Temptation in Port Colborne

(Tribune March 2007)

I think I am going to rob a bank.

At my time of life, it is normal to think back on your dreams and your actual accomplishments to identify things you always wanted to do, but never did.

I always wanted to rob a bank. I think I will.

I have decided to rob a Port Colborne bank. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why. The Region is considering closing the police station in Port Colborne. I will wait until it is closed. Opportunity knocks.

I need an accomplice. I am going to recruit Bob Saracino.

Bob and I have a lot in common. We are both old geezers who are on pension and have to hold part time jobs to keep bread on the table. We are about the same age; Bob is about one month older than me. We both have run for public office, Regional Councillor.  I lost. Bob has never lost. We could both use a little extra change.

This is how it is going to work. We will both walk into the bank at the same time.  Everyone knows Bob but no one knows me. While Bob is shaking hands, slapping backs, trading jokes and all those other things that seasoned politicians do, I will walk up to the counter, tip my hat to the lady (we may be robbers but we must be courteous) and suggest that she line my shopping bag with assorted fives, tens and a few twenties.  I expect the lady will be so distracted by the presence of a noted public official that she will accommodate my request without batting an eyelash.

Next, I will slip out of the bank unnoticed, get on my bike, and start to pedal to Fort Erie.  Why Fort Erie? It’s the border! All robbers ride off to the border. Why a bike? I do not have a horse! Do I have to draw you a picture? Bob and I will have arranged to meet later at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo and split the loot. Of course he would have to trust me to show up. I would. I may be a robber, but I am an honorable robber.

Meanwhile, back at the bank, folks will have started yelling “Police! Police!” This is not very bright because, and I hope you have been paying attention, there are no police.  They are all now in St. Catharines. The Region closed the Port Colborne cop shop.  Remember?

Never fear. A radio alarm will go out and probably be picked up by a cruiser driving around Dain City. Chances are good that the Officer will be one of those new recruits that the force is signing up and chances are even better that he has never been to Port Colborne in his life.

Now if you have never been there you sure as heck do not know how to play Welland Canal Bridge roulette. This game is taught by old men to young children and is a basic life skill in Port Colborne. Needless to say, the Officer is going to get disoriented and lost. He may even make the mistake of asking for directions and that will only lead to getting the cruiser stuck in the sand on Nickel Beach.

See why I want to rob a Port Colborne bank? No police. It will be a piece of cake.

On second thought, someone will probably finger me as a suspect, and Bob, having had input to the police station closing decision, will also have to get out of town.

What is the future? Will Bob and I spend the rest of our lives together, as fugitives, on a Brazilian beach? This may not be such a good idea. Bob is a good fellow but having to spend the rest of my life alone with him, hiding from the law, will put a strain on our friendship.

So Bob, you better keep your day job as Regional Councillor. You better work hard to prevent the closure of the police station in Port Colborne.

At our age, we do not need these temptations.

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