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Skizicks checked out the liquor store every time he drove by. He knew about the old Japanese woman that had owned the store since he was a little kid, and he knew that she had killed four armed robbers over the years. He was fifteen years old when he was sent to reform school in northern California for five years, after his first armed robbery.

He was going to be real careful when he took her store off, because he knew that she was always armed and was a deadly shot.

The liquor store was in the worst possible location in Alhambra, as it was the last building before the on ramp for the Long Beach freeway. The only thing better for a robber than a liquor store at the entrance to the freeway would have been a bank.

Even with the dangerous location, the store was a goldmine for the owner. She worked the store alone because she didn’t trust employees. She figured that everybody was a thief and they were all after her money.

Skizicks guessed that she must have been in her late sixties by now, and would not be as quick on the draw. She was rumored to have several guns ranging in size from the twenty-two semi auto that she had taken the last two bandits out with, to a sawed-off shotgun that was supposedly hidden near the cash register.

He had heard all the stories about her killings, and a local punk had told him that she didn’t try to shoot It out with robbers while they were in her store. She had no problem killing them in the parking lot, before they got into their cars.

He circled the block and parked in the space at the end of the store, out of view of the old lady as she sat on her stool behind the cash register.

Skizicks looked around, making sure there were no cops in the area, or getting ready to enter the freeway before he pulled his stolen .32 revolver, fake mustache and black mask that covered his eyes out of the glove box.

The old lady’s store held the record as the most robbed business in the city of Alhambra, but this time the old lady didn’t have her little pistol in her hand, when Skezicks walked through the door with his hoodie covering his head.

She was losing her touch. Most robbers hit her late at night, and it was only three in the afternoon when this punk got the jump on her, as she lit her eighteenth Luck Strike cigarette of the day.

She stayed calm, considering that he had his little gun pointed directly at her face from about three feet away.

He could see her hands as she lit her cigarette and he said, “Okay grandma just keep cool and I won’t have to shoot you. Keep your hands where I can see them. I’m going to come around to the cash register and don’t try any of your hideaway gun shit on me.”

The old lady did not appear nervous as he stepped around the counter, pulling her along with him, holding her by her blouse as she took tiny steps along with him.

They were very close to each other when she coughed directly in his face. “Fucking old lady,” he yelled, “Didn’t anyone teach you to cover your mouth when you cough.”

Skizicks didn’t want to hurt a woman her age. He knew what happened to guys in the joint if they got caught after they hurt old people, but he didn’t have time to tie her up. He hit her in the temple with the barrel of his revolver, trying not to do too much damage, before he put her gently on the floor.

It was a good haul for a daytime stick-up. He took two six packs of Colt 45 and a carton of smokes, placed them in the paper bag with the cash and postage stamps he had taken before he walked out of the store, watching for cops as he went out.

He took his girlfriend Bonnie out for chili dogs that evening. Skizicks told her about his caper that afternoon, and she suggested that they go home and celebrate with a few Colt 45’s. It wasn’t every day that someone could get the jump on the old mama-san she told him.

Two days later, Skizicks was as sick as a dog. Tina said they needed to go to the hospital, there was a lot of that corona-virus going around she advised him. He told her that he didn’t want to go to the hospital.

Man, I got a terrible headache,” he said. “Could you go to the drug store and get something for this pain.”

Bonnie was waiting in line to ask the pharmacist if he could recommend any over the counter medication, when she overheard two older ladies talking about the Japanese lady that owned the liquor store near the freeway. Bonnie turned towards the ladies and heard one of them say, “Poor old thing, after all those years of running that awful liquor store by herself, she dies of the corona-virus.”

The End


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