No answer to her knock. Sloshing traffic and hammering rain – gutters full and coming over the walks.

images-1  Okay, this is cool. Place is dry, I’ll chill ‘til it slows down.  Knock again in a couple minutes.

She leaned her bike, pulled off her bag, sat down and got comfortable with her back against the door. She reached in, grabbed a cracker and scooped it across the tub of frosting deep in her bag.

The door imploded, “What the hell?!  Get the hell outta here.  Get it?!”

Sarah tumbled back onto steel-toed boots.  She jolted to her feet, fumbled with her bike, caught her bag in the handlebar and that perfectly frosted graham plummeted down the racing gutter.  He was six-foot-six, his hair in blue curlers.

“I’m here to pick up a package, I’m from a messenger service – Lickety-Split.”

“Yeah?  Well we ain’t got any and we ain’t interested.  Like I said, get the hell.”

“No, I’m supposed to pick up a package here, this morning.  Someone called from here.”

He slumped, “They don’t tell me shit, ‘til too late.”  He slammed the door.  She heard the bolt jam home.

And?

She hovered clueless for a full minute, slipped into her strap and turned her bike toward the storm. She grabbed at her radio to call Alex. A woman opened the door.

“You’re the messenger? How old are you?  Bring your bike in here, I have something for you.”

“Yeah, well, okay…I’m eighteen.”

“Right, and these tits are real.”

Sarah rolled past her into the dim lobby and swung her bike around.  The acid woman bolted the door.

 She was tall, Chinese, mid-thirties and as tired as her robe. She grimaced as she limped past Sarah. She lifted a hinged portion of the countertop, ducked under and lowered the top back into place.  Below the counter, on her haunches, she fiddled with something there in the dark, cursed and, releasing a long breath, stood up and edged what looked like a small shoebox in a plain brown wrapper onto the counter.  She pushed it toward Sarah.

“What else you got in that bag?”

“My stuff, food.”

“Dump it out, there on the table.”

“Why?”

“Just dump it the fuck out, okay?”

“But…”

“You can put it all back in, but this goes in first – in the bottom.”

Sarah squirmed out of her bag, opened the flap and turned it up.  Out onto the table tumbled her wallet, the second Croissan’wich, the box of grahams and the blue and white cylinder of vanilla frosting.

“Cake frosting?”

“It’s really good on graham crackers.”

“Yeah, I’ll have to try that.

This leaves here today and never comes back and you were never here.”

“Sure, right, what is it, uranium?”

“We square on this? You were never here.  I don’t exist.  This club don’t exist.  Be bad for you if it did.”

The woman limped back to the door, slid the bolt and the storm nearly sucked her away. Stretching, she reached for the handle, looked back at Sarah and jerked her head toward the street, “Out.”

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