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Free Short Story
Hard delivery to the Windy City.
A Long Day Delivering Furniture in the Windy City
This day had started for me and my dog Kuzo at 4am, early enough to get from Circle City (Indianapolis) up through the Windy City (Chicago) traffic in time to get started delivering furniture to a 3rd. floor apartment before things got too hot on this fine July morning.
Things went pretty well, until my moving helpers were busy working a pillow-top mattress up all those stairs without any cover on it. They were both catching their breath still holding onto it with their hands right in the terrible stains on both sides. I was coming by with a lampshade carton in my hand, just to make it look good, when I noticed their hands right in and a face almost in the stains. I really couldn't help myself and said that the owner was dying of some mysterious sexual disease that they might not want to have their hands in those stains.
They both agreed so fast, they let go of it. It went sliding down the stairs, stopping just short of going through the railing, only knocking a potted plant to it's early death three stories below. They were both in shock, wondering if they might need medical attention to stop the onslaught of some unmentionable disease. I was laughing so hard I had trouble speaking for several minutes, to finally let them know I was just kidding. Needless to say, they didn't think it was nearly as funny as I did. My motto while moving furniture was that it was better to laugh than it was to cry, cause quite often it hurt enough to cry, at least laughing made you feel better.
Other than that, the day went quite well, getting another customer delivered in expert fashion by the Mayflower professionals. You know what a professional mover is; it's a wino they pull out of the gutter, dust him off, put a curiously strong mint in his mouth, a company t-shirt on him, and now he's a professional mover! Sorry for that, it's a old movers joke, although possibly true with some moving companies!
A Place of Sanctuary
Anyway, my day had been long when I pulled into the Dollar Inn on Michigan Ave. in Carmel at around 6:30 that evening. It was the closest motel to Mayflower headquarters that had truck parking, a bar that served food, and allowed dogs in the rooms. After all, my air conditioning had gone out, so I needed to get it fixed at headquarters tomorrow. Besides it was way too hot for either me or my dog Kuzo to sleep in the truck, so I'll splurge on a "flea-bag" room for night.
I took Kuzo for a quick walk, letting him do his nature thing, barely holding him back when he caught a glimpse of a squirrel that reminded him of supper. I put him on a twenty foot cable at the rear of the trailer, this should keep any thieves away that sometimes were seen lurking aroung the trucks.
As I walk in the side door of Circle T's bar, I wonder if any of my moving friends are in town and here to let go of some stress. Before the door even slams shut, the grizzled-faced owner Toni spits out "Hey there Slim, haven't seen you for awhile! You wanna shot with that Bud?" as she sets a sweaty longneck in front of me.
"Yeah, I guess I need a shot of Jaeger as well. So where is Bill at, and the rest of Dobson's boys?" I say after a good long pull on my beer.
I notice after my eyes adjust to the dim bar lighting, that Toni looks even more hagard than usual, like an aged prize-fighter whose old cuts and lumps have turned to haphazard maze of wrinkles and dimples. She's right before me now pouring us both a shot, as she assumes a privileged tone to give me information.
"Well Bill's up front getting a room, Bobby's in the can taking care of business, and Tim & Ziggy are over to Mayflower dealing with whatever, meaning they should be here by now. You know we're having a 74th. birthday party for your boss Chief tonight at 9? I needed that shot, it's been hell lately around here lately, as I had to fire Craig for stealing an drinking too much of my stock, an Mary's been sick. So I've been opening and closing until I get someone to fill in, ya wanna job?" she throws out at me, as she laughs and walks away.
"Naw, I already work too much at the job I got, 100 hours a week is enough! It would be great if I didn't get ripped off so much from the claims dept. I might be making money then!" I retort with more than a little venom in my voice.
"So you gonna be here for Chiefs' party?" she asks as she refills both our shot glasses. "I think Bill's got a stripper coming, dressed as a policewomen!" she adds and gives me a knowing wink.
"Hell, I don't know, I need some good sleep to catch up, my ac's been out." I respond after kicking back the new shot and draining my beer. "Hold off for a minute Toni, I need to go walk my dog an get him in my room. He's had too much of the heat with that long hair he's got!" I toss over my shoulder, as I head to get Kuzo for a good walk before heading to our room.
Shock and Dismay
Kuzo's the smartest and best I've ever had, part Australian shepherd and part Chow, he's fearless, obedient, and protective. Having been raised in my Kenworth T-600 semi, this is his and my home for the most part, and he protects it with his life.
Once I got Kuzo securly on his leash, we walk first out toward the 465 truck bypass that circles Indianapolis. I'm not sure if that's why truckers call it Circle City or because of it being home to the Indianapolis 500; where cars race for hours in circles. Though, I believe it's the later!
I spend time with my dog, running him, talking to him and taking him through his routine of sitting, laying down, heeling, and staying sitting off leash. He's doing superb! As we're going along the other fence-line towards Michigan Ave.
I glance back to see where our room is located and can't believe my eyes! There's a naked man posing seductively in a doorway just down a couple of doors from our room, just leisurely smoking a cigarette while leaning in the door frame. I quickly look away, trying hard not to even glance again in that direction, focusing my eyes on Kuzo and our walk. I'm shocked and slightly pissed, as it seems obvious that his proposition is directed at me!
This idiot stays there posing naked for the 20-30 minutes that I continue to walk Kuzo. When Kuzo finally does the needed squat and grunt, I'm as relieved as he must be. Trying to still look away from this #$@%** $#, I take Kuzo back to the room, set him up with food and water, and shoot back to the bar.
Toni takes one glance at me and says, "Who pissed on your Wheaties!? You look like you need another shot? This one's on me!" she says as she presses closer ready to fulfill her role as "shrink" from behind the bar.
"I don't even believe this sh*t! Some #%$@&ing f#@$%t was just posing naked in his doorway in a clearly propositional way, the whole time I walked Kuzo!" I almost shout out. Both Toni and Bobby across the bar are shaking their heads in disgust! "It was about all I could do to not go over there and kick the crap out of him! It's a good thing for him that he didn't say anything to me."
"Well, it's a good thing you didn't. I think they just passed the hate crime laws, protecting them!" Bobby says, having been drawn into this disgusting conversation.
I grab a fresh long-neck and go to the back shoot some pool, figuring it'll help take my mind off of this traumatizing event. After an hour of drinking beer and shooting pool, I've completely put out of my mind this close encounter of a perverse kind. I head out the side and remembering my recent encounter, I head up the closer side of the motel towards Bob Evans to get some "good food," not feeling like bar food.
After all the beers from earlier, and a bellyful of good food, I might not have given another thought to the events from earlier. I was walking down my side of the motel, when I noticed three young children playing in the grassy area between the two buildings. The kids playing brought my own children to mind, not having seen them for several months, it being the busy season. Just watching them brought tears to my eyes as I walked past them.
Paradise Destroyed, Wild Animal Set to Attack
At that moment, I thought that it's a real good thing that the pervert isn't still out here, when I noticed him twenty feet ahead of me. He was still naked on his hands and knees, watching the children so intently that he didn't even notice me coming towards him right through his line of vision. He had the appearance of a predatory wolf, staring at those little children like a hungry wolf stalking lambs!
Something welled up inside me, something unrecognizable, unlike any anger or urge to fight that I'ld ever known. Even now, I can only call it a righteous indignation, not knowing what it was. Just seeing this man, in appearance more like a hungry animal stalking his prey, licking his lips, so ferociously intent on these lambs, that he did not acknowledge me walking directly into his field of vision until I was 8-10 feet away.
When he realized that his plotting for prey was spoiled , it was too late! The call to protect those dear children and the anger at what I was witnessing had over-whelmed me. Not to the point of being uncontrollable, but I only saw red. I rushed the last three strides towards this predator, he jumped to his feet in defense.
I leaned to my right to bring a haymaker all the way from Alabama, he leaned back while ducking to my left. I jumped up with a fake/step kick, (faking with my right foot only to step higher and kick with my left). He saw the right fake and ducked to my left andstepped right into the left foot. This sent him flying to the far wall, having caught him squarely in the face. Obviously, this really hurt with the force that I put behind the best kick of my life!
My righteous anger had not subsided and I almost ran in after him. Knowing the extent of my own anger, I stopped myself at the room's threshold, realizing if I went beyond it, I was truly guilty of "home invasion." Just the fact that I stopped was truly a miracle! Still in a rage, I screamed at him, " You stupid F@$#%&t, keep your @ss in your room, or put some clothes on!" and stormed off towards the bar. As I rounded the motel corner, I heard his door slam shut.
The minute I entered the bar, Toni took one look at me, and with a knowing urgency said "Slim, tell me what's happened, even as she set me up with a beer and a shot of Jaeger. As I recounted this story, no one would let me buy a drink, they just kept coming for three rounds, until I finished.
Then Toni, with all the wisdom of her years as a rough-neck bar owner says, "Listen up Slim, you had better go hide out in your room. I agree with what you did, but he's only proveable guilty of "indecent exposure." You on the other hand are guilty of probably aggravated assault! Here take this 6-pk and go to your room, before cops get here and we have to bail you out of jail!" No, you don't owe me nothin, these guys have put up enuff money, you could drink all night for free!"
"Yeah, you're definitely right Toni. Tell Chief I said, "Happy 74th. or whichever birthday it is! Hey thanks alot, Toni, I guess I'll see you for breakfast. Let me know if the boys in blue show up!" I said then grabbed the 6-pack and went to my room, glancing to his room, noticing athat his door was shut, and an old Chevy van parked right in front of the door.
I made it through about half a beer before the cops showed up! They didn't want to hear anything that I had to say, surmising that I must have worked him over from the looks of his face. He appeared as an innocent angel, having been stomped unmercilessly by some homophobic truck driver! They cuffed me, searched my room for contraband, then slammed me in the back of a herd of police cars. The only reason they didn't shoot my dog was that I put him in the bathroom before I answered the door. The real kicker was, while I was in the back of the cop car, they had the kids out there pointing at me and saying I attacked this poor old man for no reason!
That's when I woke up in a cold sweat, over-whelmed with relief to find myself still in my hotel bed. Not knowing how much of these memories were nightmares or reality, I got up and went to give back some of this rental beer in the toilet. Kuzo is watching me nervously as he hears me relieving myself, obviously needing to do the same. I come out of the bathroom and notice five beers on ice in the sink, just as I'm reaching for his leash.
It was a real, trus story, everything but the cops, thank God, that was a nightmare! I pretty much forgot about this incident until about a year later, when we stopped in again to the Dollar Inn. This time, my fifteen year old son was out with me and Kuzo, learning how hard it is to have to work at a job such as moving furniture for the summer.
Toni let me bring my son into the bar to eat and shoot some pool, as long as he stayed with me and away from the bar. I asked him to take Kuzo for a walk while I was finishing up a game, and being the good son that he is, went and took care of our dog.
After some twenty minutes, Andy came back in all wide-eyed, saying some man on the other side was posing naked in his doorway. After confirming that Andy was indeed alright, I ran around the corner to where he said this naked man was. I alternately thank God that no one was there, or ask God's forgiveness for being too scared to get the police involved.
It even crosses my mind, although I hate to admit it, that I might should have introduced this man to God. No to be more exact, sent him to the feet of God. Not that I feel qualified to be judge or jury, just that I pray that their is no children's blood on my hands after what I saw that predator doing. Maybe you had to be there and see the look in his eyes and the animal-like look on his face to understand!
Thanks for bearing with me through this long story!
A trucking story.
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