Donut Shop Done-in

The prompt: “What kind of a lame-brained excuse is that? The police will be here any minute.”
* * * *

Up the wash and through the tangled mesquite brush came two ATV’s. Onto the pavement of County Road 1297 rode Cobber Jukes and Delmar Cain. They were both sixteen. The macadam led two miles back to the town of Nitro, Arizona or ahead fourteen miles to Dead Bird Creek.

Cobber lived on the Trailing X Ranch, while Delmar was of the K Bar C. They should have been in school this February day, but instead they had stolen the four-wheelers from Juan Escolona’s barn and were just joy-riding.The sky was clear blue and the sun was cold. There was a smidgen of snow on the distant peaks.

“Want to get a doughnut over at Dunkin’ Donuts, yonder?” asked Delmar.

The Doughnut Shop was the last establishment at the edge of town. The counter girl was from the same High School as the boys, but had dropped out some months ago. She had a pimpled face and stringy red hair. There was dirt under her fingernails. The boys ordered two doughnuts and a single coffee. It took all the money they had.

Just then the proprietor, Jindar Pindalfi, came through the door from the back baking area. As he did, the boys glimpsed a rifle hanging on the wall. It was an inexpensive Remington Model 710 bolt action, but it was more rifle than they had. Jindar had bought it for protection. He had wanted a hand gun, but the 9 mm. Glock cost $500 and he got the 710 for $79 at Wal-Mart. He didn’t calculate how unwieldy a rifle might be in a holdup.

Outside, chomping on his doughnut and sharing sips of the steaming coffee, Cobber said:

“I’d like to have me that there Remington 710.”

“Yeah, well, me too, but how we gonna get it?” asked Delmar.

The boys could see themselves on the ATV’s riding to the high country in search of elk, coming home heroes with enough poached meat to last the rest of the winter. But first they had to purloin the Remington.

Then an idea popped into the the minuscule cranium of Cobber Jukes.

“Let’s start us a grass-fire! Then Jindar and the girl will come runnin’ out and we’ll sneak in the front door! But just in case, bring the tire-iron from Escalona’s four-wheeler, if we have to jimmy open the back door.”

As usual, a crack-pot idea sounded logical to Delmar. They took their lighters and set fire to several tufts of cheatgrass near the Doughnut Shop. Then, the two ran around to the side of the store to await the panicked owner to run out.

But Jindar Pindalfi had come all the way from Pakistan to rural Arizona, hoping to establish a profitable business. He didn’t panic easily. Instead he called the county sheriff’s office, who in turn called the US Forestry Service Fire Department. The Forestry Service, suspecting arson, called the one police cruiser in Nitro.

The boys figured on going in the front door because they expected the back door to be locked. But, when the shop employees failed to come out they were forced to break open the back door. In the distance, wailing sirens began to get louder.

“Gimme that there tire-iron,” said Cobber, whacking at the door-handle lock with a large rock he had picked up.

“I couldn’t find no t’ar-aron, Cobber,” said Delmar, bleakly. “I don’t believe Juan ever figured on gettin’ a flat on that ATV.”

“What kind of a lame-brain excuse is that?” said Cobber. “The police will be here any minute!”
* * * *


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