The Delivery Man

Clint’s apartment offered a panoramic 10th story view of Portland which could be enhanced if one desired by looking through the telescope on the deck.

The telescope was a Gskyer 70 mm with lots of interesting attachments. He could watch ants climbing up a lime tree in someone’s backyard five miles away if he felt like it. His favorite attachment was a 5×24 Finderscope and mounting bracket with cross hair lines that helped locate objects and subjects. He spent many pleasant hours looking at the world unfold outside as he sipped 18 year-old James Buchanan’s Special Reserve Blended Scotch Whiskey.

He was single and a successful day trader who worked from home. He didn’t like being around other people. Crowds made him uneasy. He didn’t mind one-on-one conversations with friends or strangers however. He was well-educated and graduated top of the class at Webster University, a national top ten business college. His soft spoken voice could calm people in distress and hold people’s interest when he told a story.

His rugged good looks turned more than one female’s head in admiration. Yet Clint never had a girlfriend, or a boyfriend. Never. His adopted parents never pressured him to date and often went out of their way to help him avoid large gatherings… like school. His adopted mother was a special education teacher who home schooled him when she came home from work. He absorbed knowledge like a sponge, but seldom showed emotion. Joy, or anger. Grief, or elation. Happiness, or sorrow. It was his poker face that made some people a little uneasy when around him. That, and his pale blue eyes, which seemed to sparkle with an unknown energy that suggested an icy presence lurking inside.

Money was no problem for Clint. He was very successful at investing his money in the market, and had over a million dollars in savings. His problem was entertaining himself. The television and the internet provided entertainment up to a point, but the day came when it wasn’t enough.

Clint adopted the persona of a deliveryman. He would bring surprise packages to houses, apartments, motel and hotel rooms, and businesses. He purchased numerous deliveryman outfits with different company names on the back and his front pocket. He wore fake glasses. The contents of the packages varied; some were bombs, some were piles of cash, some were just pranks using jack-in-the-boxes. He always felt calm about his deliveries regardless of their contents. It was a strange feeling for someone who experienced very little human traits.

One day while peering through his telescope, Clint watched a little drama going on a few miles away and near one of the many bridges below. One of his talents was lip reading. Despite turning their heads away from him at times, Clint pieced together what they were fighting about in minutes. It was enough to inspire him to deliver a special package to the house later that day.

He pulled up to the house in his General Delivery van and brought his package to the front porch of the house. It was where he saw them arguing. He calmly drove back to his apartment and went outside to his telescope. After lighting up a joint he inhaled deeply, savoring his favorite strain of cannabis, Grand Daddy Purp. Grinning in anticipation, he peered through the 400mm lens he had substituted for the 70mm and settled in for a long wait.

Two hours later the occupant of the house, a woman, stepped out onto the front porch. She peered around as if looking for someone, but the street was deserted in the growing dusk. Then she looked down and saw the package. It was the size of a shoebox and was wrapped in brown paper with a yellow ribbon and bow. There was no card. Her name wasn’t on it. She looked around again, straining her eyes against the withering light. Eyes back down. A step towards it. Clint imagined how hard her heart must be pounding as she neared the package. She hovered for a moment over it then bent down. Fear and curiosity crawled across her brow as she contemplated the package.

Finally she reached out and pulled the ribbon…

This was the part Clint enjoyed. Life, or death? What would it be? He knew she was risking everything. If the package killed her she’d never come up with the ransom money for her only child, a daughter. Still, in her desperation she hoped the package contained good news.

Clint watched, squinting in the growing gray sky, as she opened the top and pulled out the wads of money. Twenty-five thousand dollars in cash! Enough to get her daughter back.

When the man came for the ransom she had it. A moment later her daughter was freed from a car parked nearby. The man left without a word. As he got into the passenger seat of the car Clint took several photos with his wireless camera attachment to his Gskyer telescope. It would help him find the man so he could send him a package too. One without money in it.

The end.

Author: Dave Stancliff

Retired newspaper editor/publisher, veteran, freelance writer, blogger. Married 44 years. Independent thinker. A sense of humor. Defender of truth. Give my poems, essays and short stories a try. I look forward to meeting you.

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