Overworked and under paid, the hero of this funny short story is making a delivery when he has an altercation with the California Police.
Certain things stick with you, like a drunken friend’s late night sleaze bar Zen, “Jack, good sex is like an out of control bonfire. When you both finally sleep, you dream its raining matches.”
Goodwill laid me off, the one on Sepulveda, budget cuts they said. I was there to go fix it man. When I started my current job, I was hurting for money and with a new partner. It’s now been four long years without a raise. Not even a frozen turkey on Christmas.
Mia is not happy with my career choices.
“That’s bullshit Jack,” she says.
“I bring home a check don’t I? And I don’t see you returning the sex toys I bring you. How about the $75.00 Buddha I repaired and gave you on Valentine’s Day?”
The bedroom door snaps shut, locks. It’s hard to forget that sound, a cracked whip at the Midnight Garden of Good and Evil. I’m locked out again.
Arriving early at work, my boss quacks, “Jack, I have a rush order, Stanford Ranch. Take Maverick with you.”
That Aflac S.O.B. hates my name. Hey, there are times I hate my name.
“Jesus, its only 7:45 in the morning,” I say.
“What?” he glares?
He knows exactly what I said?
“Mr. Bennington wants his items delivered right away, now go,” says Aflac.
His mother’s blue money purchased the business for Mama’s boy, Jenkins. But gifted money can make anything work, even the expensive broken toys of love and loneliness that I repair. Just ask our wealthy customers.
The elderly Mrs. Jenkins lives in France. She’s never heard of Evil Pleasures, our porn shop boutique on the boulevard, a Hollywood go-to-shop for those searching for uncomplicated love. It’s true dude, seen it, for the right kind of money, all love is for sale.
Mr. Jenkins is a cruel, driven man, always angry. And he’s been known to hit on my Mia, even at the cheesy holiday parties. She never complains because we need the money.
Fact, in LA. the freeways hiss, but this morning, it’s raining, and windy. So today the roads sizzle, like butter on a hot sauté pan. I move from fast lane to fast lane, on the Artesia where all the lanes are fast, especially when you are late.
I say, ‘to hell with it,’ and motor into the commuter lane, illegally.
“Hang on Maverick,” I say, in my very best noir Clint Eastwood voice.
Mav pays no attention, leans against the foggy glass, his tan skin rippled with tattoos. I imagine he says, “Jack, aren’t you going to call me a stud muffin?”
Maverick is new to LA., gorgeous and vulnerable, a very sexy amalgamation.
Suddenly, words escape my mouth, “I fantasize about you.”
This rush hour delivery crap happens too often. I am so pissed off, I say, “The hell with it,” I need the tip, so I blast my old Prius up to 75.
“Oh hell nah!” I say with abandon, as we creep up to 80 miles per hour. We fly by jealous commuters. We get stink eye.
“Hang on brah,” Maybe a big tip will get me off the couch. Mav seems to care less about my marriage troubles.
On the worn sofa, in a dark corner of my mind, my smirking alter ego gloats. Alter-Jack whispers, “Mia is cheating on your ass and not just with Jenkins.”
“You have no evidence,” I say to myself out loud. “FFFFuck you”, I stammer at my alter-ego Jack.
“Maverick, you are so hot,” I blurt out, and kick open the saloon doors of my vocal chords, hoping he doesn’t just think I have Tourette’s syndrome.
At 85 angry miles per hour, it takes a full three minutes to pull over to the shoulder and stop, especially after clipping a black BMW, driven by a Harvey Weinstein look-a-like. Maverick freezes in silence, embarrassed he stares through the windshield. I can’t help but notice his strong chin, steel blue eyes.
“It’s not going to end well,” alter-ego Jack whispers.
“No bullshit,” I blurt out to Sofa Jack. Maverick must think I’m crazy.
It’s just like those reality TV cop shows. We freeze. I am all ears.
“Passenger, open your door slowly, come out, arms spread.”
LOUDER: “Passenger, open you door, come out, arms spread wide.”
Fear is pinhead, now, a miniature voodoo doll stuck in my throat. Outside, it’s a carnival of scary clowns with guns. Maverick looks pale, petrified.
DRIVER, “Tell your passenger–NOW!”
I imagine a female officer, maybe thirteen, a Valley Girl, with an itchy finger, already rehearsing her story for Happy Hour at the Spring Street Bar. I am not going to die today. I panic, kick off my right shoe, and bare toe the latch, kick Maverick as hard as I can out the door, then duck behind my seat.
I mumble to myself in horror, “Bonnie and Clyde, Bonnie and Clyde, la la la, dah dah dah, I can’t hear you. La la la, dah dah dah.”
Sparks dance in slow motion. I see Maverick flip ass over tea kettle, as he tumbles off the edge of the roadway. His flesh explodes with bullet holes. At the bottom of the grade, he rotates his hips one last time like a young Elvis, stills, dies.
“You can’t make this shit up,” I say to my captive audience of pirate ship perverts, thieves and burglars. Now I am one of the crew.
An old bald man, who left most of his sanity buried somewhere in Quảng Nam Province, cracks, “Damned, you may not get the death penalty man, but its Cali. You’re gonna get life.”
Four month’s have vanished. Mia is in Florida, supporting her new IT boy toy. I seem to live at my local 7-11, pulling extra hours to pay my bad side of town rent, and restitution, for destroying Mr. Jenkins anatomically correct sex doll, Maverick.
Dan has a MS Degree. He is the author of two Chapbooks, Nature’s Front Door & Expectation of Stars. Partial Credits: 101 Words, Amethyst, UK., Chaleur Magazine, Cleaver Magazine, California Quarterly, Curlew, UK., Dissections, Entropy, Esthetic Apostle, Foxglove, Friday Flash Fiction, Frogmore, Oddball, Poetry Northwest, The Quail Bell, Skylight 47, Spelk, Spillwords, The Fiction Pool, Urban Arts, Unstamatic, and Vita Brevis.