Swirl Love is Not Forbidden(5)By: Tamara Black
“Yeah, I’ll be here around eight this evening to help out with the special orders.”
“How is the new lady working out?” He pushed his glasses up his nose.
“Good,” I said. “She’s pretty much got everything mastered so far.”
“You’re not going to give her my job, are you?”
“You’re irreplaceable, Tom,” I said.
He walked away with a smile on his face. I went home to eat something before having to come back to deliver pizzas and weed all night.
Over the next two weeks, Tanesha took over most of my morning shift responsibilities. I began to get a lot more sleep, which improved my mood somewhat. The huge gambling debt racked up by my mother still hung over my head, but at least my life wasn’t getting worse.
I drove down a back road toward a ranch compound out in the middle of nowhere. The tenants were crazy survivalists, but they loved their untaxed weed. More than once they had scared the hell out of me, but I had a half pound stuffed into pizza warming bags in the back of my car.
My car emitted a noise I’d never heard it make before, one that terrified me. The Ford Taurus had more than two hundred thousand miles on the odometer, and she looked it. “Don’t do this now,” I said to myself, worried about getting the weed to the preppers on time.
They did not like tardiness because of their overwhelming paranoia. If I failed to show up on time, they might refuse the whole order, thinking it was from a secret government program or some crazy shit. I never knew what to expect with them.
Another loud clunk sounded under the hood. I lost all power. While trying to steer the tight wheel, I stepped on the brakes to park on the side of the road. I don’t need this now, I thought, putting on my flashers.
I dug my cell phone out of the center console and turned it on. My car broke down so often, I had the Geico app. With a few taps, I sent in my request for a tow. A minute later, a friendly sounding female answered.
“Hello, I’m sorry you’re having trouble. Are you safe right now?”
“Yeah, thanks,” I said. “My car won’t start. I need a tow.”
“We can do that for you Mr. Peterson. Let me contact the tow company, and I’ll call you right back.”
“Thanks,” I said.
She disconnected the call. The hazard lights on my car blinked on and off, illuminating a field and part of the road. If a cop came by and found me with so much pot in the pizza bags, I’d be thrown in jail for sure. Every paid or headlights that approached terrified me.
My phone rang.
“Hello, Mr. Peterson?”
“Yeah,” I said.
“The tow company is on their way. We tow the first five miles for free. I see that your destination is over thirty miles away. The company wanted too much money, so we’re going to go ahead and cover that for you.”
“What? Are you serious?” I asked, not believing her.
She laughed. “Yes, sir. We like to take care of our customers.”
“I’m going to tell at least five people to sign-up for Geico,” I said.
“Thank you, sir. Anything else I can help you with?”
“When will the tow-truck be here?”
“Within an hour. Does that work for you?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. Thanks again.”
“No problem sir. I hope your night goes better.”
I disconnected the call then hit the number for Pizza Pizza. Tom, the night-shift assistant manager, answered.
“Pizza Pizza, we put the pizza in your…”
“It’s me,” I said, interrupting him.
Everyone who worked at the place hated the phone greetings corporate made us say.
“Where are you?” he said.
“Betsy broke down.”
“You need a new car, dude.”
“That ain’t all I need. I’ll be back when I can. You got it?”
“I got it covered,” he said then sighed.
“Don’t be such a bitch, Tom,” I teased.
“Whatever, Tony. Bye.”
I turned my phone off and waited. One cigarette later, I heard and saw the tow-truck approach. He pulled in front of me and stopped. I got out of the car. The driver’s side door of the truck swung open and a man with a large body and ill-fitting tee-shirt stepped out.
A battered khaki vest over the faded maroon shirt offered him little protection from the cold, but he didn’t seem to care.
“Front wheel drive?” he asked.
“I think so?”
He frowned, leaning his head back lazily as he stared into my eyes.
“Ford Taurus is front-wheel drive.”
“Is that a problem?” I asked.
“What’s wrong with it?”
“It made a weird nose then just died.”
“I see,” he said. “Let me get it hooked up.”
“Hey, I have a favor to ask.”
“Beyond towing you?”
“Well, Geico is paying for that, right?” He nodded. “Okay, great. How about some free pizza if you drive me to my last delivery so I don’t lose my job?”
I hated lying to his face, but I had no choice. The dope had to get to the client before midnight or I’d miss a payment to Bullet and get into massive trouble.