Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"The Courier": by Ronald Nitke

The Courier's Truck
["The Courier" is a book excerpt from Chapter 14 of an upcoming novel, "Hidden Assets", by Ronald Nitke].

The Courier

The faded red pickup began announcing its arrival a block and a half away, finally groaning to a stop right in front of the house. It displayed its primer gray touch-ups like badges of honor, while a coat hanger antenna vibrated in concert with the rumbling motor. A blue and red bungee cord strained to secure the front bumper to the chassis.

The unsmiling face that emerged hadn’t seen a razor in a few days and, thankfully, a shabby Los Angeles Raiders cap covered much of his untrimmed greasy hair. He looked like he was trying to locate an address.

Ricki hid behind the living room curtain. Mom said someone would be coming to pick up the old files.  They held seven years of Ricki’s tidy bookkeeping. It would be a courier she had said. 

Mom was supposed to have picked them up at the family meeting, but she got so excited talking about the family trust, college educations, and house down payments for grandchildren, she just forgot.

There would be financial security for the whole family, she assured. Neither Dad, nor anyone else could get a word in edgewise. 

They had found a financial advisor that was going to pull all of this together for them. He was an estate planning attorney, highly recommended, and he also knew about real estate. In fact, he seemed to know a lot about everything, as Arthur put it. 

Bill seemed impressed with what he heard Mom say at the family gathering. He gave his total support. Bill commented after the meeting that it was about time Mom and Dad started planning for the family’s future.

The doorbell rang. [Could this be the expected courier? Mom had used the word ‘courier,’ hadn’t she?]  Ricki wondered if there was a loaded gun in the house. 

If she didn’t answer, maybe he would just go away. 

The doorbell rang again, and again. 

[He wasn’t leaving. This must be his destination.] 

Ricki’s cheeks flushed. Her stomach churned. Oh well, Mom did say someone was coming for the files.  This has to be right.

There was no time to call Arthur.  His office was twenty minutes away. She cautiously stepped out from behind the safety of the curtain, gritted her teeth, and mounted the courage to open the front door. 

Before the man even spoke, a foul tobacco odor preceded him. He spat, barely missing his once-white Nikes.

Apparently he didn’t have a name, because he didn’t give one.  He only mumbled that someone named Max had sent him to pick up some of Ellen’s file boxes. 

[He seemed to know the right words, so it must be okay.  This must be the courier.]  

Struck speechless by the event, Ricki pointed to the three neatly taped banker boxes just inside the door. The man made no effort to hide his sweat-stained tee-shirt as he grunted his understanding. 

The only remaining communication from the man consisted of more unpleasant sounding grunts as he hoisted all three of the boxes atop his swollen belly and returned to his truck.

A dark-rooted blond wearing short-shorts she had obviously outgrown thirty pounds ago had already lowered the tail gate. Her grin revealed the absence of an incisor, which neatly allowed for the dangling Marlboro Red. 

The man carelessly tossed the boxes into the bed of the truck, splitting at least one of the seams, nearly allowing several bank statements to escape. He seemed satisfied that the boxes landed snugly amongst the half-crushed Bud Lite cans. He belched approval of his achievement as he reentered the cab and they left as quickly and as noisily as they had appeared. 

Ricki breathed a sigh of relief as the pickup rattled and sped out of sight. She wondered whether the boxes would survive the trip to their destination, wherever that might be. 

She wanted to call Arthur. She wanted to call Bill, but first Mom needs to know about this ...

Ronald Nitke
About The Author

Ronald Nitke has a B.S. in business administration, and has worked many years in corporate and forensic accounting. After serving aboard the USS Sanctuary 1967-1969, he was a logger in Northern Wisconsin.

In addition to writing several short stories, he is completing the final edits for a fact-based novel involving his forensic experiences, titled, "Hidden Assets". 

He and his wife Charlene, by way of Arizona, California, and Alabama are currently living in Appleton, Wisconsin, and restoring an 1880’s farmhouse. They share their space with a Golden Retriever, Lady Grace, and a Shih Tzu, Dixie Belle.

Read Ron's Short Story, "The Waiting Room and The Judge"

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“A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write.” ~CJ Heck


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! It's an interesting story --Traci Lawrence

CJ Heck said...

Thank you, Traci. It's an excerpt from Ron's upcoming novel -- I can't wait to read it and I hope you will, too, once it's published.