Monday, February 12, 2018

The Delivery Guy

The Delivery Guy
By Michael Cannata

The truck driver rubbed his tired eyes trying to keep them open for just a little while longer. His last delivery was also the last stop on his two week run. It was also his most important customer; the best paying one as well. The customer needed the various cuts of meat by early Sunday morning in order to prepare them for his restaurant’s “Famous” weekly lunch and dinner specials.

Last but not least, the customer was the closest thing to a father he’d ever known. Arnie took him in when he was just seven years old and headed for hell in a hurry. He gave him a job doing odd jobs at first. As he got older he learned everything there was to know about Arnie’s business. Arnie was a very rich guy. Arnie always told him, “You do as I teach you, and you’ll be rich someday too!”

When Arnie came to him and offered him a chance to become partners, he jumped at the chance. He listened intently as Arnie explained his plans to make a lot more money by importing meat from different locations, wherever they could get the lowest cost. The best thing was that Arnie wouldn’t have to pay to have his merchandise delivered as long as they had their own truck; Arnie lent him the money to get a truck.

He soon found a job working for a long haul contracting service that took him to most of the major distribution centers around the country. He delivered to manufacturers and merchants carrying trailers loaded with anything that his truck would carry. He specialized in transporting meats and frozen foods.

He built a separate container to hide Arnie’s supplies for a cut-rate price that was almost criminal. He made a lot of money and Arnie saved plenty.

He usually arrived between 3:00 and 4:00 AM, every other Sunday morning. This was home as far as the driver was concerned. He drove a route that took him two weeks to complete from start to finish. A long circuitous route, through a dozen states across the nation. Every job he took started and ended at Arnie’s.

He lived in his custom truck with enough space, comfort and technology to rival a studio apartment. He never slept in any hotel or motel. His cab was his domain bubble. Arnie’s was the closest thing to home to him. He slept in a room whenever he was there, usually with one of Arnie’s girls. The girls at Arnie’s didn’t work in truckers front seats. Truckers had to rent a room to play with any girl at Arnie's

“Arnie’s Interstate Eats,” was the most popular truck stop between Texas and the Canadian border. Any driver that had been on the job for more than a month knew about it. It was a legend in the business. Cheap rooms with clean beds, free showers and phone calls for any trucker with a need and a Big Rig.

From 4:00 AM until midnight, the place was always crowded; Truckers going and coming in every direction. Whatever a trucker needed, he could find it there. No trucker worth his miles ever passed up a chance to stop in. They could have a great meal and enjoy some live company before heading out on their long solo hauls. Arnie’s had one of the biggest menu selections to be found anywhere. Arnie’s greatest pride was his daily breakfast and luncheon specials. His famous, “Traveler’s Specials,” menu items at his, “Roadway Oasis Restaurant,” made the industry magazines. Pasta to pizza; hotdogs, hamburgers and more; Arnie’s had it all.

 Like every truck stop, Arnie’s had its share of hookers working the lot. Arnie took as much pride as he did profit from them, too. None of the girls at Arnie’s stop were the usual desperate, substance abuser; health risk type. The girls were clean, healthy, horny and expensive. Worth every penny, He’d spend a pretty penny in the next 48 hrs helping them earn a paycheck.

He sat at his favorite booth and smiled as, Julie, the best looking and hardest working waitress in any truck stop he visited, sauntered over with that flirtatious look that made her so popular. She called him “The Delivery Guy.” She never asked him his name even after knowing him for over a year.

            “Don’t you ever get tired of coming here, Delivery Guy?” She joked in her tired voice.

            “As long as it means I get to see your pretty face when I get here, I’m a happy man.” He winked.

Arnie came across the diner and called out to the driver. “Hey, Delivery Guy!” Julie’s pet name was catching on. “Let’s get this shipment unloaded before you eat for free. Whaddya say?”  His tough demeanor was just one of the many personas of Arnie… everyone loved him.

The pair walked between the crowed tables, through the kitchen and to the rear entrance to the loading dock.

“I got you a great deal this trip, Arnie. I picked up the first load from the supplier in Oregon and the second in Denver. The supplier in San Francisco was on a vacation. They were the usual size. I wasn’t expecting to get a third load but I got lucky. The new supplier in Nevada called. The price was right, so I couldn’t pass it up.”

Arnie admired the carcasses hanging in the freezer. “Well let’s get them unloaded, thawed and sectioned. I need them ready by tomorrow. I got a big catering event on Tuesday; the biggest convention in town. We get this convention covered and you're looking at a big raise, son."

Two hours later, his part of the Arnie’s Special Menu work was done. The driver sat in his booth thinking of the next trip. He was making more as he got better. The secret was finding the best quality merchandise at the lowest cost.  He finally had an exclusive, paying client and guaranteed income.

He smiled thinking about how impressed Arnie was with this load. He had the biggest smile on his face as they looked at the six dead women, naked, wrapped in plastic; frozen solid and hanging on hooks at the back of the refrigerated trailer.

 “Not one of ‘em is over 19! Fresh as they come!” The Delivery Guy proudly explained. Due to an increase in the suppliers production, Arnie was getting over 600 pounds for the price of 400. Arnie tried not to look impressed but, he knew a good deal when he saw one, He spoke in a gravelly voice as he smoked his cigar.

"They look delicious," Arnie said breathlessly.

The next two days marked his “Weekend,” He thought about taking a shot and trying to persuade Julie to service him in a more personal way. He’d tried asking a couple of times but was rebuffed in an encouraging way. She was playing the hard to get type. No hurry. If she said no, he could always try again. He’d be back as usual in two weeks with his new load. And with all the extra money he had to spend he might even start to look better to her.

The other delivery guy would deliver the next load after his two week run next weekend, just like him. He had never met him and Arnie preferred it that way. He wondered if they called him “Delivery Guy” too.

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