Caleb Grant is a young writer, who writes poems, short stories and flash fiction. His goal is to share his stories around the world.
Once in a Lifetime
I never believed that 1my dream of becoming a journalist would happen so fast. This all happen when I met this man who came into the diner one day. He was a short, elderly man with grey hair and a well-shaven beard. He was dressed in denim overalls and had a WWII veteran hat on the first time I saw him. What truly caught my eye about this man was his tattoo of a raccoon on his left triceps. I later found out that his name was Levi Armstrong. The first time I met Levi was when he entered the diner one Sunday morning. Levi ate by himself and I always felt bad for customers who did not have anyone to eat with, especially since he was a war veteran. After finishing his breakfast, Levi came up to the register to pay. I was working at the cash register that day and I began to treat Levi like any other regular customer. As Levi handed me his receipt and credit card I said, “How was everything, sir?”
Levi responded, “Just fine thanks. I’ve always passed this diner on my way to visit my son and this time I thought to give it a try.”
“Where does your son live?” I replied, trying to be as friendly as possible.
“He lives just a couple miles down the road from here,” Levi said
“Well, now you have a new place to stop and eat when you do get a chance to see him. I see that you’re a WWII veteran. That is truly amazing! Thank you for serving our country.”
The old man replied with a huge smile, “I guess I picked the wrong time to stop in huh?”
“Yeah, Sunday is our busiest day. Wait can get up to 45 minutes. A lot of people come to brunch after church.”
“I can see why. After all, the food here is good. I better get on my way. Have a nice day!”
“You too, sir! Thank you!”
As Levi walked away, I just couldn’t stop thinking about that tattoo. The next time I see Levi I will ask him why he picked that particular tattoo. Being a struggling college student studying journalism, working at the diner is a great opportunity. Although, the pay is awful and the tips are great, talking to the locals and visitors is one of the reasons why I love my job.
Two weeks later, Levi came back into the diner. He gave me a small smile and proceeded to his table. He had a cutoff t-shirt and jeans on this time, making his tattoo truly visible to all. After he finished breakfast, he came up to the register.
Without saying a word, Levi handed me his receipt. I was about to ask him if he was paying cash or credit when I notice the gun. For a moment I could not believe my own eyes.
“Give me all the money in your register,” Levi demanded.
“What’s going on?” were the only words I could mumble.
“You heard me!” Levi demanded once again.
“Hurry up!” Levi screamed.
“I’m trying.” As calm as I was, my hands were shaking. As much as I tried, I couldn’t stop fumbling with the money.
By now a few other customers realize what was happening. as I was faced with one of the most difficult moments in my life. I tried to keep control.
“Okay,” I muttered. Let’s just keep this between the two of us as I handed him the money. There I was staring death in the face but all I could do was smile. I was terrified but the adrenaline had me on high. At this point, the entire restaurant knew what was happening.
Levi turned around and waved the gun so no one would try to approach him.
Levi started to pull the trigger. “I told you to hurry up!” Levi yelled
Levi was tackled to the ground just as he pulled the trigger. I felt the heat of the bullet as it passed my cheek. I ran around the counter to kick the gun away from him.
After doing so, my manager locked the door and ensured the customer that everything is under control and to remain calm until the police arrive.
Now that Levi in cuffs and sitting in the police car, the customers were applauding me for my courage. Sitting in the car, Levi turned and looked at me and smiled, as if he was relieved. But what kept on catching my eye was the tattoo.
When Levi finally was out of sight, I started to write about what had just transpired, I wanted to be the one to write the story. An opportunity like this doesn’t happen too often.
The following day, Levi attempted robbery was all over the news. Several television stations and newspapers had interviewed me on how Levi had been so deceiving. However, the story written in the newspaper was my original story. The headline of the story was, “Sly as a Raccoon, Man Attempts Robbery at Local Diner.”