Early in the morning before all the stores were open, two men arrived in a nondescript gray sedan. They had looked the small town over, debated on several escape routes, and finally decided they would leave on the same street they came in. It could have been any other street but their choice was probably the best because the other streets were not as clean.
“Odd way of thinking about a getaway street but there had to be some criteria for picking an escape route.” I remember telling the sheriff that after the ill-fated episode. We were just sitting on the porch, after the robbery, playing lawyer, trying to come up with reasonable explanations why someone would rob a café when there was a bank right next door. It still doesn’t make sense.
Anyway, these two men sauntered into the café, sniffed the air, and plunked down on a couple of swivel chairs. “It’s gonna be a hot one today,” the short man said. “I bet you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.”
One of the waitresses, Rebecca, was busy wrapping the silverware so she almost missed the expression on the stranger’s face when Ruth said, “Bobby, don’t bother using the skillets or frying pans today. This man says he wants his egg cooked on the sidewalk so it can get more flavor.”
“Now, honey, I didn’t say that. you’re stretching the truth and making me mad. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I just want an ordinary breakfast so we can be back on the road.”
“Where you all heading? You don’t want to be on the road after ten. And make sure you put on plenty of sunscreen. You’ll fry if you’re in the sun too long.”
The short man said, “We’ll take our chances. Now give us each a breakfast and be quick about it. We’ve got to be in El Paso before noon. And,” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small gun. “I want all of you to finance the adventure.” He looked around the room. “Put all your money in this bag. George will be coming around to collect.”
“As soon as I fry these hash browns and flip the eggs, I’ll be right with you,” Rebecca called out. “We’re short-handed right now. The other waitress went home sick and Floyd, the cook, is out getting supplies. I can’t tell you when the cash drawer will open. It’s on a timer. The cash was counted this morning and delivered to the bank. You might as well put your gun away and have a cup of coffee. You’ll feel much better if you get your blood circulating. Last week, Bill was feeling poorly and got real cranky. He didn’t settle down until he had coffee and some apple crisp. Did I tell you Sally Mae is the best pie maker in Succotash County? She fries the apples before mixing them with the other ingredients. She will probably win the blue ribbon this year too.”
“Lady, I have no interest in Sally Mae’s pies. I thought her apple crisp was tasteless, like it was fried on the street. Please don’t make me hurt you. If we get caught this would be my third strike. The judge said if we got in trouble again we would fry on the rack.”
“George, will you check our escape and make sure nobody’s in our path?”
George did not return as expected. Shorty, the short man, found George and two other gang members working the grill, selling hot dogs and hamburgers. It was the first time the Succotash County Wildcats made enough cash to purchase matching uniforms .
It was the start of a new era. The Wildcats reigned as champions for several years. The Bad News Wildcats did quite well until that notorious girls’ team beat them in the championship. That humiliating experience was fried into their memory but never mentioned again.