I feel nausea rising as I reach around the fold. I shut my eyes, breathe deep, calm myself. It’s the glasses; they show too much.
Moving your arm into the fourth dimension can overwhelm your senses. The air feels electric like a thousand electric worm-sized eels are wriggling across your skin. Human consciousness is constrained to three dimensions; I could never explain it. It’s the glasses. They help me get glimpses of life in a four-dimensional world.
So here I stand, my eyes closed, my arm moving in an impossible direction, my hand already feeling around in the Sentry 5000. From the fourth dimension, one can see everything in the three-dimension. Nothing is hidden, nothing is secure, not even in a safe.
Damn, where is it?
I open my eyes again experimentally. I feel the bile rising again. Too soon. I close my eyes to block out seeing every vein, every muscle, every nerve within my arm which has wandered out of its home reality. Nothing is closed from the fourth dimension. I see inside the vault, inside my arm. In a shimmery silver border around my arm, I can see every act in my arm’s past, in its future. It’s all very mind-expanding.
Please be here, please.
I found the stacks of cash and the two velvet bags of diamonds right away, but I’m looking for something else. Something I pray Bobby has in his safe. With no movement in this dimension, I drop my hand to another shelf within and sweep across the cold metal, seeking.
Come on, Bobby. A greasy lowlife like you must keep one in here.
The glasses help, but I can’t keep my eyes open for more than a few seconds; I feel my brain swelling with the mind-expanding sensations.
If I had played things differently early with Charlie, he would want to keep me on as his safe guy. But the relationship has soured. Once I remove the cash out of Bobby’s vault, Charlie’s goon, the guerilla in a suit – Vinny, will pull his snub-nosed 38-special and end me. I put my chances at about one in ten that this will work.
It’s the obvious solution. Bobby would want blood. He would find mine in his hideaway, spilled all over the front of his safe. They would, of course, place my dead fingers on the knob and spread a few rumors about the new rogue cracker in town.
That’s a laugh. I couldn’t crack a padlock, let alone the beautiful 72 cylinder vault in front of me. No, my ability to reach into the fourth dimension made this job possible.
Charlie pauses his game, looks up from his phone, “Hey, tick-tock. Let’s get a move on already.”
Vinny steps forward – I assume to deliver another motivating kidney punch.
“No!” I shout at him with an audacious authority I don’t feel. “Not while my arm is in the fold.”
I grimace to sell the idea that this is tricky, painful work.
It isn’t tricky. Once my hand is in the fold, the glasses on, I can move my whole arm into the vault.
The air feels electric there, the light looks gray, but that might be some limitation in the glasses. I found them during my third exploration of the fold.
I drop the lighter. What if the smoke gets out of the vault. The lighter is 3D, so is the stack of Bobby’s soon-to-be Charlie’s cash, but if smoke started pouring out from where the light gets crinkly just below my elbow, the gig would be up. Plus, if my thought pans out, I am going to need that money.
Burning the cash was a stupid idea; one last defiant fuck you to Charlie before Vinny paints the vault with my brains.
“Come on already,” Vinny says again. My kidneys still ache. I’ll probably piss blood for days.
Earlier, Charlie had made Vinny try on the glasses, and the big guy handled about as well as I did on my first wearing them. He fell to his knees and threw up. I almost felt sorry for him. I shiver at the idea of him wearing the glasses now, seeing my hand sweeping back and forth across the shelves.
“Relax, cracker,” Vinny says to me.
He wants me to think I’ll get out of this alive. Color me skeptical, but I have doubts.
“This might be the start of a good thing.”
Found it! God bless you, Bobby.
It’s cold and heavy. Way heavier than I would have imagined, but I’ve never lifted one around the fold before.
When I pull the 45 from within the vault, Charlie is looking at his phone, still crushing the candy. He hears the heavy sigh from Vinny, knows things have gone south.
Vinny doesn’t even go for his 38. He’s too big to be fast, and my aim is true. Two in the chest, one in the head; he’s dead before he hits the floor. I hear Charlie’s phone hit the cold concrete floor. The hyper annoying, shrill game music, still playing.
“This is for Ian,” I say.
The hole appears right between the eyes; he doesn’t even fall right away. When his body hits the concrete, I step forward and put the remaining seven bullets into his head.
I wipe my prints from it, then drop the gun.
I put my arm back into the fold, pull the cash and diamonds out. I’m officially on the lamb now.