It had seemed unbearably hot in the truck as I drove Highway 299 from the coast to the center of northern California. It was made worse by the fact that the old Chevy had no air conditioning and every few miles there was a halt in traffic for road construction.
What was normally a four and a half hour road trip grew into nearly seven long hours, so I could hardly wait to get over the hill, past Whiskeytown and into Redding. That’s where I would stop to fuel up the truck and get a cool, refreshing soda pop.
As I pulled into the market and got out, I felt a sense of relief that at least half of his trip was finished. I opened the gas tank and pushed the fuel nozzle in and started filling the Chevy. I decided to head inside to use the restroom and to get that drink I had been thinking of for the last seventy miles.
After coming out of the bathroom, I walked over to the large glass doors holding every cold ice drink I could think of. I searched for my favorite and found it.
As I pulled it from the rack, I heard the door buzzer go off. This caused me to look upward at the convex mirror above my head.
To my surprise I saw a man waving what appeared to be a sawed off shot-gun at the cowering store clerk. I stood still hoping the clerk would jus’ hand over the cash in the register and the bandit would leave.
Instead the clerk appeared to be too petrified of the shot-gun and could not move. The bandit waved the weapon around more and more and shouted instructions but without any results. I quickly realized the situation was getting out of hand and I needed to act to keep the clerk from getting killed.
I looked at the soda pop I was holding, and then promptly started shaking it vigorously.
As I quickly moved towards the front of the small store I continued to shake it. I knew I had to judge my position and the bandits position jus’ right or I might end up getting shot defending the woman who was now pleading for her life.
Walking silently along the contour of the store, I came to the aisle the bandit was standing jus’ to the left of and turned. As I stepped out and towards the check out counter I was still shaking the can of soda as hard as I could.
“Where are the cupcakes?” I asked, “Oh, I see them.”
When I spoke, the startled bandit jumped swinging the shot-gun from the clerk towards me. When the robber did this, I stepped slightly to my right and raised the soda pop can, opening it into the face of the very surprised bandit.
As the soda pop finished spraying, I grabbed the arm of the bad guy and his shot-gun. Next I lowered my right shoulder into the bandit’s chest, jerking the man off-balance. The body check sent the bandit crashing into a nearby end-cap of potato chips.
It was over with seconds. The bandit was lying on the ground and the clerk was on the telephone calling the police and I had the sawed-off shot-gun in hand.
Within minutes the city police, the county sheriff’s department and the highway patrol arrived, taking control of the situation. It was the first and only time any of the officers had ever known of a suspect being apprehended by the carbonated blast of a soda pop can.