Two men, Caligula Polk and the narrator, found themselves in trouble in Mexico after running a lottery and monte game. The Mexican government sent the rurales, a group of armed police, after them. The pair managed to escape to the United States, first stopping in San Antonio and then New Orleans.
In New Orleans, they enjoyed the local drinks and tried to collect on some old debts. However, they were soon chased by the police and ended up on a train heading to Georgia.
When they woke up, they were in a small town called Mountain Valley. The landlord of the hotel they were staying in informed them of their location and offered them breakfast. The meal consisted of fried bacon, corn pone, and hominy, which the men found unappetizing compared to the food they were used to.
I never got inside of the legitimate line of graft but once.
Caligula and the narrator discussed their ideal meals, with Caligula preferring a lavish spread of antelope steaks, venison cutlets, and other rich dishes. The narrator, on the other hand, preferred a simpler meal of beefsteak smothered in mushrooms, enjoyed on a balcony in New York City with the sounds of streetcars and a hand-organ playing nearby. Caligula acknowledged that New York was known for its fine dining, but insisted that he wouldn't be swayed by the city's culinary temptations.
There’ll never be a perfect breakfast eaten until some man grows arms long enough to stretch down to New Orleans for his coffee and over to Norfolk for his rolls.