“You live a life like I did, you learn about weasels.” Mike was looking at me again. “Now this one, Sugar, he’s a cop. Stand-up cop. You can tell. It’s in the eyes. McKenzie here, he’s got a cop’s eyes. That other one, that kid. His eyes were all wrong. Hear what I’m sayin’, Sugar? All wrong.”
“I hear,” Genevieve said.
“Don’t be sheddin’ no tears over that one.”
“So, you want to know about Jelly?” Mike said.
“Yes,” I said.
“Nah, you don’t. I bet you really want to hear about the job. The last job we pulled together. The South Dakota job.” “Yes,” I said.
“Yeah, that’s what the kid wanted, too. He wanted to know about the gold. Thinks it’s still here, waitin’ to be dug up. Maybe it is. Only he wouldn’t admit it, no sir. Kept talkin’ about that book when everyone knew he was after the gold. A weasel. Well, copper, what about you? You’re lookin’ for the gold, too, ain’tcha?”
“You bet I am, and if you help me find it, I’ll give you ten percent of my share.” I pointed at Genevieve. “You, too.”
“Hear that, Sugar?” Mike said. “Like I said. Stand-up.”
Genevieve smiled slightly.
“Okay, copper. Where should I begin?”
June 7, 1933
Near Huron, South Dakota
Frank Nash spread the map over the hood of the black roadster. In the corner was the seal of Beadle County, South Dakota. Mike smiled at the sight of it. Jelly Nash walkin’ into the surveyor’s office as bold as brass and asking for the county’s road maps to help plan his getaway—wait until he told the boys over to the Green Lantern about that one. Amazing. Then touring the town. Wandering about, checking out the stores and shops around the bank, sizing up the folks behind the counters, buying the things they sold, just as pleasant as could be. “It’s a brand-new day,” he’d tell them, reciting the City of Huron motto.
Nash tapped his forefinger on a crossroads. “We might have to make a decision when we get here,” he said. “What do you think? North or south?”
What, is he asking me? Mike wondered.
Nash turned. Mike was standing a few feet behind him, a slightly frazzled expression on his face. “Kid,” he said, “I’m not doing this for my health. You’ll be driving the car. Now tell me, which way do you want to go, north or south?”
Mike stepped up to the map. “Umm, why not straight east?”
“If you wanted to stop a band of outlaws from hightailing it to Minnesota with a car full of gold bullion, where would you put up a roadblock?”
“Umm.” Mike traced the highway with his finger. “Here?”
“Where is ‘here’?”
Mike tapped the same intersection Nash had earlier. “Just east of this intersection. They’re not going to have enough time to put up a roadblock, though.”
“Didn’t you?” Mike said.
Nash folded his arms and stared at the young man. Mike found himself taking a step backward, a student being admonished by the schoolmaster. He glanced over his shoulder at the Finnegan brothers, Jim and Joe, standing behind him. They were both grinning, holding gats in their hands like they never set them down. He knew they’d be of no help. They were big men and tough, but not particularly bright. Jelly had chosen them for muscle, not brains. It wasn’t that long ago that Nash had hired Mike for the same reason. “Do exactly what you’re told and keep your mouth shut,” he had been warned—but this time Nash demanded that Mike actually think. It was the moment he had been waiting for; a chance to prove that he belonged in the same fraternity as Harvey Bailey, John Dillinger, Verne Miller, Volney Davis, George Kelly, Jimmy Keating, Tommy Holden, and, yes, Frank Nash.
Mike pulled out a second map, this one depicting downtown Huron. There were lines and stars drawn on the map, and Mike used them for effect. “We know exactly where the deputies are gonna be at nine in the morning,” Mike said. “At the café here, at Huron University here, and way down here at Prospect Park. Now, according to the plan, we hit the Farmers and Merchants Bank here, we’re in there for no more than nine minutes, whether we’re finished or not. We drive, turning here, turning here, following the railroad tracks along Market Street to Dakota Avenue, then straight east on Fourteen.” Mike tapped the crossroads. “We should be past here exactly seventeen minutes after we leave the bank. No way can they get a roadblock organized by then. We’ll be across the state line before the county cops even know what happened.”
“What if we’re not?” Nash said. “Accidents happen, don’t they? Mistakes. Bad luck. What if it takes me longer to blow the safe than planned? What if we get a flat? What if one of the Finnegan brothers drops a gold bar on his foot? What if a civilian gets in the way?”
“Anybody gets between us and the door he goes down,” Mike said. He glanced behind him. Both of the Finnegan brothers were nodding…