Messenger Services – Part IV

Alberto Orta

Riding through the late night or early morning emptiness of San Francisco with an ounce of Crystal Meth in my backpack heading towards my first delivery at the strip club in the Tenderloin, you’d think I ‘d be nervous about getting caught by the police, but I wasn’t feeling that at all. I was working again, doing what had been taken away from me. My feet were peddling and I was moving through the city with a messenger bag across my chest. Everything was taking place in front of me and moving at the speed that I controlled. The traffic that made the world a video game was non existent at this hour. I was free and more like a king in this world with the traffic lights to lazy and tired from a day of buzzing.

I turned left up Van Ness and headed North passed the fancy music school that still had a few kids on the steps with their instruments playing into the night. They gave their souls to the city, and were waiting to see what was being sent in the mail for their return. City Hall came and went quickly – the Roman style building standing out against the rest of the reconstruction that did little to mirror anything else taking place.

The street started to incline but I kept my feet flat in the the pedals, letting my muscles do all of the work while keeping my joints loose. I turned up the resistance the more I inclined to keep my heart rate steady. No need for a gym when you’re moving at work. I wasn’t thinking whether it was wrong or not to be carrying what I was, I just knew it was right doing what I had been trained to do.

I made a right on O’Farrell and rolled up the the theater. It was late but I was on time. The guy at the door was wide awake and looked like he might be a potential customer because there’s no way he was like that naturally. I told the guard to the backstage area who I was here to see, and he made me wait until he called upstairs. While I waited, I saw the girl dancing by herself onstage with a few people in the large theater looking because they had paid to look. You could tell that at one point, this was the home to amazing burlesque shows and many a night of memories, but that had deteriorated long ago, leaving the dancing to be that of what the sign outside promised.

Valerie came down and introduced herself, the walked with me upstairs. People were looking at me, at my bag actually, as Valerie took me into on of the back rooms.

“So, let’s see what you brought,” she said, not wasting any time. “Don’t worry, it’s safe. Besides, everyone is waiting on you. I kind of spread the word. Most of the girls here aren’t working now anyway. They’re here to make sure they can work tonight. If you have what I’ve been told you have in that bag of yours, well then, everyone’s going to be happy.”

I pulled out bag wrapped in a towel and unwrapped it slow, figuring that an unveiling of a product makes the product all the more valuable. I was a little mad at myself for now for not breaking it up into little bags to sell. I would have to measure it out in front of her and that would be a real pain in the ass. I had no idea how much 60 dollars of this was worth.

I opened the towel and revealed the bag of broken glass. Valerie took a step back and smiled, revealing her fangs and some very alive eyes.

“That looks just amazing – but more than 60 dollars worth.”

“Yes – I got a little more than that. I can measure it out for you if you like.”

“No, that’s fine. I’ll take the bag and sell it off here. How much?”

I was on the spot because I had no idea how much to charge for the bag. She could see that, so she reached into her purse and pulled out 800 in cash.

“That work?” she said.

I nodded, she took the entire bag and smiled.

“If it’s good, and it looks amazing, I’ll need you to come back on Friday with twice as much. I think people are going to start enjoying this. Let  me know. I think we’re in business together. If you can get other things as well, I have other clients and other jobs, so there’s always a need. Let’s hope your connection is as thorough as you. This could turn into something nice. Anyhow, I’m on soon so got to get ready. If you get a page from me, that means to bring two more on Friday. Stick around and watch if you like.”

I went downstairs and saw the girls finishing up on stage. I had no desire to watch them with cash finally in my pocket. I had made 120 bucks in one hour, and new that I could be making much more than that in the near future. Having dropped off what I needed to deliver, I was free the rest of the night. Outside, continuing my ride up the incline of Van Ness, I could see the sky lightening and my mood matching it. Newspapers were starting to get delivered to their boxes. I pulled over to the side and made a call to Grace, who I knew was asleep but I wanted to share the moment with her.

“Hey, get dressed, hop in a cab, and meet me down by the Marina in the spot we watched the fireworks last 4th of July. I want to take you to breakfast.”

“First of all it’s 5:00 in the morning. Second, where’d you get money to take me to breakfast?”

“Why do you need to question everything? Just come down here and let me take care of everything.”

I hung up the phone, reached the top of the tough incline, and rolled down towards the slowly illuminating bay the the distance that was getting closer each second.


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