VI: Round One

Age 17

“This is Allison,” He says, tilting his head toward the girl as she strides in, heels tapping on the concrete.

I lift my head from the arm of the couch, lowering my book in order to peek over at her. She’s tall, and annoyingly pretty in that cute, bratty way. Wavy brown hair, loose and hanging down just above her elbows. Rosy cheeks and high cheek bones, paired with her perfect nose; I immediately sigh in irritation and swing my legs over the edge of the couch. I stand, rising to my full height, the top of my head reaching just above her chin. Her lips turn up into a brisk smirk as she strides toward me, her legs impressively long in her mini skirt. She looks like that model CoCo, but with a boob job. I quietly decide not to like her for a while. You know, because I can.

“You’ll be training her, starting tomorrow,” He walks past me and straight into the next room, “You, not Cheryl,” he calls from the other room.

I study her as she lowers herself gracefully onto the other side of the couch and slouches into the back of the seat. Shrugging my shoulders, I shove my hands into my back pockets and study her for a moment. She stares back at me, chin tilted slightly upward. It’s only then that I realize that she is at least five years older than me, in her early twenties. No wonder she doesn’t seem pleased at the prospect of being ‘trained’ by a kid.

Evening

I slide the card into the lock, push the door open and toss my purse onto the hotel room dresser. The shower shuts off in the washroom and Cheryl’s voice floats out, filling the room with her favorite shower song. I sit cross-legged on the edge of the bed and lean over to grab the clicker. Cheryl’s song turns to a hum as she steps into the room swathed in a towel and running a brush through her hair.

“She’s going to be a pain in the ass,” I say tersely, “She’s in her twenties and I have to train her. Did I mention that she’s hot?”

Cheryl flips her hair over, “Don’t be a snob,” Her brush works furiously at the tangles in her hair, “You’ll take her on a few runs and it’ll be over with. Just get her up to speed and then you won’t have to deal with her anymore.”

I roll my eyes and flop back onto the bed, spread eagle, and stare at the ceiling.

Several weeks later

“This is easy. I’m not slowing down for you if you can’t keep up,” I vault myself over the low wall, tossing a glance over my shoulder to see Ashley picking her way through the rubble and making her way up the slope, “And if you muss things up because of what you’re wearing, I’m taking the time now to tell you ‘I told you so.'”

We’re near the tracks, coming up from under one of the bridges. She had worn thin ballet flats and a skirt, against my warnings. She looks more like a college student from a private university than what she is. I tug my sleeves over my hands and pull the band of my jeans higher up my hips. My sneakers are scuffed, the way they should be. There’s a tube the size of a roll of quarters hanging from a chain around my neck, held in place and hidden between my breasts with the help of a good sports bra.

“Just hang on! There’s too many rocks here, I’ll break my ankle if I go faster,” Her voice is thick with frustration. I smile.

I slip my fingers into my front pockets, walking steadily toward the next neighborhood. I ignore her grunts and protests. For someone in decent shape, she sure doesn’t seem to know how to use it. Whatever, it must be those ridiculous shoes.

My feet hit sidewalk soon enough and a hundred paces later I hear the slapping sound of her flats against the cracked concrete as she jogs to catch up.

“Look, I know you’re not exactly thrilled about this,” She’s panting as she says it, “But do you really have to be such a bitch about it?”

I turn to face her, slowing to her pace as I walk backward, “You look. You don’t have to be here. You could be off doing whatever the fuck it is you normally do,” I glance back to be sure I’m not about to walk into a tree. Wouldn’t that been great? “You came to us and said you wanted to work. You dropped out of university for this? To learn how to ‘safely’ drop off goods to people you don’t know, with contents you don’t know, for someone you barely know, so that you can get away from mommy and daddy? Then have the nerve to tell me to be nice about it?”

I’ve stopped walking by now. I’m standing with the cuffs of my sleeves wrapped up in my fists, staring straight up at her. She has a nice jawline.

“Give me a reason to be anything but annoyed by this and I’ll slow down so you don’t stub your pretty little toes,” I take another few steps as I turn around, “Quit complaining and keep up.”

Ashley’s face tightens, but she shuts up. I pick up my pace again, vaguely irritated about the fact that, her having caught up to me, her strides eat up nearly two of mine.

We veer off the neighborhood’s main road. The houses are close together and small, with small yards and small porches and small driveways and small gardens. I turn to the fifth on the left, noting that only one of the windows had a half open blind. I move up the two steps and tap on the door, then step back to the edge of the porch and watch the windows. Ashley waits on the walkway that leads up to the porch, shifting back and forth on her satin clad feet.

A man in his early thirties answers the door and invites us in. We walk to the back room, as we always do whenever I make a drop here. Ashley follows cautiously and I’m somewhat surprised by how well she refrains from meddling. Oh, and speaking. Complaining, too.

He shuts the door to the curtained room and pulls a box from the top shelf of the open closet. A wad of cash comes out in his hand and he turns to me expectantly. I tug the tube from between my breasts and open it, pulling out the small, dark pouch inside it. I can tell that there’s a plastic baggy in the pouch, but I’m not supposed to know that if anyone asks. Ever. I hand it to him with my left hand, and he accepts it the same way. I’ll question Ashley about that later, and ask her if she understands why.

“Do you need to wash your hands?” He asks, as always. I nod and follow him back into the hallway where he points me to the washroom. I wave Ashley in and shut the door, then quickly open the tube again and rinse it with soap and water. The wad of cash follows, bill by bill. I stack them evenly afterward and roll them together, then tuck them back into the tube, then shove it back underneath my bra.

I’ve delivered here before, multiple times, but I’m always careful. I leave the water running and lower myself, keeping my feet flat, but lowering myself enough to peek under the door. No one there. I step closer to the side of the door and listen for a second, then reach over and turn the water off. It gives me enough time to listen at the door for a few more seconds without the water running, without taking more time than it would to dry my hands and walk to the door, had that actually been what I was doing.

I open the door and wait for a second, then step out. The man is waiting at the end of the hall, on the living room side. I walk toward him and he leads me to the back door.

“You take care! Thanks for stopping by,” He says as he lets us out.

We slip through the next yard and onto the street again, making our way down to the main road. Ashley is blessedly quiet. I hope that she’s waiting for us to get back to the tracks before asking her questions.

That was drop one of five. You see, at the time, I didn’t know there would be a limit.

Comments
  1. Dana Renee' says:

    Love your writing – you write in a way that keeps me interested! Looking forward to your next piece!

  2. Kay says:

    You amaze me yet again love!! 😀 I opened up the sight and scared teh heck otu of my best friend cause i was like YESSSSSSS!!!!!!!!

  3. Dana Renee' says:

    You should write a book…I’ve read enough of your writing to know that a book written by you would be awesome! Blessings!

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