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Story for Your Enjoyment

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    Posted: March/14/2010 at 9:00am
THE DELIVERY BOY
             
Grayson had just sat down to watch the Bond marathon on television when the doorbell rang. Grunting, he muted the TV and hurried down the short hall to the foyer. He was looking forward to a quiet evening at home, and this interruption was most definitely unwelcome.
              
“Yes?” Grayson said, pulling open the door. A teenaged boy in black pants and blue shirt with matching blue cap stood on the doorstep, holding a pizza box. “Can I help you?”
              
“Extra large veggie,” the boy said, holding up the box. “That’ll be fifteen ninety.”
              
Grayson blinked. “Excuse me?”
              
“Fifteen ninety,” the boy repeated with a smile, rocking on the balls of his feet. Steam was rising from the pizza box.
              
“I think there’s been a mistake,” Grayson said. “You must have the wrong house.”
              
The boy consulted a scrap of paper in his palm. “Is this 409 Prescott Road?”
              
“Yes, it is.”
              
“Then this is the right house.”
              
“No, it isn’t,” Grayson said slowly, trying to keep his temper in check. Somewhere behind him, Agent 007 was sipping a martini with a buxom blonde, and he was eager to play voyeur. “I didn’t order a pizza.”
              
“Are you sure?”
              
“Of course I’m sure,” Grayson said, his voice rising. “I think I would know if I ordered a pizza.”
              
“Perhaps someone else at this residence ordered the pizza and forgot to mention it to you,” the boy said, undaunted, his smile never wavering.
             
“There’s no one here but me, son, and I will say this just one final time, so listen closely. I did not order a veggie pizza.”
              
“But this is the correct address,” the boy said, holding out the scrap of paper with Grayson’s address scribbled on it, as if that proved something. “That’ll be fifteen ninety.”
              
“I didn’t order any (i'm 12 and just learned how to swear)ing pizza!” Grayson shouted and slammed the door in the boy’s face.
              
Grayson waited by the door until he heard footsteps retreating down the walk, then an engine revving and a car pulling away from the curb.
              
“Damn stupid kid,” he muttered, returning to the den and Bond, James Bond.

* * *
              
The next morning, when Grayson stepped outside to retrieve the paper, he found a pizza box sitting on his doorstep. Raising the lid, he discovered a cold veggie pizza inside, a large fat slug squirming along the edge of the crust.
              
“Unbelievable,” Grayson said, closing the lid and taking the box to the trashcan by the driveway. “The kid is nuts.”

* * *
              
Grayson was taking a Sunday afternoon nap on the sofa when he was awakened by the doorbell. He stretched languidly and stumbled to the door.
              
“Extra large Meat Lovers,” the delivery boy said. He was wearing the same outfit, and the same megawatt smile. “That’ll be thirty-one eighty.”
              
“You’ve got to be (what i do in my pants on a regular basis) me?” Grayson growled.
              
“No, sir. That’s fifteen ninety for the Meat Lovers, and fifteen ninety for last night’s veggie.”
              
“I threw that damn veggie in the trash.”
              
The boy shrugged. “It’s not my business what you did with the pizza, sir, but you still have to pay for it.”
              
“I didn’t order that goddamn pizza,” Grayson yelled. “And I didn’t order this one either.”
              
The boy pulled another scrap of paper from his pocket and said, “Is this 409 Prescott Road?”
              
Grayson snatched the paper from the boy’s hand and ripped it in two. “Look, son, either you’re playing some kind of joke on me, or someone is playing a joke on you. Either way, I did not order these pizzas and I will not be paying for them.”
              
“That’ll be thirty-one eighty, sir,” the boy said as if he hadn’t heard a word Grayson had said.
              
Grayson had the overwhelming urge to punch the boy right in the face, but he resisted it, just barely. He scanned the boy’s shirt, cap, and the pizza box, but none of them had any kind of logo printed on them. “What pizza place do you work for, son?” Grayson asked, lacing his voice with saccharine sweetness.
              
With his ever-present smile, the boy said, “The same company you called to order the pizzas, sir.”
              
“I didn’t call anybody,” Grayson snapped. “But if you don’t stop bothering me, I will be calling the cops on your sorry ass.”
              
Grayson slammed the door and stalked through the house to the kitchen. Flipping through the phone book, he found three pizza places in town that offered delivery. Snatching up the phone, he dialed the number for the first one.
              
“Pete’s Pizza Palace,” a female voice answered. “How may we help you?”
              
“Yeah, I need to know if you sent a deliveryman to my address this afternoon and also last night.”
              
“What is the address?”
              
“409 Prescott Road.”
              
A pause then, “No, sir, we did not. In fact, you live outside the city limits. We don’t deliver outside the city limits.”
              
Grayson hung up and called the other two places, with the same results. They had not sent a deliveryman to his house, and neither place delivered outside the city limits.
              
Grayson walked cautiously through the house back to the foyer. Peeking out the small window by the door, he saw that the delivery boy was gone, but he could also see the pizza box sitting on the doorstep. It soon joined the other one in the trash.

* * *
              
When Grayson got home from work the next day, he found two large pizza boxes on his doorstep. On top of them was a bill for sixty-three sixty.
              
“Mother(i'm 12 and just learned how to swear)er!” Grayson shouted, kicking the pizzas into the bushes. He stormed into the house and called the police.
              
“This is Officer Andrews. What seems to be the problem?”
              
“Yeah, I’m being harassed at my home.”
              
“Okay, is someone threatening you?”
              
“No, not exactly. This guy, he keeps leaving pizzas on my doorstep.”
              
A pause. “I’m sorry, sir, could you repeat that?”
              
“A guy keeps leaving pizzas on my doorstep, four so far.”
              
A laugh then, “If only I could get harassed like that.”
              
“This is serious. This guy is posing as a delivery boy, but he doesn’t work for any of the pizza places in town; I’ve already checked. He keeps insisting I ordered these pizzas and demanding money for them.”
              
“Okay, sir, give me your address and I’ll have an officer come out to take your statement.”
              
“Thank you,” Grayson said, giving his address then hanging up the phone.
              
He went to throw away the two new pizza boxes then decided to leave them. Evidence. Maybe the cops could dust them for the boy’s fingerprints. One way or another, Grayson was going to put a stop to this (censored).

* * *
             
The next night, while Grayson was having a beer and surfing the ‘net, the doorbell rang.
              
“There you are,” Grayson said and bounded down the stairs, wrenching the door open.
              
“Three extra large pepperoni,” the delivery boy said. “That’ll be one hundred eleven dollars and thirty cents.”
              
“(i'm 12 and just learned how to swear) you,” Grayson said and lashed out. His fist connected with the boy’s chin, finally wiping that satisfied smile off his face.
              
The boy dropped the pizza boxes, the pizzas spilling out onto the ground. “You’re still going to have to pay for those,” the boy said, his unruffled calm finally becoming ruffled. His bottom lip was bright with blood.
              
“I’m not paying for (censored),” Grayson said, pushing past him and running to the street. A dark blue four-door Honda Accord idled at the curb. Grayson ran around it to check the license plate number, just as Officer Andrews had suggested. As Grayson rounded the car, he stopped, his own smile withering like a slug sprinkled with salt. There was no license plate.
              
“I don’t know what your problem is,” the delivery boy said, storming up the walk, “but you’re racking up quite a bill for these pizzas. Accounts will come due, sir, and you will have to pay what you owe.”
              
“I’ve called the cops,” Grayson said. “I’ve given them your description.”
              
“I’m warning you,” the boy said, getting into the car and slamming the door. “Pay what you owe or else.”
              
“Or else what?”
              
The delivery boy stuck his head out the window and fixed Grayson with a glare so dangerous and full of poison that Grayson actually stumbled back a few steps. Without another word, the boy started his car and drove away.

* * *
              
Grayson came home from work the next day to find five large pizzas waiting on the doorstep, along with a bill for one hundred ninety dollars and eighty cents. Grayson took the top pizza, tossed it on the ground, and jumped up and down on it like a petulant child.
              
Grayson called the police again, asking for Officer Andrews.
              
“More pizzas?” Andrews asked in a weary voice.
              
“Yes, more pizzas. Now he’s asking for almost two hundred dollars.”
              
“I’m really not sure what more we can do for you, sir.”
              
“I want this guy caught.”
              
“Well, we have no name, no license plate number.”
              
“I told you what kind of car he drives.”
              
“Yes, a dark blue Honda. Do you have any idea how many dark blue Hondas there are out there? You couldn’t even narrow down the year of the car for us.”
              
“Excuse me for not being an expert on cars. Look, can’t you just have an officer patrol my neighborhood?”
              
“When? According to you, he comes at different times throughout the day. Without an established pattern, what do you suggest? I can’t keep someone out there twenty-four hours a day.”
              
“So you’re just going to do nothing?”
              
“Sir, what do we really have here? Someone is leaving you pizzas, lots of pizzas. He has not attempted to break into your home, has not laid a hand on you—“
              
“He threatened me,” Grayson interrupted. “I told you, last night he threatened me.”
              
“I believe you told me he said you needed to pay up or else. Not exactly the most ominous threat in the world.”
              
“It was the way he said it, and the look in his eyes. I’m telling you, this kid is unstable.”
              
“I’m sorry, we have the description, we’ll do what we can. Honestly, sir, I simply cannot spare anymore men on this. We have higher priority cases.”
              
Grayson opened his mouth to protest, but the line went dead as Andrews hung up on him.
              
“Sonofabitch,” Grayson said, slamming the phone down.

* * *
              
That night, when the doorbell rang, Grayson didn’t answer it.
              
He was sitting in the den, eating a microwave meal, and the familiar chimes drilled into his brain like needles. He tried to ignore the bell, to block it out. It seemed an incredibly childish tactic—ignore him and maybe he’ll go away—but he didn’t know what else to do.
              
He squealed and dropped his meal on the carpet when he heard a banging directly behind him. Grayson whirled around and gasped to see the delivery boy’s face at the window behind the sofa. He was smiling in at Grayson, but the smile did not touch his eyes.
              
“Go away,” Grayson said, wishing his voice sounded more threatening. “I don’t want any of your damn pizzas.”
              
“Oh, no pizzas tonight,” the delivery boy said, his breath fogging up the window glass. “Your account has come due, sir. I’m here to collect payment.”
              
“You’re (i'm 12 and just learned how to swear)ing crazy,” Grayson said, backing toward the phone. He grabbed it, punched in 911, then held it up to his ear to discover a dead line. He let the phone drop to his feet.
              
Glass exploded into the den as the delivery boy smashed through the window, crawling over the couch, heedless of the shards that dug into his hands. His smile had mutated into something predatory and hungry.
              
Grayson ran for the kitchen, digging through the cutlery drawer, coming out with the biggest butcher knife he could find. He whirled around just as the delivery boy pushed through the swinging door.
              
“Stay back,” Grayson yelled, holding the knife out toward the boy. The blade shook violently in his hands.
              
The delivery boy laughed. “In a game of rock/paper/scissors, a gun beats a knife every time,” he said, then pulled a .45 and leveled it at Grayson’s chest.
              
“No, wait,” Grayson said desperately, dropping the knife and pawing his wallet from his back pocket. He pulled out all the cash and tossed it at the delivery boy. “Take it, take it all. You win, I’ll pay.”
              
“Sorry, sir, it’s a little late for that,” the boy said, advancing on Grayson, the barrel of the gun never wavering.
              
Grayson backed into the corner, sliding down the wall until he was huddled on the floor, crying and holding his hands up in a silent plea for his life.
            
“We’ve gone far beyond mere money,” the delivery boy said, his serene smile resurfacing. “Way beyond. It’s going to take more than cash to settle your account, and I’m here to collect.”

Mark Allan Gunnells
We are not strangers to ourselves, we only try to be. --Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
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brotheroddkins View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote brotheroddkins Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/15/2010 at 12:01am
Really good, FE. Reminds me a little of Bentley Little. Great short story.
Reading: The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan & Urban Gothic by Brian Keene


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dnurse64 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/15/2010 at 4:34am
That was excellent FE. I've never heard of Bentley Little though.

That's not the final ending is it? I want you to go on with it and work it into something bigger.

I like the way it was unfolding. I could imagine something like that happening in real life. The way you handled the police was realistic too. There are many possibilities for this story to develop into a novella if you don't care for a longer work of fiction.
I'm inclined to believe in parallel worlds filled with dark bound Snow and Odd adventures.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FinalExam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/16/2010 at 11:48am
Glad you guys liked it. It was just me having fun, which is what most of my stories are.
We are not strangers to ourselves, we only try to be. --Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
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