Joe nodded his head again.
"But," he said as calmly as he could, "I need to get something from the back of the store."
The robber looked critically at him. Joe tried as best he could to put on an honest face.
He had no idea how to open the ATM, but he had to keep the gunman busy.
Finally the burglar gave in.
"Be back in one minute or your brother's gonna pay the price." He said. The gunman then stepped aside for the Joe to go.
Trying to stay calm as he walked, he began to formulate a plan.
He turned around the side of the counter, feeling the stare of the robber on his neck. He looked down and saw the cashier crouched on the floor, on the verge of hysteria.
Ever so slowly Joe entered the archway to the back of the store. He had to put his plan into action now.
Joe just hoped he could get through it alive.
To his left inside the archway Joe saw a phone attached to the wall. To his right was a wooden desk.
Joe took a deep breath, and purposely ran his toe into the desk.
"OUCH!" he yelled as loud as he could. He then held his foot and began bouncing.
"What is it?" the gunman yelled.
"Nothing, nothing!" exclaimed Joe, "I just stubbed my toe." He then made a few groans of pain as realistically as he could, and started to bend down towards his foot.
"Let me see if there's anything wrong with my toe," he yelled back to the robber.
"Well, hurry up!" the gunman urged him. Max watched Joe from the burglar's arms, as clueless as ever.
In one swift move as Joe bent down, he grasped the the phone with his left hand, under cover of the wall.
"Oh, I think it's okay," he said, and laid the phone ever so gently on the floor.
"Just give me a second," he told the gunman, and slowly pressed 9-1-1.