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"The Egg Eater": short story by Roosevelt Fitzgerald




1970 (year approximate) to 1996 (year approximate)


From the Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers (MS-01082) -- Short stories and poems by Roosevelt Fitzgerald file.

Digital ID



man001065. Roosevelt Fitzgerald Professional Papers, 1890-1996. MS-01082. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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OCR transcription





"Alright everybody, lie on the floor." <
Thirty or forty people hit the deck quicker than a turd splashes in a water-saver comode. You would have thought that a high speed Toro had passed overhead and shaved everyone in the diner down to floor length. As is always the case, even on the most well manicured lawns, there was a blade left standing. It wasn't a young blade but a blade that had survived the great scythe of life and death. One person, sitting at the counter, didn't move--that is—not much. He started talking and he talked a mile a minute.
"The floor is beautiful. The floor is clean. The floor is upside down. The floor has never been walked on. The floor never carries its weight. The floor..."
"Hey. What the fuck you doing?"
"You said to lie on the floor didn't you?"
"That's right."
"Well, that exactly what I'm doing. I'm lying on the floor. I've not said anything that's true about the floor."
"What are you—some kind of wise ass? This is a hold up."
"Have you ever eaten cold eggs and grits?"
"What's that got to do with it?"
"Grits and eggs are on my plate. That's what I'm eating and you have to eat eggs and grits while they're hot or you may as well throw them out and I don't believe in throwing away food. The bacon is ok if its cold but not the grits and eggs."
"Well you'd better get used to eating it cold or I'm going to blow you to hell and back."
"I'm glad you added that last part because I sure wouldn't like to
be permanently in hell."
"Are you going to hit the floor or not?"
"Now that you've validated my right of choice, even though not at all necessary, I don't think I will. You just go on and hold up the place, I'll finish my meal and we'll both be happy."
All the while that the egg eater spoke, his hand was on his own pistol which was cocked and the safety off. He had decided thirty- some years earlier that he would never have any of his stuff taken from him in his presence. He was prepared to both kill and die rather than have that happen.
Somehow, the hold-up guy sensed that the egg eater wasn't intimidated by him. Perhaps it was the scar that was a visible sign of having had open-heart surgery on the egg eater's chest. Perhaps it conveyed to the hold-up guy that the egg eater wasn't hung up on longevity. Afterall, a person who had had heart surgery and who wanted to live forever would surely not be eating eggs and bacon and be so insistent about it that even during a hold-up, refuse to leave the scrambledwells in front of him.
"Get the money out of the cash drawer," the first hold-up guy said to the other.
"What about him?"
"Don't worry about him."
The egg eater was involved with his meal. He had noted that both hold-up guys had double action revolvers and there are at least three instants between the first clicks and the moment the hammer crashes down. He knew that he could squeeze-off at least two rounds in less time than that so he ate his meal. He used his left hand because he needed his right for his weapon.
The hold-up guys cleaned out the drawer and started going, one
by one, to the patrons, on the floor, for their valuables. As the eighth victim was shelling out, the egg eater ran out of coffee. He waited. He waited until they were up to number eleven. His habit was to have a sip of coffee after each mouthful. Ok—that is not healthy. Such eaching technique dilutes the stomach acids which aid in digestion. Alright. But remember this; the egg eater had had heart surgery and continued to eat eggs. Do you think he would be concerned about a little stomach acid being mismanaged? No sir. He wanted coffee and he wasn't willing to wait for another twenty or thirty people to be robbed to get it. The waitresses were also prone on the floor while the robbery took place and, from all appearances, they would not stand up again until the entire drama was ended. The egg eater had waited as long as he could and he wasn't going to wait any longer. There were few things which he demanded be just right and his food and eating habits were well high on the list. He was as upset as the U.S. basketball team in the 1972 Olympics.
Suddenly, his right arm moved like a streak of lightening. His hand whipped out like the tongue of an egg-sucking snake inches away from its own dose of cholesterol. Two loud reports were heard and the foreheads of each of the hold-up guys were suddenly transformed to their own brand of over-easies with little dabs of catsup and they both
dropped to the floor like two warm turds from two Clydesdales who had been drinking from their own cargoes of Bud Light. There was screaming and the egg eater yelled above the din:
"Coffee. Coffee. Bring along some more sweet and low. Hurry before the cops get here or I'll never finish these eggs with all the questions they'll ask."