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It was a cold December night and an ominous silence was singing in the air. The two men were standing in an 8 feet deep pit, digging. One had a pickaxe and the other, a shovel.
Sometime later when the shovel struck the ground it made contact with a metal and produced a sharp sound, which echoed in the silent night. It was the sweetest sound they had ever heard, and both of them rejoiced like little kids.
“What do we do?” asked one.
“We take it and run of course,” replied the other.
“Not so soon, boys,” said a third voice.
The two men felt a pang in their heads. They dropped their tools, turned and looked up. A middle aged whiskered fellow in his khaki uniform was standing above them, smiling sarcastically.
“Not again,” one of the diggers muttered under his breath.
“How the hell did you know?” asked another, skimming the sweat off his face.
“Well, boys, let’s just say that robbing the robbers is all in a day’s work for me,” said the khaki clad sinister-looking man, grinning nefariously.
Shambhunath had dedicated his entire life to rob banks, people and houses. He had started off as a petty thief, and very soon grew to become one of the biggest and the most evasive robbers of the country. He was never caught. Now lying on his death bed, he called his five sons. They were robbers too.
Over the years he had amassed a lot of wealth, and now the time had come for him to make a decision. The sons were told a long time ago that only one of the five would get the entire property; the one that was better than the remaining four.
Every one of them had tried his level best to prove his mettle in the business of robbing. Everyone fared well, which only made it difficult for Shambhunath to decide on one.
Now, standing around the cot, the five sons were quite queasy.
The old man then did the unthinkable. Instead of naming the sole owner of the property, he gave each of them a slip of paper on which a message was written. A minute later, he took his last breath.
The message simply said:
I know I’m going to die. Take care of my lucky cat.
Upon reading it, everyone, except the youngest, tore it and threw it away, for it didn’t make any sense to them, and thought that their father had gone crazy during his last days. One of them even vented out his anger: “His lucky cat died 5 years ago, and he wants us to take care of it now? And who the hell is Bob, anyway? Damn the old man.”
They couldn’t understand one bit of the message. None of them got the property, for they simply didn’t know where and what it was.
In spite of not knowing what the message said, the youngest son kept it. He was the only one who loved and respected his father very much.
Had Shambhunath made any family planning with his wife 26 years ago and decided not to conceive their 5th child, this story would have had no purpose at all. But now there is one. Ten years from now, the youngest son would be recruiting two young bright boys, and one of them would unfold the mystery of the last message given by the old man.
Most of them were sweating. It’s not that the AC wasn’t working, but the heat of tension had subjugated its cooling effect. None of them were in such a predicament before, for such a thing had never happened until then. They looked scared and helpless, but they didn’t look hopeful. They were almost convinced that the help wasn’t coming. The only two people that neither looked scared nor helpless were Jackie and Browny, because for them, hope lay in what was happening.
The job had to be done flawlessly. If anything went slightly wrong, they would end up in a big trouble and they very well knew it. They were inside the Bank of Bangalore – one of the most prestigious banks.
Everyone in the Bank was held at gun point, except for Jackie and Browny, because they were the ones who held the guns.
15 minutes later, having executed their job perfectly, they were out of the bank. But what surprised the manager of the bank was that they were interested in only one locker, which had a small package. Apart from that they hadn’t taken a single rupee.
Nevertheless, robbing, be it a bank, a person, or a house, was as easy as eating an apple, because for them, robbing was all in a day’s work.
“Look, we don’t have anything to give you this time,” Jackie tried to explain.
“Oh, really? So what are you two doing in this graveyard in the middle of the night?” Inspector Singa demanded.
An owl hooted somewhere and a dog yelped. It was around three o’clock in the morning, and darkness had reigned supreme. The only thing that held the three men in light was a small torch.
Bhatuknath, the leader of the gang, was congratulating the young lads. They were recently recruited and had already shown a lot of talent.
“So tell me, Jackie. How did you find out?” he asked.
Jackie, an engineering college dropout, had unraveled the mystery of the message that Bhatuknath had got from his father ten years ago. He was carrying that slip of paper since then.
Jackie had tried to explain it the previous day, but in the heat of the moment, Bhatuknath had not understood it properly and given them a green signal to rob the bank.
“Well, boss, nothing is as it seems. Your father was not talking about his cat. If you look closely, some letters are italicized.”
Bhatuknath took out the slip of paper once again from his shirt pocket. He had observed the italicized letters of course, but was never able to find out their significance. He observed again, carefully.
The message said:
I know I’m going to die. Take care of my lucky CAT.
“Yeah, I know. What about them?”
“The italicized letters are: knooecrl. Right? Now if you just re-arrange those letters you’ll get ‘locker no,’” explained Jackie.
The boss raised his eyebrows, leaned forward, and said, “Continue.”
“So now what’s the locker no? It’s CAT. It’s in capitals. See that? If you assign a number to each of the 26 alphabets in English, the value of CAT will be 3120. So it’s locker no. 3120.”
There was a heavy drop of silence for a few seconds, and then the boss exclaimed.
“Wow! Why didn’t I get it in all these years?! And the message was addressed to BOB, which of course is Bank of Bangalore. I thought Bob was a person.”
He then patted the backs of the young lads and said, “You will be generously rewarded, my boys.”
Inspector Singa lit a cigarette and took a drag.
“As we told you, that bloody skunk kept the watch and gave us a mere Rs. 2200,” Browny said, taking out four 500 rupee notes and two 100 rupee notes.
“Fine. But what are you digging the ground for?”
“It’s nothing. Really.”
The inspector butted out his cigarette, jumped into the pit, took the shovel and struck the ground, which again produced a sound. He looked up and stared at the two men. Having demonstrated his animosity towards their lies, he got out of the pit.
“Well, are you going to say what this is is all about? Or do you wish to go to prison?”
Jackie was maddened by the injustice done to him and Browny by their boss. The package they had stolen from the bank had only two things: a gold and diamond studded Patek Philippe watch with 18 complications, which was worth at least Rs. 30 lakhs. Apart from the watch there was Rs. 2200/-
Bhatuknath had kept the watch and given them Rs. 2200.
“Can’t even buy a decent pair of jeans with this,” Jackie hollered when they reached home. Browny didn’t try to appease him, as he very well knew it was not going to help.
Jackie couldn’t sleep and kept on cursing his boss, but something struck him at around one in the night. He woke Browny up.
“I think we have hit the jackpot.”
And when Jackie explained what he had found out, Browny shouted and screamed and danced and sang and clapped. That very moment they headed towards the grave yard – to dig through their way to riches.
Inspector Singa was one of the most corrupt police officers in the city. Word was out that two young men had robbed the bank early in the morning. When he went to the bank and asked around, it became clear to him that the robbers were Jackie and Browny. He had a history with them. In fact he had a history with every robber in the city. He never caught them, and they never forgot to pay him.
Since the moment he had found out, he had placed a constable near their house. When the constable called him up and said that they were headed somewhere in the middle of the night, he had asked him to follow. And now he had them.
“I’m pretty sure that our boss’s father’s property is hidden here,” Jackie was saying.
“How can you say that?”
“Because the old man not only wanted his able son to get hold of that costly watch, but also the money,” he said.
“Which money? You said that there was only Rs. 2200,” the inspector looked befuddled. A moment later he realized that Jackie was talking about the same money.
“I don’t understand,” said the inspector.
Then Browny gave the money to the inspector.
“An address is hidden there – address to here. This graveyard. This very grave,” said Jackie, stamping his foot on the ground. The inspector crinkled his eyes.
“Hold these 500 rupee notes, and tell me what is NOT common between them.”
“Serial numbers?” asked the inspector.
“Damn right, you are. Serial numbers. I was a bit perplexed in the beginning. Why would the old man keep just Rs. 2200 in a locker? That too 6 mutilated notes! Then it got me thinking. Serial numbers!”
Jackie paused for a moment and then continued.
“The serial numbers of 500 rupee notes are RST 030821, YST 011404, 4ST 180308 and 1ST 180523. Observe something?”
The inspector shook his head.
Jackie continued. “Leave the series and observe only the numbers. Assign a letter of English to the first two numbers in each serial number. 03=C, 08=H, and 21=U. Next, 01=A, 14=N, 04=D. Then, 18=R, 03=C, 08=H. And finally, 18=R, 05=E, and 23=W. So, it’s CHU, AND, RCH, and REW. This is the order in which I held the notes. They didn’t make any sense to me then, but later on when I re-arranged them, I got “ANDREW CHURCH.”
“Go on,” said the inspector.
“Well, now observe the series. All the notes have the series ST. So, it has to be St. Andrew’s Church. Now which church exactly? There could be more than one. Now notice the very first letter or alphabet of the series: R, Y, 4 and 1. 1 and 4 give the values A and D. Again re-arrange the letters and you’ll get YARD. Graveyard! This is the only St. Andrew’s Church in the city, which has a graveyard.”
Silence reigned supreme again. None of the three spoke for the next few seconds.
“Phew! That’s some analysis. But how did you find out the exact grave?” asked the inspector.
“Look at those two 100 rupee notes. 0MN 101505 and 0MN 720096. They say MN JOE, 1972-1996. The first digit of the series, which is 0, has no value of course,” Jackie finished explaining.
This was too much for the inspector to digest.
A minute later they picked up their shovel and pickaxe again, and dug until it became easier for them to lift the big metal box, which was buried for ten years or more.
Everyone took a deep breath and broke open the lock of the box.
“Let’s do it,” said Jackie, and lifted the lid.
They were staring at the contents in mute amazement. There were two other small boxes. And when Jackie opened them, their hearts skipped a beat. It took them almost 2 minutes to recuperate.
“How much is it worth?” asked Browny, not taking his eyes off the contents.
“Minimum 30,” said the inspector.
“Lakhs?” asked Browny innocently.
The inspector shook his head vigorously and said, “Crores, you moron.”
Finally, they decided to split it. The inspector demanded 50% of the share and got it. Jackie and Browny argued in the beginning, but they later agreed as they didn’t want to go to prison.
"Now, take your share and run as if you’ve never run before. And remember. Never come back,” said the inspector, packing his ‘precious’ little black bag.
Inspector Singa then turned and wended his way out of the graveyard.
“Damn it, man. Why the hell should he get so much?” Browny was enraged.
“Keep still. We’ll figure out something soon.”
A few days later, inspector Singa’s house was robbed. Nothing was taken, except a little black bag. The robbers perfectly knew about the bag’s whereabouts, because they had dealt with him many times in the past and knew how to think like him. And moreover, robbing, as mentioned earlier, was all in a day’s work for them.
The inspector felt a raging thirst to kill the robbers. His ‘precious’ little black bag was gone. But what he didn’t know then was that it was just the beginning.
The next day, LokAyukta, the anti-government corruption organization of Karnataka, raided Inspector Singa’s house. To his shock, the officials knew exactly where to search. They went straight to the bathroom, and pulled open the top shelf. And there it was; a small messenger bag, and in it were 20 lakh rupees in cash, a few biscuits of solid gold, and 2 small diamond stones. He was aghast. He hadn’t kept it. But he knew who had set him up.
A week later he was given a permanent leave from his job.
Exactly one month later, Singa received an anonymous letter. It read:
In spite of all the dirty things you’ve done, we still think you deserve something.
So, here’s the code: 84748 843 7263 47283 24246.
Decipher it and get your share. Good luck!
P.S. If you don’t take it within 6 months from today, we’ll retrieve it back.
All in a day’s work
Robbing the robbers could be all in a day’s work for Singa, but using his brain wasn’t. He tried the old fashioned way by assigning letters to alphabets, but little did he know that the code was entirely different. He never deciphered it. Hence he never got his share.
What happened to Jackie and Browny after this? Well, let's just say that they happily lived ever after. Apart from robbing, enjoying the luxuries of life also became all in a day's work for them.
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