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By Gabriel Magno


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2002 Gabriel Magno

As long as I can remember, my mother, who lives with me in a small town in Vermont, wanted to open a deli, but it was only a dream, because of the lack of money. There’s an empty storefront available for $1500 a month, but I only make $1350, which just covers expenses and house payments.

There are businesses on either side of the property. A bakery and a furniture store. Inexpensive furniture is put out on the sidewalk for quick sales, and exhaust from the bakery ovens is blown out onto the sidewalk. The combination of these two factors, draws crowds. It’s an ideal spot.

I decided to ask the owner if I could open a small hot dog stand in front of his store, which could draw potential clients to possibly lease it. He agreed and after getting a permit, I was in business. Two months went by and I was making double what I made at my job at Radio Shack. I quit it and finally made a deal with the owner to open the deli. I thought my mother was going to have a heart attack when I brought her the good news.

Daily, I couldn’t help but notice the bank across the street. I conceived an evil idea from a movie I once saw, to dig a tunnel from the deli into the bank’s safe deposit vault. Naturally, this was no easy task. I read some books at the library on case histories of bank break-ins, and discovered that all the thieves obtained floor plans for the banks they robbed.

From the city planning commission, I got not only the plans for the bank, but also for the street’s electrical, gas and sewage lines, which we had to bypass. They were all available to the public. This was not an easy operation and I needed a partner. My brother was the perfect choice. He was laid off and needed money. I bought rails and a small coal car to move the dirt, as well as all the digging and drilling equipment needed.

Months went by as we dug at night when the street was empty. We encountered all sorts of worms, rats, spiders, roaches and horrible fumes. Although oxygen flowed from the store into the tunnel, we still wore firemen’s breathing tanks. Fourteen long months went by until we finally hit the cement floor of the vault. Two days later we broke through. Another five long hours later we finished drilling out all the locks on the safe deposit boxes, and found plenty of cash, jewelry, gold coins, bonds and a few oddities.

When we finally moved out of the bank for the last time, we cemented eight cinder block walls behind us, giving us at least a day or two before they discovered where the tunnel led. The following day, I had my mother on a plane to Argentina. I explained that a terrific business opportunity arose and we had to move very quickly.

After fencing all the jewelry and bonds through some contacts, I wound up with 3.2 million dollars in cash. I paid my brother the $250,000 I promised him, left the deli fully stocked, and moved to Argentina where I purchased a beautiful villa in the beach city of Bahia Blanca.

You may say that what I did was wrong but I took many risks in the tunnel, and I’m taking risks getting caught now. It will be necessary to have plastic surgery and a new identity. My mother was not on the lease, so she is not a suspect. Argentina is beautiful in the winter, with warm breezes blowing the sheer white curtains into the living room. It’s a free wind that blows across the Atlantic, which is now my front yard.

It’s a wonderful life. Why shouldn’t it be? Whoever said crime doesn’t pay was not a criminal. What’s that? Oh okay. (Looking behind and up at the ceiling on stage, as if looking up a staircase in a mansion) Mother, the chef wants to know what you would like with your afternoon champagne today, Belgian smoked salmon or Beluga caviar?


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