Shining Through Experience (part 1)

I did a four part short story that was really just a fun piece of writing.  Please enjoy part one below.  I’ll be posting the rest over the next few blog posts.

 

“Shining Through Experience”

 

Eddie tended to drift into whatever jobs were available that would pay the rent. After only four years he had experience in nine different jobs and had built what he had thought was a pretty impressive resume although each new employer never really saw it that way.  Eddie had experience in just about everything.  His problem was that as soon as he learned how to do something, he automatically thought he could do it better than anyone else and usually got enough attention from his bosses to the point where they wanted to fire him.

Eddie had garnered the wrong kind of attention from his latest boss when he decided to rearrange the entire front window display at the local general store. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Mr. Rooney asked as he walked into the store.  Mr. Rooney had always scheduled himself to come in right after lunch so he had plenty of time to sleep in each morning.  Mr. Rooney had been manager at this store forever and Eddie thought that he needed the extra sleep each day because of his old age.  Mr. Rooney was one of those by-the-book guys who was just old and set in his ways, but usually found a way to have employees do all the work.  He never actually did anything himself. This just added to Eddie’s opinion of him as possibly the laziest boss he ever had in his illustrious career.

“I’m making the store more appealing to customers,” Eddie said as he stood up from the floor. He had almost finished reworking the hand sanitizers before he was so rudely interrupted.

Mr. Rooney skipped from being generally annoyed and went straight to boiling furious. “Son, all of our displays are mandated by our corporate office.  We have whole diagrams they send us on how to set this stuff up and if it’s not like how they want it we get counted off.  Put it back now!”

“Just think what you could show them when the inspector guy comes in. You could impress him with the ingenuity of how much better this all is.  I told you the four months experience I had working at the florist would help.  You can’t get a better arrangement than that.  You should get extra points for sure.”

“Put it back now! I’m going to go finish the morning reports and when I get back before dinner break I expect you to have this all done; you understand me?”  Mr. Rooney stormed off without getting a response.  Soon he had disappeared in the back.

Annie appeared from behind the checkout counter. “I told you he wasn’t going to be happy.”  Annie had gotten Eddie this job two months ago and Eddie had almost made it his mission to rework the place right after his first week.  “One of these days, Eddie, you’re actually going to listen to me.”

“He’s just a short sighted corporate stooge,” Eddie said as he started the long job of reworking the display, “he doesn’t think past just what he’s told to do.”

Suddenly a man burst through the front door carrying a beat up messenger bag and clutching his side. “Help…me, please” he stammered and then fell sideways into Eddie’s display.

“Hey, man, I worked all morning on those.” He looked down at the fallen man and noticed that he was bleeding.  “Hey, hey, man, are you okay?”  Eddie and Annie rushed to the fallen man to examine him.

“He’s bleeding pretty badly,” Annie said, “we should call 911.”

“No! No police,” the stranger said.  “They will only get in the way and we don’t have time.  Hey, you, what’s your name?”

“Eddie.”

“Eddie, you need to take this,” the stranger reached into his bag and pulled out a small box wrapped in plain brown paper, “and get it to Warehouse B downtown. You need to move quickly!  I have to get it there in an hour or things are going to get bad.”

“Hey, look, man, I’m not about to take strange packages from people I don’t know who are bleeding out for some reason. None of this sounds good, okay?  I mean why are you bleeding anyway?  What happened, man?”

The stranger winced in pain. “Look, I don’t have time to argue.  You need to go do this now or someone is going to die.”

Annie said, “I’ve got some first aid training, so I’ll use some stuff we have here to help him. Go ahead and take that to whoever and then just get back okay?”

“Gah, fine!” Eddie grabbed the wrapped package, went behind the counter to grab his bicycle helmet, and then went out the door.  Normally it would have taken someone about forty minutes to get from the Shop & Save to the downtown area, but thanks to Eddie’s three months as a bike courier, he could manage to get there in just thirty.

He quickly pulled up to the entrance to a storefront with a big sign showing “Warehouse B” and went inside. The store looked to be some kind of weird pawn shop.  There were second hand appliances, a crappy collection of books in a giant bin, a set of big tables with a random grouping  of tools, and a display case of jewelry.  Eddie walked up to the clerk behind the counter and said, “Hey, I got the package here.”

The clerk looked up from the newspaper he was reading and shot Eddie a confused look. His eyes settled on the package in Eddie’s hands and he reached under the counter and hit a buzzer.  “Go on in the back,” he muttered as he indicated a black door over his left shoulder.  Eddie went on back.

Eddie walked down a short hallway and then entered a wide open ware house space cluttered with boxes and crates of more random stuff. Over in a corner towards the right were a group of about three men around a woman tied up in a chair.  “Hey, over here!” one of the men yelled.  Eddie walked over towards the men.  “Woah, right there, Simmons,” one of the men said as he took a step forward.  He seemed to be in charge of the other two.  “I’m impressed.  I honestly didn’t think you’d get here in time.”

Eddie looked at the woman tied in the chair. She was pretty with blonde hair and had her makeup a mess from crying.  She looked up at him with a confused look on her face but said nothing.  “Yeah, well, that goes to show you never to doubt me,” Eddie said.

One of the other men looked Eddie over. “Is that some kind of disguise or something?  Shop & Save?”

“Look, uh, are we going to do this or not?”

“Of course,” the leader said, “the package if you please.”

“Don’t try and double cross me.”

The leader smiled, “Of course not, Simmons. I wouldn’t dare.”  He turned to the other two men.  “Get the girl up.”  They stood the woman on her feet and cut the zip tie that held her hands and removed the tape from her mouth.  “Alright, Simmons, now the package.”

Eddie stepped forward and handed the leader the box. “Alright.  Now we’re done.  We’re out of here.”  He turned to leave and the woman followed him out.

“Nice doing business with you. I hope to do it again sometime,” the leader taunted as Eddie left.

Eddie and the woman moved through the hallway and back to the front of the warehouse. She stopped as soon as they got out of the front door.  “Ok, just who the hell are you and where is Thomas?”

“Who?”

“Thomas! He must have been the one to give you the package.”

“Oh, you mean the guy bleeding back at my store? I’m just hoping to get back there and not find a dead guy.  He was bleeding all over the floor and made me run that box over here.  Here; put this on.”  He tossed her his bike helmet.

She caught it and stared at it in disbelief. “You must be kidding.”

“Nope. Safety first.  You’ll have to ride on the bars though.  The bike isn’t big enough for two people.”

“Absolutely not.”

Suddenly a black SUV turned the corner, lowered a backseat window, and started spraying bullets down the street toward Eddie and the woman. “No choice now, lady, we gotta go!”  Eddie grabbed his bike off the sidewalk and got on.  The lady jumped on the handlebars and Eddie started off peddling down an alley beside Warehouse B.  “I’m Eddie, by the way.”

“Glory. Nice to meet you.”

“Do you mind telling me who’s trying to kill us?”

“That’s probably my old team with the KGB,” Glory said. “I defected two weeks ago but was kidnapped by those mercs back there.  My handler with the CIA was supposed to make the ransom exchange for me to get me back.  My team will try to kill me and anyone helping me before I can be brought in.”

“So the guys trying to kill us are from Russia?”

“Yes, why?”

“That means they don’t know these streets. I should be able to lose them, hold on.”  Eddie took a sharp turn down another alley as they sped away from the black SUV.  They could hear shouting at them in Russian.  “So what was supposed to happen with you once your guy picked you up?”

“He was supposed to bring me in to the extraction point right outside the Peach Groves Mall. Simmons wanted a public place where we could be retrieved.”

“Peach Groves Mall is perfect!” Eddie said with a grin. “I know the back way in so no one will see us.  Thanks to my six months working there at the Chinese food place, I can sneak in with no one noticing.  I used to do it all the time when I wanted to take a smoke break without the boss catching me.”  Eddie took off on his bike with Glory securely across the handlebars.  Normally it would have taken someone about twenty five minutes, but Eddie would be able to get there in eighteen.  Well, maybe twenty.  He wasn’t used to biking with another person on the bike too.

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