The Courier Bandit and Other Tales (Part III)
By Pete Moss
THE COURIER BANDIT (Part IV)
(Click here for Part 3 )
Quiggmann pours Vodka, mixes in Grapefruit juice. She takes a slug and lights a cigerette.
She stares at her screen.
She walks out of the motel room. Stands at the rail and stares at the grassy dunes and listens to the surf pound Ocean Beach.
"Dude makes DB Cooper look like a show-off," says Quiggmann. Her words have no effect at all on the steady breeze blowing in from the ocean.
2 weeks in Frisco and she's covered all the Grandma stuff.
Took the grandkids to the Zoo.
Quiggmann admits, her own kid is kind of dull, her son-in-law, a hopeless dweeb.
Grandkids are coddled brats.
Quiggmann wanders back into her motel room and fools with her laptop.
"OK Mr. Courier Bandit, I know you, yes I do."
If he sticks to his pattern he'll be hitting one of four spots on Montgomery or California Streets, within 10 days.
Quiggman has no remorse for not sharing her conclusion with the Beureau, as they pushed her out the door.
Quiggmann shuts down her laptop and gets out her H&K. She breaks it down and methodically cleans and reassmbles it.
Amanda Carolina doesn't like bicycles and she hates Bicyclists.
Annoying nerdy do-gooders
Amanda walks where she goes, and if it is too far to walk, she cabs.
Even so, she finds herself in a bike shop actually buying a bicycle.
This after a second encounter with the bundled up, bike-riding stranger at the coffee shop.
He won't get away from her a 3rd time.
Amandas extra sense says he is the one Fluffy was talking about.
So Amanda calls Fluffy.
"We gotta talk," says Amanda.
Fluffy is surprised. Amanda never calls outside of their usual arrangement.
Sitting in Delores Park, Amanda gets to the point.
"I think I found the bank robber."
"No shit? Know where he stays?"
"Not yet, but I will soon."
"What's the trade?"
"You and Tyke are gonna hit him."
"Cut the crap," says Amanda. "I want in."
"Have to talk to Tyke." says Fluffy.
Amanda Carolina thinks it is kinda scary, riding a bicycle in big city traffic.
Not scary like a bad client.
Exhilirating. She almost wishes she could wear a helmet.
But that would fuck up her hair.
Then that bastard doesn't show up at the coffee shop.
For 4 days.
But then he does.
Amanda almost misses him.
He is unlocking his bike right as Amanda pulls up.
She goes after him, almost getting hit as she pulls into the street.
Then she loses him after barely 3 blocks. Dude doesn't go fast, but he has moves.
Doesn't pay any attention at all to stoplights, stopsigns, cars, peds or anything else. Nonetheless he blends with the flow seamlessly.
Then he cuts a left in front of oncoming, goes down an alley and disappears. Like a puff of smoke in a typhoon.
Amanda pulls over and kicks a stone bench. She sits and curses.
She goes in her bag and gets a cigerette.
When she looks up, there he is, sitting his bike, one foot up on the stone bench.
"It 'pears you could use a few pointers on how to navigate city traffic with a bicycle, young lady," He says.(Click here for Part 5 )
FAMILY (Part IV)
Christmas break was in the way.
Dee was a direct one: "So, you going back to Cali for the Holidays?"
"No, I wasn't planning to." I said. It was one of the economies Granny and I had agreed on. I was paying for every other semester with a student loan, which seemed frightfully expensive to me. Granny was paying for every other semester by having taken out a mortgage on her formerly fully owned house.
The financials actually made me queasy if I thought about them, but Granny insisted I go through with getting a college degree, and a thoroughly useless (creative writing) one at that. In exchange she agreed that we shouldn't buy more then two plane tickets a year.
"You're only young once," said Granny.
And I did learn something through my semester with Darcy Roth. What I learned was that I preferred numbers to words. I would be graduating with a degree in engineering or accounting. Of course I would take writing classes here and there to humor Granny, but my degree would be in one of the math based fields.
"You're gonna stick around for Christmas?" said Dee. She couldn't keep a hopeful note out of her voice.
"Yeah, why? You had plans?"
"If you were going to Cali I was gonna ask if I could come with. I could buy my own ticket."
"Really?" I said.
"Really," said Dee. But she looked away when she said it.
Later I called Granny.
"You say she was a foster kid and then spent a year on the street after she was turned out?"
"But she has a job at the Records Department now? And how old is she?"
""I really would have to meet her, before I could say anything one way or another. But I'm sure she's lovely. You said she can buy her own ticket?"
"It's too late to get the best price for Christmas break. Maybe we could shoot for Spring Break." said Granny.
"That's what I was thinking."
The next time I saw Dee I mentioned going to Cali for spring break. She was subdued.
"I've never been to Cali," was all she said.
And over the next couple months, whenever I brought it up, Dee would change the subject.
Finally it was getting time to buy the plane tickets.
Dee had changed her mind. Actually, thinking back, I don't know if she ever had definitely made up her mind to go to Cali with me. Maybe I'd just assumed she would be coming with.
"You don't want to go do you?" I said.
"No, I don't...." said Dee, and she started crying.
"Don't worry, my Granny is not at all judgemental, she's an artist...."
"It's not that," said Dee. "I'd get along great with your Granny, I've sneaked a peak at some of the letters you two write back and forth, I feel like I know her already." "Well, what then?"
"Well.....it's like.....I mean, you got your Granny to introduce me too, show me off.....but who do I have?"
"Oh, oh....how about Mr. Perkins?"
"Eww, I told you we had crushes on each other. I introduce you to him, like he's family, it would be creepy."
"Well how about... Mr Tattaglia, you work with, he seems kind of fatherly to you."
Dee laughed a little at first but then cried harder. "I....I can't do it....not right now, maybe next year...."
But next year never came.
I got back to Binghampton and there was a letter from Granny.
'I never told you this but you have a Great Aunt Elisabeth who lives in Los Angeles. She's very old and her life companion died about half a year ago and she needs a caretaker. You and I are the only family she has. I'm afraid you are going to have to suspend your studies for the time being and care for your aunt. I suppose you could enroll at USC or UCLA once you are in LA.'
The letter went on a bit longer. But it took me several readthroughs to assimilate those first 5 sentences. And when I did, I immediately wondered what I would do about Dee.
Assuming she wouldn't come with me.