Family (Part XXI)
By Pete Moss
"But he had a Hitler Youth Haircut," I say.
"Just ‘cause you found his haircut offensive doesn't mean you get to punch him in the face," says Winston Brown.
"Well, he called me a nigger."
"So are you?"
"Of course not."
"So why get offended? Just serve the papers and get on your way."
"I guess. So how much do I get?"
"For that one? Nothing."
"You said I get $50 per service."
"Yeah, but you punched the guy. We...I... will probably lose money on that service. If the client makes noise."
So now I'm working for Winston Brown. It was Dijay's idea. And I'm just as glad to get out of the house.
It's not bad riding around SF in Winston Brown's Crown Vic. We do half a dozen services every day. Get paid by the service. We file papers to. And do some research and Winston says we get a skip trace every month or so.
Winston knows good places to eat. There's the Cable Car on Geary, across from the hospital. Usually around 5 in the afternoon there's a few other process servers in there, talking shop and eating Garlic Fries and Polish on sourdough, with kraut and nacho rings.
Winston works for a short list of attorneys who call him directly on his very obsolete cell phone. Winston keeps it all in a beat up briefcase. Everything on old fashioned paper.
"The computers are gonna take over for good in a few more years and I can't wait. I got a place in Lake County, I'm going to retire and play poker and fish," says Winston. "Get a bass boat with a trolling motor, and a Bimini top."
Later on Winston tells me about a wild skip trace he had a few years back. Then there's the story how he served divorce papers on a baseball player.
I'm thinking it might work out, doing this process serving thing.
Except on the very next job I lose my temper again. I don't think it's completely my fault. This old lady takes a swipe at me with her broom and I call her an old battleax, among other things. I'm not back in the Crown Vic 3 minutes and Winston's phone is ringing.
Winston takes the call. It's short. Then he turns to look at me.
"That was Dan Brinklback of Brinklback and Brinklback."
"Yeah I know, big client."
"Says you cussed out the customer."
"Look, I'm sorry, actually I'm not, but I don't think you're cut out for process serving," says Winston.
"So I'm fired?"
"I'm afraid so."
"Wow, I can't wait to tell Dijay," I say.
"I don't envy you that chore," says Winston. "I'll give you a ride home, if you want."
"No thanks, I'll take the bus," I say. Winston pulls over and we shake hands and I hop out. In the end I walk home, all the way out to 38th Avenue. I need that much time to try and think up what I'm going to tell Dijay, and I come up with nothing.
Luckily she's not home when I get there.
I'll take any break I can get.
I have $10 in my pocket. I get my bicycle out of the garage and ride over to the liquor store on Irving. But then I have a better idea.
I ride on down to Division Street. Pete Moss old yellow van is parked at 13th and Division. He's outside, firing up a Bar-B-Que.
"Hey," he says. "You want some hot links?"
"Which dumpster you got them outta?"
"I got 'em at the store, swear to god, JaneyRae’s EBT card actually worked this month."
JaneyRae comes out of Pete's van. She looks like a teen-age runaway, except when you look in her eyes, then she looks like a 2000 year old freak.
"You got any alcohol?" she says.
"I got $10," I say.
Pete and JaneyRae look at each other. I can hear it actually, them talking to each other telepathically. It's like a weird electric current running around my head.
What they are talking about, debating, is which liquor store to go to, and what kind of liquor to get.
Then they arrive at a consensus.
"So, that store at 5th and Shipley has the best price on JD." I say out loud.
Pete and JaneyRae look at me suspiciously. Now they know I know they're a pair of freaks. But wait, since I know, that must mean I'm one of them.
Then we all break out in a kind of relieved psychic group hug, a Gabba Gabba moment.
A few hours later, the hot links gone and the JD drank, we're sitting around playing poker.
"So you need a job." says JaneyRae.
"He got Dijay knocked up," says Pete.
Janey Rae reaches over and strokes my arm. She feels bad for me ‘cause now I'm stuck with an angry Tigress.
"Hey she wanted to get pregnant," I say. "I got the job done and now she hates me."
"Some of us are like that," says JaneyRae.
"You could try being a bike messenger," says Pete.
"I thought that whole thing died out 5 years ago."
"No, didn't die out, it evolved. They deliver mostly food now. Also shit people buy off E-Bay Now. My old Rocket dispatcher works for E-Bay Now. I take you down and introduce you tomorrow, you want."
"What about my docs."
"I can get Larry to overlook that for a minute. If you work out we'll think of something."
I don't get home ‘til around 3am. Dijay has waited up. She's all concerned. And horny, as usual. So she puts off scolding.
"You've been drinking," she says, finally.
"Yeah, and I got a job at E-Bay."
So I'm stretching the truth a little.