At 10:15AM on Decem­ber 12, 1977, four men walked into the Wells Far­go Bank on the 1700 block of Haight Street in San Fran­cis­co and began their rob­bery. At 2:00am the fol­low­ing morn­ing, the rob­bery was over and five peo­ple were dead.

10:13AM — 0 DEAD, 0 INJURED

Casey Trek pulled up in his 1975 AMC Mata­dor in front of the Wells Far­go Bank. Casey was cho­sen as the dri­ver because he was good at the Night Rac­er video game by Micro­net­ics and he was the youngest of the group. In the car were Casey’s old­er broth­er, Mark, and his Army bud­dies Alvy Green, War­ren Sawn­er and Oren Plotzky. All were trained in jun­gle com­bat and were con­fi­dent in their use of the shot­guns they were holding.

Casey com­plained that he need­ed to pee as the Army vets stepped out of the car. “Hold it for ten min­utes,” Mark told his younger broth­er. The gun­men nod­ded to each oth­er, slipped on their ski masks, and walked into the bank bran­dish­ing shotguns.

Work­ing at the bank that day were four clerks, the bank man­ag­er, and the old black secu­ri­ty guard Franklin O’Shane. Jean Ricken­zie, an elder­ly inde­pen­dent-woman, was there to request sev­er­al cashier’s checks for her grand­chil­dren. Matt Rebed was stop­ping in to cash his pay­check for his work as an organ trans­plant deliv­ery­man, with cool­er in tow. Ms. Kather­ine Klein had brought in her third grade class to learn about banking.

There is a cer­tain amount of chaos that occurs when hold­ing up a bank. Alvy put his gun to the old black secu­ri­ty guard’s back; War­ren and Oren screamed at the cus­tomers, includ­ing the stu­dents; Mark made his way to the back to the bank man­ag­er, Mr. Issac R. Whisken. Every­one was on the ground. It was at that time War­ren’s PTSD kicked in.

He had focused his gun on the group of young chil­dren. In Viet­nam, he had seen and done hor­rif­ic things, and one of the stu­dents trig­gered a flashback.

“No, Sergeant, I won’t do it!” War­ren screamed.

“Hey, man, keep it togeth­er.” Oren yelled back.

“No, Sergeant, I’m done with your Army.” He then turned his shot­gun on Oren.

What sound­ed like a can­non blast echoed through the high-ceilinged bank, fol­lowed by screams. Oren lay on the ground with a hole in his stom­ach, bleed­ing out. The old black secu­ri­ty guard spoke know­ing­ly: “No one plans on rain.”


Before head­ing off to Viet­nam, War­ren had been in love with Stacey, a girl from his home­town of Worces­ter. The night before he left for basic train­ing, War­ren con­fessed his love to her.

“Oh, War­ren, thank you for the present,” said Stacey, work­ing behind the counter at the Friend­ly’s Ice Cream Shop.

“It’s a pin­wheel I made, because we’re in love,” said Warren.

Stacey look around at her gig­gling friends. “War­ren, we can’t be in love…” start­ed Stacey.

“I know, I know, I’m about to head off to Viet­nam—” said Warren.

“No, I— War­ren, I’m going steady with some­one else.” said Stacey.

War­ren start­ed to tear up as Stacey gave him a free scoop of but­ter­scotch and wished him well in the Army. As War­ren sprint­ed out of the ice cream shop, cry­ing, he tripped and the but­ter­scotch scoop fell onto the sidewalk.

Viet­nam was­n’t easy on War­ren. He would spend nights in the jun­gle imag­in­ing that Stacey was just try­ing to pro­tect both of them in case he did­n’t come back. On leave, War­ren spent time in Cam Rahn Bay at an ice cream shop where he became enam­ored with a girl behind the counter. He could­n’t remem­ber her real name, but he called her Stacey, which she gig­gled at. War­ren would bring Viet­namese Stacey presents and go for walks. One evening, she ini­ti­at­ed a kiss and it was the hap­pi­est moment of his entire life.

Back in his fatigues, the out­look was not as cheery. War­ren was involved in some of the most hor­rif­ic acts of the war, includ­ing the burn­ing of vil­lages and mur­der­ing of women and chil­dren. He began to have night­mares, and want­ed to con­fide in Viet­namese Stacey, but she had dis­ap­peared and the ice cream shop had been board­ed up. War­ren got into a fight in the mess hall when a fel­low sol­dier inno­cent­ly com­ment­ed that he did­n’t like ice cream. The war was over for War­ren, and he was shipped back to Massachusetts.

He went look­ing for Stacey at Friend­ly’s and end­ed up in the North Coun­ty Pilot the next day for “punch­ing through the thick glass of the ice cream case.” War­ren learned that Stacey had mar­ried some­one else, a fact that he jus­ti­fied was to pro­tect both of them. War­ren met up with his Army pal Alvy Green in The Old Neigh­bor­hood for a few days, then both decid­ed to take Mark Trek up on his offer to come to San Fran­cis­co to work at the bak­ery he was start­ing up.

Four months lat­er, Mark’s bak­ery was not going as well as he had hoped and need­ed mon­ey. A sec­ond loan fell through. A fool­ish bet with a tricky book­ie on the Mia­mi Dol­phins to win the World Series drained him fur­ther. Even­tu­al­ly, a bank rob­bery seemed like the only option. The men walked in. Chaos ensued. War­ren saw the face of a young boy he had killed in Viet­nam and shot Oren in the stom­ach. He then sat down against a wall and said nothing.

Mark came out of the back room with Whisken, the bank man­ag­er. All the hostages in the bank were now hud­dled in the lob­by on the ground. Mark tried to get a word out of War­ren, but it was’t happening.

Alvy had been behind the counter, hav­ing the clerks gath­er up all the mon­ey. It did­n’t amount to much.

“There’s only three grand here!” Alvy shout­ed as he walked over to Mark.

Mark turned to Whisken and said it was “time to open up the vault.”

“I’m sor­ry, that’s impos­si­ble. The vault can  only unlock one hour before we open and right when we close. And that’s not for anoth­er six hours.” explained Whisken.

“Are we fucked?” Alvy asked as he helped get War­ren into a chair.

Mark was­n’t quite sure of the answer.

“Par­don me, gen­tle­men,” said Franklin O’Shane, the secu­ri­ty guard, “but some­times wait­ing for cook­ies to bake makes them taste all the sweet­er.” Then O’Shane winked his eye and made his way back to the crowd hud­dled in the lobby.

One of the stu­dents, ner­vous, bit his tongue.

10:40AM — 1 DEAD, 1 INJURED

Out­side in the car, Casey Trek had heard the gun shot go off, and now real­ly need­ed to pee. He could­n’t take it any­more. He kept the car run­ning and dashed off to the cof­fee shop down the street. Casey returned to right out­side the bank just in time to see his AMC Mata­dor turn­ing the cor­ner onto Cole Street.

Casey ran after his car, but it was already gone around the cor­ner. He scoped around, know­ing he need­ed wheels, and start­ed check­ing the doors on every car. Some­one noticed him, shout­ed “hey!” and Casey ran off around the cor­ner again, sprain­ing his ankle in the process.

10:42AM — 1 DEAD, 2 INJURED

Back inside the bank, Mark and Alvy decid­ed it was time to cut their loss­es and leave. Alvy went to the front door to tell Casey to get ready. Alvy did­n’t see the car so he stepped out­side, with his shot­gun, and star­tled a woman about to enter the bank. The woman ran off and Alvy slunk back into the bank.

“What was that scream?” asked Mark as he tried to get War­ren up.

“The car is gone and some lady saw my shot­gun!” replied Alvy.

“That lit­tle fuck­ing pis­sant!” Mark had reser­va­tions about Casey. He knew he could trust him, but he also knew he was­n’t the bravest.

Mark and Alvy knew they could­n’t take a near­ly comatose War­ren any­where and decid­ed they were going to wait it out for six hours until the vault could be opened again. Alvy would watch the hostages as Mark explained the sit­u­a­tion to Whisken.

“Can you please stop point­ing that gun at my stu­dents?” asked Ms. Kather­ine Klein.

“You a teacher?” Alvy low­ered his gun.

“Yes. I brought my stu­dents to learn about banking.”

“So, you’re a good teacher, huh?”

“I try my best.”

Alvy dragged a chair over and offered it to her. “You teach­ers work too hard to be sit­ting on the ground.” Ms. Kather­ine Klein thanked Alvy and took a seat.

Aside from his tour of duty, Alvy spent his entire life in The Old Neigh­bor­hood in New York City with his father, a city elec­tri­cian, and his moth­er, a teacher. The Old Neigh­bor­hood was a melt­ing pot of all the immi­grants: Irish, Pol­ish, Czech, Mozam­biquian­izans. They all had their place in The Old Neigh­boor­hood. On his way to school, Alvy would encounter men sell­ing rugs next to fried fish and morn­ing bar fights next to pãozinho.

When Alvy returned from the war, he found that The Old Neigh­boor­hood had fall­en on hard times. Hot crime and cool drugs were on the rise. They had to close the school that his moth­er worked at because rats had tak­en over and start­ed using it as an effi­cient rat school. His father would have to com­mute two hours each way every day on a vari­ety of trains, fer­ries and sub­way cars. When War­ren came to vis­it Alvy, the two decid­ed that San Fran­cis­co and Mark’s bak­ery would be what they needed.

Mark fin­ished up explain­ing the sit­u­a­tion, and he and Whisken walked into the lob­by to tell the hostages.

“We are going to wait,” said Whisken, “and as long as we coöperate, we will all be fine.”

“You’re bad peo­ple.” said the inde­pen­dent-woman Jean Rickenzie.

“Mrs. Ricken­zie, please.” said Whisken.

“They are!”

“I’m gonna call in for some piz­za,” said Mark, “and we’re just going to sit here. You got a closed sign or any­thing like that?” Whisken nod­ded and motioned for O’Shane to turn the sign.

“I need to go to the bath­room,” said Ms. Kather­ine Klein.

“I’ll take her,” quick­ly offered Alvy.

Alvy escort­ed Ms. Kather­ine Klein to the bath­room. Alvy leaned against a wall while Ms. Kather­ine Klein sat in the stall. She came out and washed her hands.

“Thank you for get­ting me that chair,” said Ms. Kather­ine Klein.

“This whole thing ain’t about you sit­ting on some floor,” replied Alvy.

Ms. Kather­ine Klein moved clos­er to Alvy.

“What is this about?” asked Ms. Kather­ine Klein.

They start­ed mak­ing out.


Back in the lob­by, things were get­ting tense.

“Yes, I’ll have ten cheese piz­zas,” said Mark into a phone.

“I want pep­per­oni,” one of the stu­dents said.

Mark placed his hand on the receiv­er. “What?”

“I want pepperoni.”

“You don’t get pepperoni.”

“But I want it.”

“I don’t care.”

“But I want it.”

“What you want does­n’t mat­ter to me.”

“But I want it.”

“Fine! Make one of those pep­per­o­nis. Ok, we’re at—”

“I want pineap­ple,” said anoth­er one of the students.

“No, no, I am not tak­ing requests.”

“If he gets pineap­ple, I want toma­toes.” anoth­er one of the stu­dents spoke up.

“There’s already toma­to sauce on it.”

“No, no sauce, only tomatoes.”

“Par­don me, sir,” said O’Shane, “but I remem­ber when I was only twelve, and it was my birth­day, and my mom­ma, she was a great big old lady, and we were very poor, and it was my birth­day, and she baked me a cake with the most rich­est choco­late frost­ing I had ever had and have had since. Made me for­get about our prob­lems for a ‘lil while.” O’Shane then tipped his secu­ri­ty guard hat.

Mark set down the receiv­er. “Ok, who wants what?”


Out on the street, Casey had returned to his search for a car. His sprained ankle slowed him down, and he had stopped under­neath a large air con­di­tion­ing unit that was drip­ping on him. He moved out of the way, inad­ver­tent­ly step­ping in a pud­dle, soak­ing his shoes. Then he moved back onto the street, only to have a pail of water thrown on him by a dish­wash­er. Now com­plete­ly soaked and with no oth­er alter­na­tive, Casey made a bold deci­sion: he peed his pants.


“Ok, ok, ok. I have two pep­per­o­nis. One pineap­ple. One pineap­ple and pep­per­oni. One green pep­pers, olives, onions. And one toma­toes, no cheese, no sauce… Is this real­ly what you want? You just want toma­toes on bread?”

“It’s how my mom­my makes it.”

“And what do you want?” Mark asked inde­pen­dent-woman Jean Rickenzie.

“I’ll have a saltine,” replied the elderly.

“They won’t have saltines. It’s a piz­za place.”

“Then why did you even ask me?” Mark’s stress lev­els were rising.

It was at that time that a cus­tomer had come to the door, try­ing to pull it open.

“You,” Mark motioned to O’Shane, “tell that guy you’re closed!”

O’Shane walked with pur­pose to the door, but the bespec­ta­cled man in a pin­stripe suit had already pressed his face up to the glass door and saw every­thing: A bleed­ing Oren, War­ren sit­ting against a wall, a group of hostages, and Mark hold­ing a shot­gun. The man quick­ly ran away.

“FUCK!” shout­ed Mark.

“I’m hun­gry,” said one of the kids.


In the bath­room, Alvy and Ms. Kather­ine Klein con­tin­ued to make out, with her blouse torn asun­der and his Army-mus­cles bulging out his shirt. Alvy placed his shot­gun on the sink. He would­n’t need it now. He was­n’t mak­ing hate.

Ms. Kather­ine Klein removed her glass­es and let down her long auburn hair. She was a wild lioness, Queen of Ani­malia. She placed her palms on Alvy’s chest, feel­ing between the but­tons a body that war had chis­eled like a Michelan­ge­lo to a David.

Alvy’s rough hands caused a run in Ms. Kather­ine Klein’s stock­ings. Alvy was­n’t sure if he heard “take” or “rip,” but the stock­ings soon found them­selves in a pile on the bath­room floor that would soon grow with Alvy’s shirt and Ms. Kather­ine Klein’s glass­es. The pile was not the only mound growing. 


Matt Rebed, the organ deliv­ery­man, had noticed the cool­er he had with him was con­sid­er­ably less cool­er now. “There’s a lit­tle boy in Potrero Hill who isn’t going to see tomor­row,” said Rebed.

12:05PM — 2 DEAD, 2 INJURED

A strange thing hap­pens when police get involved. Tele­phones are divert­ed. Elec­tric­i­ty is cut. There are bar­ri­cades. A crowd appears.

Casey, hav­ing returned to the bank sop­ping wet and smelling of pee, stood in the crowd watch­ing the action unfold. Amongst the cops and squad cars, Police Lieu­tenant Dan Ben assessed the sit­u­a­tion. Lieu­tenant Ben was a 14 years vet­er­an of the San Fran­cis­co Police Depart­ment, the last five of which had been on the Hostage Nego­ti­a­tion Team. He had saved kids from long-haired junkies, diminu­tive white ladies from rad­i­cal Black Pow­er groups; now he was here to stop four Viet­nam vets from rob­bing a bank. Lt. Ben was well known for hav­ing an eye-patch over his left eye, wear­ing fin­ger­less leather gloves and a sleeve­less leather jacket.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the piz­za arrived after the police, and Mark was forced to nego­ti­ate away two hostages for the pies. Matt Rebed and inde­pen­dent-woman Jean Ricken­zie were freed. Ricken­zie would live anoth­er five years and die in her sleep in her son’s apart­ment. Rebed pur­sued his dream of cre­at­ing the “Re-Bed,” a claw-like device that would help the elder­ly get back into bed after they fall out. If only he ever invent­ed it before inde­pen­dent-woman Jean Ricken­zie had fatal­ly rolled out of bed.

While the kids went to work eat­ing the piz­za, Mark got on the phone with Lt. Ben.

“I want to walk out of here with twen­ty thou­sand dol­lars and a plane to Argenti­na,” said Mark.

“You want that, I need the kids,” said Lt. Ben, chew­ing on that lol­ly­pop stick he always had.

“I give you the kids, you have no rea­son to not bust in here and take us,” said Mark.

“Then—What? What is going on?” asked Lt. Ben as the crowd behind him made a col­lec­tive gasp.

One of the offi­cers, over­whelmed by the crowd con­trol work, was hav­ing a heart attack. Inside, things weren’t any better.

“Mis­ter! Mis­ter! Help!” said one of the huski­er kids, while run­ning up to Mark.

Whisken the Bank Man­ag­er was clutch­ing his throat, a half eat­en slice of piz­za on the floor next to him.

“Was… there… pineap­ple… in… this?” Whisken said with what would be his last breaths.

2:15PM — 4 DEAD, 2 INJURED

Ms. Kather­ine Klein mount­ed Alvy like a cow­girl to a wild steer. He-haw. He-haw. She bucked on top of him with the force of a twister com­ing through the dusty plains of Amer­i­ca. Her long hair twirled and danced above him. The emer­gency exit light draped the two unkempt souls in a deep crim­son as Ms. Kather­ine Klein rocked back and forth on Alvy’s horn.


Mark stood in the lob­by of the bank with a group of chil­dren, a use­less War­ren, a dead Oren, a dead bank man­ag­er and O’Shane the secu­ri­ty guard. The phone rang. It was Lt. Ben.

“Mark, I have some­one here who wants to speak with you.” said Lt. Ben.

Mark dragged the phone and walked to the front doors of the bank. He looked out and saw see who it was: Casey.

“Casey, what the hell are you doing?!” Mark was fuming.

“I– I want­ed to talk to you, but they were block­ing the entrance and, so, I told them I was your broth­er and–” Casey strug­gled to get his words out.

“What do you want!?”

“I need a ride home. I can’t find the car, and my bus pass is soaked, and I… I… I peed my pants.” The crowd out­side roared with laugh­ter, and the news rever­ber­at­ed through­out San Fran­cis­co as tele­vi­sion and radio news relayed his humiliation.

Mark slammed the phone down. It was final­ly clos­ing time and the bank vault could be opened. He walked over to War­ren and slapped him to atten­tion. War­ren stirred.

“War­ren, you need to hold things down. OK?” said Casey while he pushed a shot­gun into War­ren’s hands.

War­ren nod­ded and rose to his feet. “I’m a one man army now, Sergeant.”

Mark grabbed O’Shane by the arm and the two walked into the bank vault. Mark was relieved at the sight of all the bags of money.

“What are you gonna do, son?” asked O’Shane.

“Well, I’m gonna go to Argenti­na. That’s where peo­ple go to hide and get new iden­ti­ties and spend the rest of their lives.” said Mark while stuff­ing cash into his own bags.

“Sounds like a fine trip, but that ain’t no life,” said O’Shane “You can take the mon­ey, but what’s the mon­ey gonna take?” O’Shane turned a cor­ner in the bank vault and was gone, nev­er to be seen again. Fun­ny thing is, police have nev­er been able to con­firm that a Franklin O’Shane ever worked at the bank in the first place.


Mark returned upstairs, pass­ing by the bath­room where he could hear the heavy breath­ing of Alvy and Ms. Kather­ine Klein. He walked into the lob­by, where it was just him, War­ren and a bunch of school chil­dren. Mark spent the next eight hours think­ing over his plan, occa­sion­al­ly talk­ing to Lt. Ben.


At 2 am, Lt. Ben decid­ed it was enough and the police stormed into the bank. Mark was gone and so were $83,000.


Ms. Kather­ine Klein still vis­its Alvy in San Quentin, and brings along their son Oren. War­ren, who now prefers to go by Stacey, was insti­tu­tion­al­ized and loves to spend his time scoop­ing ice cream for his fel­low patients. Casey also got fif­teen years in San Quentin where he was nev­er hurt by a sin­gle inmate, but was con­stant­ly asked if he had pissed him­self, which he did on occasion.

Mark had always been good at spe­cial ops. It was his skill of ropes that helped him scale the bank and get over to the next build­ing, dis­ap­pear­ing into the San Fran­cis­co night. His skill of sneak­ing helped him get across the bor­der at Mex­i­co and con­tin­ue onto Argenti­na. There he has lived the past 35 years, work­ing as a bak­er near Par­que Saave­dra. The bak­ery does­n’t do well, but mon­ey nev­er seems to be an issue.


And how do I know what hap­pened in that bank and to all that mon­ey? I guess you could call me insight­ful, but the men I play chess with in the park just call me… Franklin O’Shane. ♦

(Ed. note: please play “Oh Yeah” by Yello)