From the Elmore Leonard novel Swag
In Elmore Leonard‘s 1976 novel Swag (more appropriately retitled “Ryan’s Rule” in paperback), we first meet Frank Ryan, an “almost honest” used car salesman from Red Bowers Chevrolet in Detroit, who decides NOT to testify against small-time car thief Ernest “Stick” Stickley, Jr.
Instead, he ropes the would-be felon into a teaming up with him for a series of armed robberies, based on a set set of foolproof rules for armed robbery he’s cooked up. It must work–soon enough, the pair are raking in three to five grand a week, knocking over grocery stores, bars, liquor stores, gas stations, and the like.
Of course, if you think they live happily ever after, you don’t know your Elmore.
But I digress…
Here are the rules. Proceed with caution.
- Always be polite on the job and say please and thank you.
- Never say more than necessary. Less is more.
- Never call your partner by name-unless you use a made-up name.
- Never look suspicious or like a bum and dress well.
- Never use your own car.
- Never count the take in the car.
- Never flash money in a bar or with women.
- Never go back to an old bar or hangout once you have moved up.
- Never tell anyone your business and never tell a junkie even your name.
- Never associate with people known to be in crime.