Amelia  Meets the Cops

 

APR 28, 2020: Millennium City, MI.

Well, the day started out promising. Weather guesser predicted upper 50’s and no rain and on the way to Rock Dove I spotted this place called Louie’s Ham and Corned Beef.  Sounded like the perfect breakfast! I started with pecan waffles with a side of bacon, gotta love some bacon.  Followed that up with an Irish omelet, four eggs, corned beef, onions, mushrooms, hash browns and Swiss … with a side of sausage links … and of course, three glasses of orange juice.  It filled in the corners.  Took longer for them to cook than for me to eat but I was back on the road in about half an hour and headed for Rock Dove.

Okay, let me tell you about Rock Dove.  It really wasn’t what I expected; I mean I had worked out of a garage in LA.  You know the filthy, greasy, smelly kind with a couple guys always tearing apart some car.  We were in the back, with a side entry and a boss with a stack of hand written delivery pickups that he’d shove at you without even bothering to look up. The exciting part of my day … was it going to be an interesting long run, and therefore lucrative, or was it a milk run across the stupid street with little prospects of tips?

Rock Dove, well, it was out of one of those Storage Places you can access 24/7. I don’t know, haven’t asked yet, if Rock Dove owned the whole place or just rented office space.  I kinda get the impression the self-storage part of the business probably did better than the messenger service but they paid me so it was something I could hope for. Anyway, they were in this white, clean, candle scented office area that seems pretty huge compared to the garage closet of my last job.

Melissa, the co-owner wife of Tim, one of the other messengers, was behind the long counter poking at her computer.  When I breezed in she looked up and smiled.

“Got something that might keep you busy all day,” she said with a grin.

Still reading her, so I didn’t know if she was being sarcastic or meant it honestly.

“Whatcha got?”

I deposited my backpack on the counter and opened it, found a lollypop and unwrapped it. Melissa handed me a Post It with the address for One Detroit Plaza … THAT place again.  “Got more for me?” I asked.

 Again Melissa smiled and said, “The Four S’s asked for you to deliver ‘as directed’.”

Almost sounded like she said four asses but I figured she was just making it easier then listing off Sampson, Simpson, Solomon and Suleiman.  I’d already meet Simpson Esq. on my very first run with Rock Dove.  He’d given me his card and a pretty poorly veiled offer to give me a ‘job’.  I knew what kinda ‘job’ he wanted but even if he wasn’t half-bad in an older, mature man sort of way with his three thousand dollar suit and handmade Italian shoes smelling of expensive cigars and just  as expensive cologne I was more into fresh air and opens roads.  Besides, I was too fast for him.

“Laters, Melissa!” I said on the way out.

Another thing about MC … it was a lot like San Francisco, without the hills.  Everything was within a couple miles of everything else.  Made getting anywhere a lot easier than sprawling LA where you might have to cover ten miles for one trip.  The ride was short, couple three, and I wasn’t in a huge hurry so I noted places to eat in my little lizard brain for future use in case I was accidentally starving.

One Detroit Plaza is a sixteen story plus building with like these pyramid things at the top, not like the Chrysler Building where it all came to a central peak, but like four walls, what are those things on a castle?  Mullions? No, crenellations!  Like teeth sticking up from the top.  Anyway, that’s what it was like.  And those things made the whole building look five or six floors taller than it was.  I guess the architect had some building envy or something.

So, ‘four asses’ was on the top floor, sixteen and that meant going up the slow way, in the elevator.  There were a lot of young guys in the cheaper, not quite off-the-rack suits, the fifty dollar haircuts, and the two hundred dollar shoes, that smelled pretty much the same, like there was a sale on cologne at Walmart™. Personally, I preferred a guy that smelled of soap and shampoo.

When we all piled off I spotted one of the pizza guys from the day before and gave him a little smile and a smaller wave.  He’d tipped well enough and it wasn’t too much out of my way so it paid to give the poor guy some tiny spark of hope. He blushed a little and I could feel his eyes on me as I walked up to the reception desk to confront Elise.  Several of my co-riders on the elevator tried in various ways to attract the receptionist’s notice but she was obviously not interested in anyone who made just six figures.

“Whatcha got for me?” I said as I leaned on the counter.

“Get off the counter!” she snarled.

Guess our relationship had turned overnight so I backed off just a little bit.

“Who are you?” Her glare was hostile.

Don’t get me wrong, I am used to it, from women anyway but her condescending tone raised my hackles.

“Rock Dove Messenger service,” I replied slowly enough for even her to get. “You have a delivery for me.” I made it a statement, to sort of remind her what HER job was.

She slapped a sheet of paper on the counter before me and said, “Sign!”

Just to help things along, I took my time to read it.  Simple, straight forward delivery to the MCPD, just a few miles away as I recalled.  Didn’t care much for the little lawyerese at the end but I’m not stupid. If I lost it or opened it or in any way tampered with it, they wouldn’t pay me.  I signed without comment and she slid a fairly small package across the counter to me.

I swung my backpack off and set it on the counter which got me a hard look and an obvious effort on her part not to snap at me again.  Unlatching the pack, I settled the package in above my helmet and the med kit I cared.  The lollypops I wedged in around it to hold it in place.  Just to spite her, I chose a lollypop and unwrapped it, stuck it in my mouth and handed her the wrapped.  I caught her off guard because she took it. Without a word I turned my back on her and sashayed over to the elevator. 

The area got quiet for a moment and I knew everybody male was watching my ass. After pressing the call button I turned back to Elise and gave her a little wave.  Okay, she was pissed.  It broke the spell my ass had on the guys in the area and they started to scatter.

When I stepped into the elevator and turned to press the ‘1’, I saw Simpson Esq. watching me through a crack in his highly polished and heavy oak door.  I licked the lollypop.  Back on the street I retrieved my bike, adjusted my pack, and set out for the cop shop.  Wasn’t far, only took about three minutes of weaving in and out of mostly stationary traffic to get there.

Look, I’m no architect but that police station was ugly modern and I was surprised no one bitched about the glare coming off the thing.  It looked like a bunch of crappy Apple computer knock-offs fell over on top of each other.  Kinda yucky.

The ‘front’ office was pretty much what I expected but I’d thought there’d be a half dozen people sitting in government-issue molded plastic chairs waiting their turn.  Nope, empty, well, except for one huge black guy brutalizing a poor computer.  Since he was behind a couple of feet of bullet-proof glass, I figured him for the desk sergeant.  He seemed to be all interested in something on his screen and apparently hadn’t noticed my stealthy approach.  There was a convenient little bellhop bell sitting there so I tapped it a couple times.

The cop rotated the chair and stood with a smile. His name plate said Sgt. Peppers.  Why did that sound like a joke?

“Can I help you, ma’am,” He asked.

Okay, the ‘ma’am’ thing was a little out there since I was probably young enough to be his granddaughter but it was nice to have a polite cop. I unslung my backpack and set it on the edge of the counter. 

Honestly, I half expected him to go for his gun so I said, “Rock Dove messenger service, got a package here from Sampson, Simpson and a couple other s’es.”

I presented the package and the delivery slip with it.  He took both with a grin, signed the slip and passed it back with a card. 

“What’s this for,” I asked, holding up the card.  I had noticed it had a magnetic strip on it.

“You’re one of us now,” he replied. “That’ll get you back into the snack area ‘case you did something to eat.”

Okay, that part was nice though dubious.  Eating anything from a police station snack bar had to be a stale as hell but maybe a drink.

“And if you can take this back to the lawyers,” he said as he slid a thin package across to me.

“Time critical?” I asked.

“Nah, and they’ll pay you.”

“Anything to sign?” I asked.

“We trust you,” he replied.

I tucked the package into my backpack and snapped it shut then slipped one arm through a strap.

“Okay, I’ll just grab something then I’ll be off,” I said, waving the card at him but he just returned to his computer to finish his Solitaire game.

A little plastic sign directed me to the snack area which proved to be behind a locked door.  There was a card reader so I swiped through.  The Snack bar was everything I’d expected, cheap dirty tables, industrial strength chairs, a vending machine for snacks and a soda machine.  Figured something to drink would be good.  Pepsi products but no bottled water or juices.  I had to settle for a plain Pepsi.

Thing didn’t have a coin slot, just another card reader.  Okay, it was getting weird.  I glanced at the card the desk sergeant had given me and swiped it. Had to pause when it worked.  What police station gave out free snacks to messengers?  Popping the top on the can I slipped and wandered over to the snack machine. It was one of those with a carousel and little doors at each level.

The one remaining turkey and cheese on white looked dehydrated but other than that is was Cup o Noodles. Man, I’d eat just about anything but that stuff was so salty I’d dry up and blow away.  I passed and went back to the lobby.

“Thanks for the drink, Sergeant,” I said placing the card on the counter.

“You keep that,” he said.  “Like I said, you’re one of us now.”

I slipped it in the pack then tossed the can into a recycle bin and headed out, a little puzzled and maybe a little concerned.

He’d said it twice … one of us … That sounded like I’d just been made part of something sinister.  It also got me wondering what the heck had been in the package from the lawyers.  Money?  Did I just deliver a bribe to the cops? Hell, what was in the package I was taking back?  Photo copied police reports?  Didn’t feel heavy enough for much else.  I wonder if the lawyers are getting a head’s up from the cops about one of the law firm’s clients?

Crap, all the stuff I delivered in LA and San Francisco never got me more than a proposition, a sexist remark, or a good sized tip.  Was that card my tip?  I hoped it wasn’t, I mean even if I was starving I doubt I’d get to that point of desperation …

I unlocked the bike and coasted onto the street. The way back to the law firm changed, I was still getting used to the city and decided to take an alternate route.  I wanted to make note of places for food. I wasn’t paying that much attention as I rode but reflexes like mine tend to keep me out from under a bus, luckily.  I shook myself and watched where I was going.

 

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