Amelia  Delivers

“When I took this job, I didn’t realize you were a two bike operation.”  Yup, to bike riders, one dispatcher, two buddies and one wife … to cover downtown Detroit.  This didn’t look promising.

Joey, the single one, looked me up and down.  No surprise, I was dressed in electric purple spandex with light blue trim and that didn’t leave much to the imagination.

“We didn’t realize you looked …” He made a helpless gesture then looked at his partners.

“Something wrong?”

“Nothing other than you are going to cause more traffic accidents than a drunk driver at rush hour,” said Melissa with a grin.

Tim, her husband said “We gotta put you on the flyers!”

It was called Rock Dove and had been operating in Millennium City for only a couple of years.  Thing was, it was the only bike messenger service in the city … with two riders.  I was used to dozens.

“What was Chuck paying you in LA?” Joey asked.

“I was paid by the delivery based on distance. Company got half, I got the other half.”


I gave him a raise eyebrow and asked flatly “What tips?”

“Around here, that’ll mean about five bucks a trip,” Melissa said. “But that’s on average and there are times we a sort of dead.”

“We got three runs right now, you need a map of the area?” Tim asked. 

I pulled my cell, “Send me a pic.” I recited my number to Melissa and she punched it into the computer.

“Three pickups, all within like ten minutes,” she said.  “I’ll give you the closest sinc …”

I held up a hand.  “Give me the furthest, tell me how long I’ve got to deliver then hired me if I beat the time.”

“That one’s time sensitive,” she replied.  “I think Joey better take it.”

“Let her have it,” Joey said with a grin.  “I’ve made that run a couple times, it’ll let us see what she can do.”

Melissa tapped a key and my phone pinged.  I glanced at it, scanned my memory for my trip around the city over the last two days and asked, “I need any ID?”

Tim tossed me a blaze orange vest with the Rock Dove logo across the back. I slipped it on.

“Come back here after or wait onsite for the next run?”

“Your choice, these are the only three we have so far,” Melissa replied.

“I’ll just cruise around then, check a few more places out and find a snack.”

I pushed off and cranked it up to cruising speed.

I think the worst part of a pick-up or delivery is waiting on an elevator in a building more than six or seven stories tall.  I can get up one of those using the stairs in half the time but a tall one, like my first stop … would seem weird for a bike messenger to pop out of the stair well on the 20th floor carrying a folding bike over one shoulder so … the slow way.

That first run turned out to be one prestigious law firm sending a contract to a second prestigious law firm about eight miles away … and they wanted it there in under an hour.  Had to smile.  Morning traffic, five miles at a crawl … yeah, they needed a bike messenger.  I took the package, tucked it into my backpack and took the stairs down … about three second.  Lucky I didn’t meet anyone coming up or going down.

On the street, yup, bumper to bumper, horns honking, people yelling and a coffee cart on the corner.  I grabbed a cup, added sugar, and pretty much chugged to the shock of the barista.

“That’s hot!”

“I noticed …” and I was gone.

People in Detroit, even in downtown Millennium City have no idea what to do if confronted by a rider, especially a rider in skin tight pants.  I didn’t HEAR any crashes but I heard a lot of cussing. Five miles, on a bike, when you can hit 45 with ease is not much time. Eight minutes later, I’m punching the button on the elevator of another ten story plus building trying to ignore the collection of young Turk lawyers checking me out.  I had to jam my bike between me and them as nobody seemed inclined to wait for the next ride but nobody bitched. Ended up giving out the phone number of Rock Dove and saw at least five writing it down.


A couple minutes later, with an escort of three very helpful young men, I found the office I needed.  I was kinda surprised when all there melted away when they saw which door I headed for.  There was a plaque at the elevator with the three names of the firm’s partners and the first listed was emblazoned on the door.  I ain’t afraid of no senior partner; I just pushed open the door and stepped up to the receptionist’s desk.

“Rock Dove delivery, sign here please.”

I offered the young woman the envelop and the receipt form just as an older man in a five thousand dollar suit stepped out of the inner office.

“That for me?” he asked, holding out a hand.

“Guess so,” I replied, “You want to sign?”

People might get all over me about playing on my looks. Yeah, well they aren’t working for five bucks a run, and this one took 10 minutes, so maybe $30 an hour on a good day.  The two twenties the guy handed me as a tip paid for a chunk of my rent, or lunch.

I punched the speed dial as I unfolded my bike.

“Delivered,” I said. “Unless you got another one, I’m gonna get some fuel.”

“Where are you?” Melissa asked.

“One Detroit Center … I thought Joey said he’d done this run before.”

“Looking up someplace to eat, what do you like?”

“Burgers, fires, something like that.”

“ Zo’s Good Burger, Other side of Grand and west about 100 yards.”

“Cool!  Thanks!”

ANNND there went three quarters of my tip.  Three mushroom onion Swiss on a sesame seed bun, two chili cheese fries, two chocolate shakes and two bottle of water.  Okay, ALL of my tip.  I think I left the place with everyone staring at me but it was pretty good so I gave them thumbs up on the way out.

Back down Woodward Ave, past the arena and the ball park into downtown. On impulse, I pulled into the park around the Woodward Fountain and dropped into the grass, the bike on the kick next to me.  I was bored, I needed another run. My phone vibrated.


“I’ve got five lunch orders from One Detroit,” Melissa said with a chuckle.  “Seems a bunch of junior lawyers got a sudden craving for Papa’s Pizza.”

“It’s only 9:30!”

“I don’t think they care if it is delivered by the ‘purple’ girl,” she laughed.  “$10 delivery fee, each! So $25 for you in one run.”

“Never tried moving five pizzas on a bike before.”

“It is only a few blocks, I am sure you’ll figure it out.”

Oh, yeah, I could see my future, pizza delivery girl to the lawyers of Detroit but, hey, it was money.  Maybe I needed saddle bags or a basket?


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