12 August, 2012


Yuri and Pancho ducked into Joe's Diner.

It was about 3am.

Pancho tucked their skateboards behind the service station while Yuri went behind the counter and poured "coffees" for the two of them - the coffee consisting of half actual coffee, at most, and half chicory. Joe was cheap, and chicory was a coffee substitute used in prison.

"If anyone asks, we've been here for hours," said Pancho, still panting.

Wanda looked on bemused. Mike sat at one end of the diner with a couple of friends. James and his girlfriend at the time sat at the other end. It was 1995.

Wanda was the unofficial late night den mother for all the wayward teens of Parkland Heights. She'd give out free coffee when they came in penniless, and often feed them if they looked starved (a lot of latchkey kids from lower income neighborhoods would come in late at night).

And if ever there was trouble, the kids in the neighborhood would get Wanda's back - more than one robbery attempt had been thwarted simply with cold looks from LSD crazed teenagers.

Sure enough, Parkland Heights police were not far behind Yuri and Pancho - who had "been there for hours" as everyone attested.

Officer John Blackman knew better, and took the two outside to the parking lot for a more thorough investigation.


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