Stepping back to when Jack gets downstairs after speaking with the negotiator, Jim is emerging from the other building. Jim insists the bomb was just Christmas lights, and he says he spoke to the bank robber. He tells Jack what happened, but readers should know that Jim isn’t a great storyteller. Thinking of his wife the entire time, Jim climbed up the stairs, checked the empty apartment, and then knocked on the correct apartment door. A man in a suit and ski mask, whose accent changed multiple times and was neither tall nor short, opened the door a crack. Jim admitted to being a police officer, asked if anyone was hurt, and then asked what the robber’s demands were. The robber disappeared into the apartment for a minute, returned, and asked for a good fireworks show. But Jim is a bad storyteller—so this might not be what actually happened.
Flagging for readers that Jim isn’t a great storyteller lets readers know to take this story with a grain of salt. To believe Jim’s story, it seems almost like Lennart posed as the robber—as an actor, he may have a wide variety of accents to pull from. And Jim seems to have believed Lennart and not questioned why a robber would ask for fireworks in exchange for letting hostages go. But more than just encouraging readers to take this story with a grain of salt, the narrator suggests that this might not have happened at all—that perhaps, Jim is lying. For now, what actually happened isn’t at all clear.