Roscoe saw lots of crazy things in his time as a courier. People wanted really weird stuff delivered sometimes.
There was the time that he had to pick up lunch for some executives from six different restaurants.
And then another time, he carried a 2 million dollar painting in a metal tube to an art gallery during rush hour.
He was pretty sure that he’d even delivered drugs, weapons, or other illegal substances at least a couple of times.
His boss didn’t really care what was in the package, as long as the payment cleared before the pickup was scheduled.
He was lucky in that he only rode a bicycle, so the size of his deliveries were pretty limited.
One of his buddies who ran a van once had to drop off over 800 boxes of donuts to a convention, without a dolly.
Early mornings were super busy with deliveries through to 10 am or so, and then again in late afternoon.
Almost always, the middle of the day was quiet outside of the random food deliveries.
When Roscoe’s boss called him in at 10:30, he figured it was probably for another executive luncheon fiasco.
“Pick up this box,” his boss said, “and be careful with it. Super fragile.” He handed the scribbled address over.
“Should I bring some stuff and pack it up safer?” Roscoe asked, already mapping his route in his head.
“Absolutely not,” his boss said, “the client says not to open it under any circumstances, no matter what.”
Roscoe shrugged. “Whatever. Client’s always right. Where am I taking this super fragile thing?”
His boss shrugged back. “Don’t know. The client says they have the address there, that it’s within your area.”
Roscoe didn’t like the sound of that. “My range is pretty far. How do I know I can get back for the afternoon run?”
The boss grinned, held up a receipt, and Roscoe was damned impressed. He was retained all day, with a hefty tip.
“Right, then! On my way!” Roscoe grabbed the strap sack meant for keeping odd-shaped packages safe and left.
The first stop was actually a little outside of his range, but he didn’t mind. It was also in a residential area.
That wasn’t so weird itself, except that it was a slummy apartment building with no working elevator.
Why would someone who paid him that much be holed up in a scummy, nasty place like this?
Each to his own, Roscoe told himself, and he went up the stairs to the fourth floor and knocked on the door.
Several locks disengaged on the other side, the door opened only about a foot, and a box and note were slipped outside.
Roscoe pulled the box into the landing and the door slammed shut, the locks audibly snapping back in place.
Gingerly, Roscoe picked up the package, a metal hinged lid with a lock on the side and tiny ventilation holes on the top.
He’d seen boxes like that before, like when he delivered lab rats to the hospital downtown. He didn’t think much of it.
Roscoe strapped the package up really well making sure not to cover too many holes in case it was lab rats again.
He hefted it onto his back, and it was a little lighter than he expected. Whatever was inside was well padded, though.
He started back down the stairs and read the address for the drop off. He knew the area well, but it was across town.
Whatever, he’d been paid well for the day. He could actually enjoy the ride and take his time.
Across town he went, all the way to destination. The address was a nearby shop, but there were more instructions.
They directed him to go to the walkway bridge over the river and wait for further instructions from his boss.
He radioed in to his boss that he’d gotten to the site. His boss replied that he needed to quietly drop it in the river.
Roscoe wasn’t sure how to respond to that. He’d heard of these kinds of drops, but they always made him uncomfortable.
He asked about it. His boss said it was likely some kind of evidence, and the less he knew about it, the better.
It sounded like his boss had been involved in these kinds of drops before, and he wasn’t interested in debating it.
Roscoe bought an ice cream and sat down to enjoy it while waiting for the crowd to clear.
He examined the padlock on the metal hasp, and he figured that the holes were to make sure it sank.
As he finished his ice cream, the lunch crowd was thinning out and he realized that the time was drawing close.
He lifted the box up so that he could get a subtle stance with it when something inside the box moved of its own volition.
Roscoe’s blood ran ice cold as the thing inside the box let out a faint, sad, hungry little cry.
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