They could hear the alarm all the way down the street at Donna's. Joe and the boys had been enjoying their coffee and eggs. Fred had broken from tradition and gone with a pastrami on rye. Donna told him if he hadn't been such a loyal customer all these years she never would've let the cooks serve him lunch before lunchtime. But in truth, the boys' breakfast always extended into lunch anyway so really, what did it matter?
The alarm started around 10. Later, Jim--that's Jim Halvik, not Jim Halstrup--would tell the police that it was 10:10 exactly when it happened. Swore by it. Said he had picture memory and that they could trust him. That he said picture and not photographic did not, it seemed, at least to Joe, lead them to believe they could trust him.
The boys had arrived around the usual time. Donna's opened at 7:00 Tuesday - Friday. Saturday's they opened at 10. Sunday's at noon. Monday's they took off. Donna hated Mondays and since she owned the place she said she could take them off. "To hell with the bills," she'd say--she said this every time someone asked how come they weren't open on Mondays--"What's the point of owning your own place if you can't make your own rules."
That was the kind of lady she was. The boys respected it, even though had different times it had rubbed them all the wrong way. She had a way of doing that; annoying people. That was the kind of lady she was.
But Donna's diner had the best food for the best price in town. And besides. Before it was Donna's it was Ray's, and since the boys didn't like change they figured the switch in ownership was enough for one decade and kept to it. The relationship had held strong since.
At first they didn't know what the sound was. Gil--that's Gil, not Phil--had suggested it was a fire alarm. But this was quickly dismissed since it didn't sound anything like a fire alarm any of the boys had ever heard. And they agreed that between the four of them, they had heard them all.
"It's not some damn air raid horn is it?" This from Gus Johnson. While decidedly not one of the boys, the old-timer hung out at Donna's just as much and had as much right to throw in his two cents as the next man. "Town had em installed back in the forties. Needed incase the Reds decided to get tough."
This, too, was quickly dismissed.
"Nah. If they's was air raid sirens we'd know it. No doubt about it's some kind of alarm."
Someone in the back--one of the cooks, the boys decided--shouted that it could be an alarm from the corner store.
Donna shouted back, saying how she paid them to cook, not to yell. The boys got quiet for a bit after that. Donna liked shouting, especially at the cooks. None of the boys enjoyed it too much.
"Could be old," Gus threw in, not ready to relent. "Been a long time since they tested em. Could be old. Worn out."
This possibility was tossed back and forth until a cadre of police cars came screaming down Main St. and settled the score was and for all.
"See that," Gil said. "Alarm. Just like I said."
They all turned and watched as the red and blues tore down the street, one after another, lightning up the town like the Fourth.
Brody Jansen leaned back in his char, tipped his cap and whistled a half-hearted whistle through his teeth. The town of Jansen--no relation to Brody--had two cop cars. In total, five had tore pass Donna's in a matter of minutes, each one looking meaner than a pack of bees.
"Suppose someone got killt?" This was from little George Peckrill. He wasn't really little. Early that summer he had turned 20. Freshly graduated, he had started taking up more hours at Hanson and Son's Landscaping, going from part-time summer employee, to full-time. He now took his breakfasts in Donna's. Another link in the great chain of local tradition.
"Could be," Jim offered--Halstrup--"Don't see no ambulance though."
"How they gonna send an ambulance when the killers still on the loose? That's just a recipe for something stupid."
"Now how do you know there's some killers on the loose. I didn't hear no gun shot."
The heads of the patrons on Donna's restaurant, bobbed back and forth with each volley in this impromptu debate. For a moment, they settled. Bob Mooreson's comment about the gun shot rang true for all of them. No one had heard a gun shot. And if any group was primed to pick up on a discharge fro ma firearm, it was this one.
"Coulda stabbed em." George offered. Heads nodded in solemn agreement. The boy was fitting in nicely.
Another cop car raced down the street followed closely by an ambulance. A collective breath was released.
"Jeezus." It's not clear who said this, only that to a man, they'd all agree it reflected perfectly the mood of the room.
The bell dinged from the cook's window signaling another meal ready for digesting. A few of the boys jumped in their seats at the sound of it then tried brushing off their embarrassment with hearty, red-faced laughs.
"Damn kids." The cooks were kids. The customers, boys. "Scare me near half to death. Old Gus mighta dropped dead from a heart attack."
The boys laughed.
"What's that?" Gus said, eager to be in on the joke. But he
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Words Reach 100 words
Words Reach 200 words
Location A restaurant
Event A bank is robbed
Words Reach 300 words
Letter Use the letter F
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words
Words Reach 900 words
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