pointing in his direction. In front, several
policemen stood around his car. They know it’s stolen, he thought frantically.
With the bank behind him, the police in front and the huge bag slung over his shoulder, he felt he had
no choice. He started to run, the sack pounding against his back. Instantly the air was filled with the
sound of police whistles, shouts and pounding feet. Rounding a corner he ducked into a building and
found himself in a large area that appeared to be an art museum where a group of people, clearly
tourists, were slowly moving through another set of doors to a waiting bus. Quickly Jack blended in with
the crowd boarding the bus and sat down next to a middle aged woman, he looked anxiously out of the
window toward the museum, expecting to see police come storming out. He moved down in his seat as
much as possible and waited. It seemed the bus would never start to move. At last the driver slid into
his seat, carefully buckled the seat belt and started the engine. Nothing happened as the bus pulled
away. Jack leaned back into his seat and breathed a sigh of relief.
“I don’t believe I know you” said the woman at his side.”
“Uh uh, I caught the tour late” Jack stammered, trying to think of some excuse for being there. She
immediately started telling him all about the tour, and what he had missed.
“What’s the next stop?” he asked
“Oh it’s just some big building downtown. It doesn’t sound very interesting but that’s the last stop
before we go back to the airport to catch our plane.” She answered.
What luck Jack thought. All I have to do is stay with this crowd til we get to the airport, then I’ll be out
of the city and “home free.” They don’t call me “Lucky Jack Dugan” for nothing!
The bus wound its way slowly through downtown New York. Morning traffic filled all of the lanes with
honking, noisy, frustrated commuters. The noise was almost deafening. Finally the bus pulled to the
curb in front of a huge, tall building.
Carrying his sack, Jack got off the bus and entered the building along with the other tourists. The tour
guide announced that the bus would leave in one hour.
Jack stayed as far away as he could from the bus driver and guide. Shortly after the tour started, he
slipped away unobserved. Making his way to the elevator, he took the express to the 74th floor. Jack
stepped out of the elevator into what appeared to be some sort of lobby. No one seemed to take any
notice of him and he began to feel more at ease. Even at that early hour, the floor was crowded with
people. He stepped on another elevator and when it stopped on the 96th floor he got off. Several
offices looked like they were being renovated and were unoccupied. He slipped into one of them and
shut the door. Sitting down behind the desk, he looked alternately at the sack of cash and the
spectacular view of the city. He smiled, thinking, all I have to do is wait until the bus is ready to leave,
blend in with the crowd again and head for the airport.
Gazing out the window facing west, Jack could see the large airplane coming toward the building.
Smiling, Jack thought I’ll be on one of those soon. There must be at least two hundred thousand in the
bag. With that kind of money I can live like a king in Mexico or South America. Yeah “Lucky Jack
Dugan”, they sure got the name right.
Jack thought of the clear blue of the sky and water on some unnamed tropical island where he would live
out his life in idle luxury. He put out his hand and caressed the bag at his feet. Smiling he thought of all
the times he had slept, cold and lonely on a park bench. He though of the dirty, rat infested tenements
he had called home. No more of that, from now on it’s nothing but the best for “Lucky Jack Dugan” For
the rest of my life I’ll never be cold or hungry again.
Looking again to the West he thought. Hmmm. That airplane is real low; it must be landing near here.
A clock on the wall near the door showed it was eight-forty four a.m.
September 11, 2001. A plaque beneath read, World Trade Center 1 North
Lucky Jack Dugan