Call for Obstruction (The Courier #1)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.2) - First Day Jitters

Submitted: May 07, 2009

Reads: 333

Comments: 3

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Submitted: May 07, 2009



By the time I walk through the OTG office entrance I’m ten pounds lighter, but like Margery promised, my gut calms.

On the far side of the lobby, fifty or more couriers crowd around a bulletin board. It’s like standing outside a mosh pit, watching them slam and elbow each other while they reach for clipboards and keys.

“No announcements!” Margery’s voice rumbles like thunder over the throng. “Get on the road!”

After a momentary hush, everyone scatters as if Margery has her finger on a fast-forward button. No time to meet my new coworkers before the sheep push me out of the way to get out the door.

I’m left behind with Margery and a fifty-something guy with a bad comb-over. They stand beside the table where I signed that contract yesterday. I flash back to the moment of the black out and shiver.

“You.” Margery wiggles her wrinkled fingers my direction. “Where’s my coffee?”

“Coffee?” I say. “I didn’t know coffee delivery was in my job description.”

“What did you just say to me?” She leans forward with one hand on her hip, puffing hard on the cigarette that hangs from her lip, ash falling to the floor. A heatwave spreads across the room.

I swallow hard and my voice rises in pitch. “Seriously, is it in my contract, because I’ll go get—”

The old guy interrupts. “This must be the new kid.” He’s got one hand in the pocket of a khaki outrigger jacket. His other hand holds a fat cigar stub, which emits the pleasant aroma of fresh cedar. “How’s the diarrhea?” he asks while he combs greasy strips of black and gray hair over his clammy scalp.

My face turns red. Now’s the time for a snappy comeback, but nothing comes to mind. For once in my life, it’s probably better to keep my mouth shut.

Margery’s head snaps to the old guy. With a twitch, she pulls the cigarette from her lips and points it his direction. “Vern, get the hell out of here.”

Vern holds up his hands in defeat and backs away.

Margery turns to me. “Lighten up, Honey. You’re not the first driver to fake an illness to get out of working for old Margery. Some of you idiots even try it a couple times before you wise up. You’re not an idiot, are you?”

I shake my head, although getting fired from another job is now high on my agenda.

She motions for me to follow her toward the bulletin board, where she unhooks a set of keys and a clipboard. She throws them at me, and I manage to catch them both. “Let’s get your van signed out and get you on the road to Trinidad.” She pulls a pen out of the air and shoves it at me.

I hesitate to take it, afraid to put my name on anything Margery presents.

Her finger taps on the clipboard beside an empty signature block. “Honey, you sign or spend the rest of your day in the bathroom.”

After a long exhale, I take the pen and quickly cross the letter ‘X’ on the page: a fool’s attempt to escape her trickery.

Margery takes off toward the door, and I chase after her to the back lot, where only three vans remain. She opens the door on one of them and sweeps her hand at the cab. “Go ahead, get in and start it up.”

I jump behind the wheel and turn the key. The motor purrs, and the interior has that new car smell.

She points at the passenger seat. “That map will get you to the warehouse in southern Colorado, near Trinidad. Drop off your cargo and come back here.” Then she turns to leave.

What, no GPS? And considering the size of my employee contract, I expected her to have more to say. I lean out the door and call out, “That’s my training?”

She stops and turns. “Guess I forgot to warn you about the man-sized birds that attack the vans. Otherwise, you’re a smartass, you’ll figure it out.”

My eyes bulge. There’s the catch. “What do you mean, man-sized birds?”

Margery jogs away and hollers out, “Like I said, you’ll figure it out.”

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