Tuesday 23 July 2019

Perfectly Harmless

by Jim Bates

black coffee

Harmless. That's what the punk kid thought the old man was, sitting at a table by himself in the strip mall coffee shop. Perfectly harmless. He quickly slipped behind the counter and slid the edge of the razor sharp stiletto against the young clerk's neck, whispering, "Keep calm, honey, and I won't cut you." He smiled as he watched a tear form in the young girl's eye. This robbery will be a piece of cake, he was thinking. No problem at all.
            Just then, all hell broke loose.
            The old man noticed what was going on and it made him mad. He angrily got to his feet and started yelling and waving his arms, causing such a distracting scene that the cashier was able to press a button under the counter which notified security. In the few moments it took for them to arrive, she stomped down heavily on the punk's toe with the heavy heal of her boot and he screamed in pain. While all that was happening, the old man slowly but steadily made his way to the counter and began smacking the punk across the top of the head with his cane. It might have been comical if the young clerk hadn't inadvertently been cut by the robber's knife and was bleeding.
            Two beefy guys from security showed up, quickly subdued the punk and held him until the police arrived. A nurse browsing in the nearby bookstore administered to the young clerk pronouncing that she'd be just fine, it was just a slight nick.
            That left the old man, an octogenarian named Jack, who received a hearty thank you from the building manager, offering, "We could get you on the evening news if you'd like, Jack. Your fifteen minutes of fame? I could fix it up with the local station." He put his arm around the old man's skinny shoulder and sat him down."What do you think? You want to be famous?"
            Jack didn't have to think. He shook his head to the negative, and said, "Why make a big deal out of it, young man? Most of the people I know would have done the same thing."
            The manager laughed to himself. Yeah, right. A bunch of old people? I sincerely doubt it. But to Jack he said, "Suit yourself. How about a free cup of coffee?"
            "You're on for the coffee," Jack said rising to his feet, looking at his wrist watch. "But I'll have to take it to go if you don't mind. I have a bus to catch.
            After he got his coffee Jack picked up his cane and made his way to the door, waving good bye to the building manager, the clerk, the nurse and the two security guards. He was feeling good, better than he had in a long time. He couldn't wait to get back to the Long Lake Retirement Home where he lived. Tonight was their self-defense class and he didn't want to be late. Boy did he have a story for them.

About the author 

Jim lives in a small town twenty miles west of Minneapolis and has worked numerous jobs, the longest being twenty years as a course developer and sales and technical trainer for a large manufacturing company. In addition to CafeLit his stories can be found on his website: www.theviewfromlonglake.wordpress.com

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