Trash Pickup - Flash fiction
It was a simple trash pick-up. She needed furniture hauled away, some yard refuse and he owned a pickup truck; that was it. No other connection, no nuance, just a girl replying to an ad offering trash removal services.
She'd been apprehensive, exchanging emails with a stranger, giving out her home address. When they'd sorted out the details and he'd finally requested an address for the pickup, she'd stared at her replying email for nearly thirty minutes before she could bring herself to hit the send button. Finally, amidst a not-so-mild anxiety attack, she clicked the mouse and awaited the reply, hoping she could decipher something from it. That it would betray some psychosis his previously polite,clipped emails hadn't.
Well, that was it, wasn't it? Who the hell says "Alrighty" ? She stared at the single word on the screen.
Alrighty? what the hell was that?
She glanced to her right, where the enormous yellow notice form the city lay, glaring, on the desk beside her laptop.
Notice to remove all indoor furniture from porch and brush-pile from yard. Further notice will result in legal action.
I put the fucking chair on the back porch last night and the brush pile has been there from the previous tenants since I moved in! The furious thought ran through her head again, her pulse rising at the image of the smarmy city code enforcer, smiling at her as he handed her the piece of paper. She drew a deep, purposeful breath.
Easy She told herself, It'll be dealt with tomorrow.
After a troubled night's sleep, she rose as usual; coffee, breakfast, shower, more coffee. By eleven o'clock she was nervously perched on a kitchen stool, her anxiety only made worse by the caffeine coursing its way through her body as she watched the front window diligently for his truck. He came at 11:30 on the dot, as agreed, and loaded the piled up furniture and bagged brush from the yard into his pickup. Then came the moment of truth, the most terrifying moment for her. He knocked on the door. She stood for a moment, clutching the money in her sweating palm, before opening it.
"Afternoon, miss. I've got everything loaded up and ready to go.." he smiled, awaiting payment.
She thrust the money at him
"Here you go, thank you, thank you." She began to close the door hurriedly, but a thick, calloused hand blocked it's way.
"I'm sorry, so sorry to bother you, but could I trouble you for a glass of water? It's pretty hot out here and I've got a long drive to the dump."
She felt sheer panic race down her spine and settle into a cold ball in the pit of her stomach.
This is it, this is when he murders me...
"Water, yes, water. OK. Just wait here."
"Alrighty" he said, smiling
I'm a goner
She left the door slightly ajar and hurried to the kitchen, where she took a knife from the drawer, certain her gruesome death was imminent. Her hands shook as she filled the glass from a jug in the fridge, so much so that she spilled water everywhere. She cursed quietly to herself and rummaged through a cupboard for a dishtowel, inadvertently sending pots and pans clattering to the floor. She yelped, startled, and continued to dig for a towel. Then the voice came from close behind her.
"Are you alri-" his words were cut short by the knife now protruding from his chest.
He looked down "What the hell...? I came to see if you...were...ok..." slowly he sank to the floor as she stepped back, horrified at what she'd done.
"Oh my God! No! I told you to wait outside! why did sneak up on me like that?!"
"Why...would you have... a knife..?" he gasped
"Because of you! because of 'alrighty'! because you were going to kill me!"
"Kill...you?...'alrighty'? you.. asked me..to come here.." his face twisted in pain and confusion.
"No one says that, ok? No one! except psychos!"
"You stab me..and I'm...the...psycho.." he wheezed, blood bubbling from his mouth as he tried to force the words out. .."Alrighty..." His breath rasped, gurgled, and then he lay still, limp, on the cold tile floor.