The place got a new manager, for one. Brad–the old manager–was in stage four burnout. He reached stage 4, allegedly stole from the company, and got fired. Enter the new guy. Chris. He seems like an okay guy from the scant few minutes I spent with him. He’s not my BFF.
But I had just gotten a regular schedule from Brad, Wednesday and Friday. And I work Monday-Tuesday-Thursday and Saturday at The Three Jakes. That leaves Sunday as my one day off, and I was working 70 plus hours between the three jobs. Was.
Chris had plenty o people on Friday. It didn’t take much to talk myself into saying, “Hey, if you don’t need me, I could be off that night.” So I was down to Wednesday. In preparation for the live event we had a few weeks ago on a Thursday, I called the Big L and asked him if he could cover Wednesday for me. He said sure ’nuff. Cool. That was the 20th, I believe.
I came in the next week–which was last week–and worked. I was there about an hour and had taken a couple of deliveries when Brian the heroin addict says, “Hey, you know you aren’t even scheduled tonight.”
I looked, because he’s on heroine and generally not a reliable source of information. Sure enough, no Bryan. No Bubba, either. No where on the schedule was my name listed. Brian said that Chris thought I may have quit. I had talked to the fucker personally about my schedule. And I arranged my own substitute. Nowhere in any of those actions was a demonstration of my desire to quit.
I took two runs that night, and although they tipped me, I still got all kinds of attitude from them. My life must be soft, because the most confrontation I’ve had to deal with from anyone lately was these two different assholes, each one giving me shit for knocking on the door instead of ringing the doorbell. If I had only known that it was my last night, I would have told them the truth.
“Why didn’t you ring the doorbell?”
“Why does it fucking matter, asswipe? It won’t make you open the door any sooner. Fuck you and your fucking doorbell. Answer the goddamn door faster or I’m going to put my balls in your pizza next time.”
I missed a golden opportunity.
Oh well. I cashed out. Melissa is the cute young girl running the shift, and she is quitting for another job soon; she had already put in her notice. Since I was only there an hour, I asked if she wanted me to give some of the money back–the bank they give me. She said, “Keep it. What do I care? I’m leaving soon anyway.”
I wonder if I should feel bad about that…
So I took two deliveries, got a total of five bucks in tips. Plus the five bucks in reimbursement. Plus the 20 dollar bank she let me keep. I made 30 bucks an hour…for one hour.
I won’t miss the customers. Most of them are black and belligerent towards white people. They don’t tip in bad weather, and they always want something for free. And they drive like retard school just let out and that’s where they all came from–That’s in good weather. In bad weather, they drive like it’s their first day on this fucking planet.
I won’t miss the bullshit in the store. One driver taking as many runs as he can and fucking over the rest, and no one can say anything to him. Whenever a driver shows up to work, the rest look at him like he’s leper. “Do you just want to go home?” is the nicest thing you’ll hear. Vultures, all of them. The problem with anarchy is that the pay is erratic.
But I will miss the free pizza.
(The date is wrong, by the way. In that I had December 18th. It’s actually the 21st. In another fit of irony, the calendar is the same this year as it was then.)
I worked last night. I don’t want to talk about it. It was a Friday night, and I was one of just three drivers. And the light rain was turning into a light snow. My first thought was *Oh, boy–I might make some money.* Then, of course, I realized where I was. It started off slow but steady.After I returned from my fourth run, however, I came into the store to find complete pandemonium. Now this is more like it.
I end up taking the eight of the first ten or twelve deliveries on the screen. That might be a personal record. I checked to see how many were ready, first. I was waiting on a couple. Okay. I check to see what drinks and other crap I need. Okay. I start getting that stuff together, and write down the addresses on a post it. I grab a bag and start bagging, from the bottom up.
Heroin addict Brian comes in, and he is freaking out in a low key kind of way. Not because he can’t handle it–he’s been doing this for about twelve or fifteen years. He just knows that shit can happen, so this a preemptive freak out. He starts looking at my stuff, checking what I’m taking, and trying to make sure I have everything.
“Okay. Wow. Man, this is bad. Okay. You need some drinks on this one–”
“Got it,” I say, pointing.
“And you need your salad here–”
“Dude,” I said, pointing.
“Uhm…It looks like you’re waiting on Oak Parkway, so we–”
“Brian.” I’m trying to get his attention while he runs around behind me, checking everything I’ve done.
“I just want to–”
“Brian, I got it.”
He just looks at me. “I know you think I’m new, but I’m not. This is not my first rodeo.”
He still wants to help. “Dude,” I ask him,” how long have you been doing this?”
He puffs up his tiny little body and says, “Fourteen years.” Or something–I didn’t really pay attention.
“Terrific,” I say. I finished bagging my pizzas in reverse order for delivery. I had my sodas and salads in the car, and I had checked the row for credit card slips. I had my route already. The post-it was a reminder, but I didn’t expect to use it.
I pick up the shit and head for the door, and he holds it open for me. As I walk out I say, “Come and talk to me when you’ve been doing it for 23 years.”
I knew where I was going, but that 8-stop was still a cluster fuck. They didn’t know they were going to be that busy, so the customers were not told it was going to be an hour and a half. Even though the street names won’t mean anything to you, bear with me.
I roll down Parker to Bellefontaine, trying see an address. Bellefontaine is a main drag, so that one is going to be hard. I finally see a twelve thousand block number. Ugh. I make a U-turn. My Bellefontaine address is in lower eleven grand, so that is going to get pushed back to fourth or fifth.
Up the other way, Columbus was an easy find. The kid hands me three bucks. I said, “The total is 32.41–” or in that range. The mom comes to the door. She had paid by credit card. There was no slip. I had checked. And besides, the copy would have been stapled to the box.
I tried call the store. Busy. Busy again. “It was probably not printed up. If there’s a problem someone may call you.”
The next three are close to each other. I get to Elenore, and she had called the store because it took so long, and now was going to call again that I was there. *Good luck* I thought. But she got through.
I talked to Brad, the boss. He said, “Give it to them for 8 bucks.” I told him about Columbus. He said he’d look into it. The chick gave me a ten. Cool.
I get to Prigge, and no one answers the door. I ring, knock, and wait. Then I call them, leave a message. No answer. I leave. My next one is two blocks away, so if they call, I can come back. And this was the one actual one I had a credit card slip for.
At Walker, as I knock on the door, a guy comes from the house across the street. He had actually ordered it, I guess using the lady’s address and phone number. I didn’t give shit about why–he paid the full amount in cash. He gave me a twenty for a 19.43 total. The math is left as an exercise for the student.
I bolted back out to Bellefontaine and hit the apartment, Prima Vera. They complained to me about how long it took, but they didn’t call the store, so they paid full price. Sucks to be them. I got about 17 cents from that, so it kind of sucked all around.
1st run again
I get to the address on Bellefontaine, and they said I needed to call the store. Goody. The total was about 22 bucks, Brad told me to tell them ten. Then he said, “No, make it eight.” I think that was code for me to tell them ten and he would write down eight. I told them eight because I am more honest than I am smart.
The lady said, “Where’s the credit card slip?” Shit, another one. My theory is that they were so busy that all the lines were busy and the card machine couldn’t dial out. Her husband said, “Okay, we need to call the store, because that’s twenty five bucks,” or something like that. I was standing in their garage, and they turned away, ignoring me. I stood there for about 15 seconds, then I just left. By the time I backed out of the driveway, the garage door was closed.
These shitty apartments used to be called Sierra Vista and they used to be nice 20 years ago. Now they are crap, and they are called Oak Parkway. Marbella I found easily, but I had to call. Their 37 dollar total became 18. The dude was happy and handed me a twenty. The girl there was the cutest I had seen in a while, by the way.
Marjorca, or some shit like that. The map of the complex was hard to read, and I’m having trouble seeing in the dark, and most apartment complex streets don’t have signs. I called her. She gave me directions. Hers was the last one I was waiting on back at the store, so it was the newest order, even after all of that. Forty seven dollars she paid.
Of course, the total was 46 and some change.
All of that crap took almost an hour. I get to the door and have to wait while we go through the “Whoizit” ritual, and wait while we call, and wait while they get money, and crap like that. I get back to the store, and I get six more.
So at the end of the night, I had more deliveries than I had ever taken there, and less in tips. By my math, about seventeen in tips. And one of those had been a five dollar tip. Seventeen bucks on eighteen runs. The math is left as an exercise for the student.
But the disgust is mine, and mine alone.
The night seems darker when it’s raining. There’s no moon out, and the sky is so dark you can’t see the clouds. The streets look like a poor abstract attempt to paint the reflected streetlight in them. Since it’s darker than usual, it also seems later than usual. It’s a warm night late in December, and it should be snowing.
Instead, it just rains. It won’t let up. The rain is like an annoying coworker that you can’t get away from. They just keep talking and talking, and telling you inappropriately intimate details about their fetishes. After so much time has passed, you are used to it. You accept it. But you don’t condone it, and you certainly don’t like it.
"Let me tell you about this German scat fetish chick I knew–"
It’s hard to see at night when driving, even when it’s not raining. The rain adds another layer of difficulty to it. When it’s raining, the night actually is inky. The darkness seems to just spill over onto everything The wetness makes every surface shiny, but it just reflects the blackness. Street signs are hard to read, and house numbers are impossible. The scant light is reflected from other surfaces that can’t be read either.
Just like over a dozen times before on this very night, again I am standing on a front porch in the rain. I have knocked. And waited. And knocked again, and waited. As a last resort, I ring the doorbell, and I wait on the porch. Porch–
It’s more of a stoop. Or a concrete landing, but there is no roof. The overhang from the roof of the house aims the runoff right at my head. It’s too warm to wear a coat, but the rain is too cool. I wear two shirts, and both are wet. The windows in the car are fogged up from the steam of the pizzas. Too warm to run the heat, but I can’t see without it to clear the windows. I have the heat on, the defroster, and the windows open a few inches, which lets in more rain.
I’ve waited longer than I usually wait, cursing to myself in a cadence that lets me time how much of my life I have wasted at this door. When I get to "Son of a mother fucking bitch damn-shit," I’m going to knock again.
As always happens lately, I’m reaching for my cell phone to call them when they answer the door.
Well, she didn’t exactly "answer" the door. First, she called out. "Who is it?" Except it sounded like one word. "Whoizit?" I know where this is going. It’s already happened a dozen times before. I don’t answer. Fuck it, I’m already wet.
Maybe I’m just cynical, but I have to believe they know who it is. They called and ordered a fucking pizza for delivery forty five minutes ago. Who the hell do they think it is, knocking on their door?
I’m mostly deaf anyway, so I can act the rest of it. And maybe–just maybe–if they would turn the porch light on when they order a pizza, they could look out the window and see who it is. I know who I am. I know who they are. They’re the ones with the unanswered questions. And I was the one with their pizza. I knock again.
A pair of dull eyes glance out through the blinds. Were it I, maybe I would have done that first.
So, now they know who it is. It took several knocks to get them to acknowledge there was someone at the door. Several more minutes of ignoring them so they would look for themselves. Now they knew. But no, they don’t open the door yet. Another minute or so passes, and random, inexplicable noises emanate from within. Finally, someone comes to the door. They open the door.
They open the inside door. However, the storm door, the one I am still at, remains closed. The inside door opens, and whoever opened it wanders away. No porch light on, and no light on in the house, either. After hearing someone call loudly for someone else very loudly, another person finally finds their way to the door. I can only imagine that the house is very big–or it seemed that way because it was dark–and they got lost. They are standing now in the doorway, but still the door is not open. Slowly, painstakingly, they count through a handful of wadded-up bills. The door opens a crack.
"How much is it." They didn’t even ask it like a question, they just made a statement.
Like I said, I’m already wet. "Do you have a light to turn on, so I can see the total?" Of course I knew the total. But I sense they are doing this on purpose, so I’m going to stretch it out for them as long as I can. The porch light goes on, then off, then the inside light goes on. then off. Then the porch light is back on. Because they live there and don’t know what switch is to what light?
"Ah, that’s better." I have on my cheery innocent customer service face, where I seem oblivious to how ignorant people are. "Your total is $27.76." I hand the pizzas over, and this sullen and dull-faced person hands me a handful of wrinkled bills. They start to close the door, so I know we are done. I turn my back, but I don’t say "thank you" yet.
Not until I count the money. A twenty, a five, and three ones. Three. Twenty-eight bucks on a 27.76 total. I shake my head and walk to the car. This has already happened several times to night, with surprisingly little variation. I’m already wet.