Note from Ed.: Walt has his eyes glued to several monitors -- not literally! -- following the events in Ukraine and Gaza. He has asked me if I have something, preferably in a lighter vein, with which to fill this space. And so I do, a little story from Cheats, Charlatans, and Chicanery, by Andreas Schroeder (McClelland and Stewart, 1997). If this tale of a botched holdup attempt suggests that Albertans are dumb rednecks -- the Texans of Canada? -- I can only say that they're not all like that.
Two Alberta heisters, just arrived in Vancouver in January of 1985, felt the urgent need to increase their bank balance. Since it was five o'clock in the morning, and no banks were open, they held up the attendant of an all-night PetroCan gas station. The take was meagre, just enough for a meal and a motel, but they couldn't find a motel. Unfamiliar with Vancouver, they criss-crossed the Kitsilano area, looking for signs.
When you're lost in a big city, where better to get directions than -- a gas station? By now they'd been circling for so long, they decided to pull in to one to ask. It was a PetroCan station, much like the one they'd help up half an hour early. Actually, it was the same gas station they'd help up half an hour earlier, but they didn't recognize that fact.
They didn't recognize the attendant either, but he certainly recognized them. He'd only just got himself untied and been dialling the police. And now, good God in heaven, here they came again.
But they just wanted to know where they could find "a halfways cheap motel, eh?", and, when he realized they hadn't recognized him the attendant gave them some directions and then redoubled his efforts on the phone. He was just describing his two assailants to the police and reporting the address of the motel to which he'd sent them, when, lo and behold, here they came back a third time!
They couldn't get their pickup started. They needed a boost or something? Could he give them, like, a boost?
The attendant explained that he didn't know anything about engines and that all the repair stuff was locked away in the garage, but that the mechanic would be in in about two hours.
They didn't want to wait for two hours. But a tow truck would be able to give them a boost, eh? Would he, like, call them a tow truck?
He certainly would. He did. The number he called was the same one he'd been connected to five minutes earlier. And the two truck that showed up five minutes later had a flashing light on it, all right, but it was red, not yellow. It towed the heisters straight to jail.