Cereal Killer Turns Breakfast into Time of Horror for Small Town

Immokalee, Florida, February 27, 2021, Star-Gazer News Service–In a town where the most dangerous predators are alligators, and lately Burmese Pythons coming out of South Florida’s swamps, nobody thought Frosted Flakes boxes would ever be enclosed in yellow police crime scene tape on the front lawns of houses along highway 29 as far south as Everglades City.

According to Collier County sheriff Mort Gillespie, what has become a major crime spree began when little Bobby went to the pantry to grab a box of Frosted Flakes for breakfast and discovered it was missing. In between the Wheaties and the Raisin Bran boxed at a note typed in 14 point Georgia:

Call the Police and Tony the Tiger Dies.

Bobby’s father, Elmer, called his friend Mort Gillespie since the note didn’t prohibit calling either the sheriff or the highway patrol.

Evidence tech techs tore apart the pantry looking for clues. And they found a fingerprint match to the notorious cereal killer Conrad Jones who hadn’t been active in ten years.

“What brought him out of the woodwork?” mused the sheriff.

“We held a cereal camp several weeks ago,” said Mort. “We got a lot of publicity. Tony the Tiger held multiple interviews where he stressed the values of a good breakfast and sports.”

According to the sheriff’s department, news of the crime wasn’t released to the public until a battered box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes was found in a lonely alley near the casino.  Two days later, a box of Rice Krispies was discovered hanging from a palm tree several miles away.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, state troopers are canvassing neighborhoods and hauling in the usual suspects to learn whether anyone on the street knows the whereabouts of Conrad Jones.

“This is especially hard on the kids,” said FHP spokesman Harold Atkins. “We’re asking for the public’s help in locating witnesses and cereal lovers, in general, to make breakfast safe again. After all, it’s the most important meal of the day.”

Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter

The Big Grape-Nuts Shortage

Just to clarify. The shortage of this venerable Post cereal, created in 1897, is big, not the Grape-Nuts. Who do we blame for this? Consumers. Cereal sales had been falling until the pandemic sent millions of people to the cereal aisles they didn’t know existed.

When I was a kid, my brothers and I campaigned for Sugar Crisp and Frosted Flakes while our parents stocked up on Grape-Nuts, the now discontinued Grape-Nuts Flakes, and the now discontinued Krumbles. When Krumbles went away, I switched over to Grape-Nuts.

My claim was that grape nuts were really scuppernongs that were harvested so late in the season that they couldn’t be eaten off the vine, much less turned into wine and jelly.

Our grandfather claimed that he’d been eating Grape-Nuts since he was a farmer in Illinois because he was ahead of his time and lined up for the first ready-to-eat cereal. However, he claimed it was made out of soybeans and that the smell that once hovered over Decatur, Illinois from the Staley Company was soybeans roasting over an open fire to be shipped to C. W. Post for the cereal.

Our parents said the cereal was made from wheat flour and malted barley flour and other stuff. The “other stuff,” it seemed, left room for either soybeans or scuppernongs.

According to Post,  “So, why is it called Grape-Nuts? As with many great emblems in history, there are two versions of the story. One says that Mr. Post believed glucose, which he called ‘grape sugar,’ formed during the baking process. This, combined with the nutty flavor of the cereal, is said to have inspired its name. Another explanation claims that the cereal got its name from its resemblance to grape seeds, or grape ‘nuts.’”

Years after our family’s debates about soybeans and scuppernongs, Grandfather died, and when we read his will we found that he had left each of us 100 pounds of Grape-Nuts because, as the old ad said, “they were better than gold.” Unfortunately, wevils ate away our riches at the warehouse, and this explains why we didn’t go to Harvard or Yale or the Riviera.

Nonetheless, I’ve been loyal to the cereal for old times’ sake.

Malcolm

My books include Fate’s Arrows, The Sun Singer, and Special Investigative Reporter.