Benny ate his oatmeal, peaches, and toast even though he really wanted fried chicken. Daddy said no, the restaurant didn't serve dinner for breakfast. Oatmeal will keep you regular, Daddy told him. Mama used to say keeping regular was important, so Benny didn't argue. Grace ordered oatmeal too. She thanked God for hers, but Benny didn't think it tasted good enough to be thankful for.
From his booth seat next to the window, he watched a freight train go by on the tracks across the street. The sun coming up on the other side flashed between the cars. Clack, clack, flash. Clack, clack, flash. Daddy and Grace looked tired because they stayed up all night driving and talking. Benny tried to stay awake, but the rumble of the car made him fall asleep. He dreamed about hiding from the police and a cow breathing on his head.
He lifted another spoonful of oatmeal to his mouth as a shiny red car parked beside Daddy's Olds. Clack, clack, flash. A skinny little man got out. Benny shivered and put his spoon back in the bowl. The man's yellow hair stuck up like it hadn't been combed in a long time, and he must have got his black and white striped shirt out of a dirty-clothes basket, because it was all wrinkled. A cigarette hung from his mouth and he squinted when the smoke got in his eye.
The man's halo, the color of a blister with the skin picked off, scared Benny. The man was mad. Really mad. He looked into the back of Daddy's car, saw the bag of money on the floor – Benny knew that's what he was looking for – and grabbed the door handle. But Daddy remembered to lock the doors. The mad man got madder when it wouldn't open. Clack, clack, flash. He went around to the door on the other side and yanked on the handle lots of times. It wouldn't open either. Benny thought he gave up because he went back to his own car then. But instead of getting in, he opened the trunk and pulled out a long, shiny piece of metal. Clack, clack. The train ended and the sun shined full in Benny's eyes. The man's head snapped up and he looked straight at the restaurant window.
Startled, Benny jumped sideways on the bench and bumped into Daddy, making the scrambled eggs fall off his fork.
"Whoa, son, what's wrong?"
Benny pointed out the window. "Bad man."
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