Garrison and Walter had been working the same stop for years. As professional lifts and pickpockets, the police knew them well, but the 71st Avenue Station covered more than 32,000 square feet and that left them plenty of room to work. It was more than enough space for two low-key criminal veterans to operate. Strong-arm guys like Big Tony and Angel always got busted. They looked like crooks, stood well over six feet tall and had an arrest record long as the Trans-Atlantic cable. Every cop in the city knew them. Although there were other competitors, few, if any had the class or competence of Garrison and Walter. They were the crème de Le' crème of the criminal class. Sitting at opposite ends of a long bench, they both held newspapers to their faces and pretended to read. Actually, Walter read his paper. It was the Fourth of July and he knew it would be a little while before the station was crowded enough to start work. Garrison used the paper to spot potential victims as he slowly sipped at the paper coffee cup he held in his free hand. If a policeman entered, he and Walter would shift positions to avoid notice. Right now, the station was filling with college kids trying to get downtown early for the annual Fourth of July rock concert. “They aren’t worth the risk,” Garrison thought. Everyone, except Big Tony and Angel, knew that most college kids didn’t have any money. Still, that didn’t stop Garrison from looking. He particularly admired the firm breasts and tight ***** of the young college women. Garrison was a lady’s man in his day. He attracted women like honey drew bees. Those days that didn’t disappeared while he was in prison finally surrendered to the hard street life. Still, he managed to appear the urbane, silver-haired gentleman. Standing just under six feet tall with smooth silver hair and a sharp silver mustache perched over beautifully capped teeth, Garrison didn’t look the part. That was part of the plan. Today, Garrison wore a chocolate suede sports coat with taupe gabardine trousers and expensive Italian loafers. Leaning back casually, he continued to glance at his newspaper and to take notice of the growing crowd. Walter also noticed the growing crowd, but he knew the real action wouldn’t take place for about another half an hour when the business and retired crowd hit the station. He smiled when he noticed the paper’s story warning subway riders to carry only as much money as they needed because professional pickpockets often worked the crowded subways during the holidays. Walter laughed inwardly thinking how the large crowd made it easy to disappear. “There was plenty of easy money available,” he thought, as he watched the crowd start to age as the business and retired set starting filling the station. As he read on, a story above the fold caught his eye. After reading it, he shook his head, stood up slowly, checked his watch and looked through the crowd until he spotted his brother Joe. Joe was Walter’s switchman. After Walter lifted a wallet or purse, he would hand it off to Joe before the victim even knew it was gone. Neither Joe nor Walter had done a day’s time or even been convicted of a felony. They had come close, but the police could never catch them with the goods. Both of them seemed to possess a sixth sense that told them when to go and when to leave it alone. Walter was “everyman.” He was the ultimate average American. If ever kidnapped, his own mother couldn't describe him to the police. He was the average guy. No one noticed him. Everyone noticed what happened next. A statuesque woman with raven hair and dark glasses stepped from the Express. Wearing fitted black Spandex pants and Roller Blades; she had to be about 6’ 7”. Every eye in the place was on her. She rolled smoothly from the train carrying her backpack like a purse and sat at a bench near the center of the station. For a moment time stood still, then everything went back to normal. Garrison had seen her too. She had the look that said money. Probably, old money. The dark glasses she wore probably cost several hundred dollars, but that isn’t what gave her away to Garrison. It was the small and simple watch she wore on her left wrist. Watches like that cost a few thousand dollars and judging from the platinum face, more than likely it cost nine to twelve thousand dollars. Garrison knew class when he saw it. Chances like this didn’t come along often. This could make for a very short and safe day for Garrison and his partner Leo. He took his time standing and quietly signaled Leo who was standing about 30 feet from the train where the woman had exited. Garrison knew he wasn’t the only one who had noticed her. Asides from the men with over active hormones, he knew Walter had seen her along with all the rest of the thieves in the area. Walking casually, he moved toward the sitting woman slowly but with purpose. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of Big Tony who was also heading in the same direction, but Garrison knew Tony would never make it before he got there. When he was within 20 feet of the woman another train roared into the station and the crowd surged forward to catch the train. Suddenly, her head appeared above the crowd. She was getting on the train. “Maybe it wasn’t going to be such an easy snatch after all,” he thought. In that instant he knew that it was probably a waste of time to try to make it all on one big score. Things just didn’t work that way. By now Leo had positioned himself to intercept Garrison if he came his way but he knew that wouldn’t be the case with this time. The big fish was getting away. As the passengers boarded, he kept walking toward her. That’s when he saw it. It was hard to miss a Louis Vitton bag. She had accidentally left it. Garrison made an about face and strolled swiftly towards the bag which he smoothly snared and placed under his left arm making it look like it was his bag. Without breaking stride he moved to the next available seat and sat down nonchalantly as he watched the train pull away. Briefly, his eyes caught sight of the beautiful woman heading back toward the train’s exit doors but it was too crowded and too late. Garrison watched as the train disappeared into the tunnel. Taking the bag with him he approached Leo with the bag, circling back to make sure that no one would noticed. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Walter. Walter was running, not toward him, but toward the exit steps. Just as Garrison was about to catch up with Leo, big Tony and Angel appeared out of nowhere, grabbed the bag. They didn’t take two steps before they fell to the ground when Leo tackled both of them before they could separate. Leo quickly regained his feet, snagged the bag and started running toward Garrison when two loud reports rang out. Leo dropped like a sack of potatoes. The nine millimeter still smoking, Angel raced forward and snatched the bag from Leo’s dying fingers. With the gunshots, pandemonium broke loose as people scrambled toward the exits. Walter was stepping on the bus when he saw the flood of people rush from the station. As he took another step onto the bus, a faint rumble pulsed beneath his foot as flames simultaneously belched from both entrances to the underground station. Bits of glass, human flesh and pieces of concrete flew through the air in a mad cyclone of disaster. The blast rocked the bus and threw Walter to the pavement striking his head against the curb and knocking him unconscious. When he regained consciousness a paramedic was shining a light in his eyes. “What happened,” he asked groggily. “A bomb went off in the station,” a voice said. “Where am I?” he asked. “Don’t try to talk,” the voice said. “You’ve got a mild concussion but it looks like everything else is all right.” He closed his eyes and tried to think. Then it hit him. He remembered why he had been running from the station. He had been reading about the so-called “subway bomber” while he was casing the station. It was all too perfect. No one would remember what she looked like. They wouldn’t even believe if they actually saw her. Not the beautiful lady. He barely remembered running as he saw her leave the bag. He thought he remembered shouting “bomb, bomb, bomb” but no one seemed to hear him. He passed out again. When he awoke again he was in an ambulance. He faded in and out until they reached the hospital. There were people yelling and screaming everywhere. It was a mad house. He was about to drift off again when the face of a beautiful raven-haired woman smiled at him. It seemed like he had seen the face before but he wasn’t sure as slipped into unconsciousness again.