Fiction

Wrong Address

By Eric Burbridge

            “I didn’t hear anybody at the door, Marsha.” Craig said and opened it. “You were right.” He looked down there were two styrofoam boxes with vital refrigerate content labels on them. He stooped and carefully lifted the containers not to aggravate his back. “It’s medicine.”

            “You expecting some?”

“No. This stuff looks really important like it says.” Craig examined the address. “This is for 1174 Berman not Birch Street.” He looked down the street hoping the UPS, Amazon or whoever was still around.

            Marsha stood right behind him in her robe. “See them?”

            “No, they’re gone. How do you make that kinda mistake?” Craig said, closed the door and gave his wife a kiss. “Somebody is subject to lose their job.”

            “I’ll take a picture and tell them to come and get it.”

            “What if they don’t come soon or at all. I’ll take them over there. I haven’t ridden my trike all year,” and he headed for the garage. “I need the exercise.”

*

            “Do you know the customer service guy was short with me.”

            “What he say?” Craig washed his hands and went to the frig.

            “The driver scanned it as delivered, lady.” He snapped. “I told them it was a vital medical shipment. Then I was disconnected, of course.”

            “Well, my trike needed air in the back tires and dusting off. I’ll run it over after I eat a sandwich.”

            “You’ll be someone’s hero and, in the meantime, I’m going to write a nice complaint,” Marsha said.

            Craig squeezed the back brake handle when he rolled out the garage. The brakes worked fine. The gears fell into place correctly and off he went. The wind in his face felt good. He waved at a few neighbors who did not recognize him at first. The houses on Berman Street bordered the old Evergreen Park and the newer sub-division. The wood frame houses had picket fences and more space between structures. His destination was in the middle of the block. 1174 Berman was a mess, uncut grass and the proverbial white picket fence gate barely hung on its hinges. Several small children played in the front yard. The girls needed braids and the boy’s haircuts, not to mention new clothes. As he approached, they stopped and stared. What were they looking at? Jesus, he wasn’t the boogeyman. A little boy picked up a plastic bat and partially blocked the sidewalk. Craig stopped, dismounted and reached in the rear basket. “Does Carol Sutton live here? I have a package for her.”

            “She ain’t here, mister.” The little kid with dirty blonde hair snapped.

            “Is she your mom?” Craig asked before he thought about that. Why did he ask, that was stupid? “I got this package…”

            “She still ain’t here.”

            He wanted to snatch that bat and ring the little brat’s neck, but he got back on his trike and let. When he got to the end of the block he stopped and pulled out his cell phone.

*

            “Hold on, just a minute!” Marsha shouted. Whoever it was rang the bell like a bunch of trick or treater’s. She peeked out the blinds and two ladies stood on the porch. Who is this? “Hello.” She said through the storm door. The older of the two women smiled. She needed dental work like yesterday.

            “I’m sorry to bother you, but we’re looking for some medicine that might have been delivered here by mistake.” They looked concerned if not desperate.

            “Oh, thank God, yes it was.”

            “Hallelujah!” The woman who looked to be in her early forties reached for the sky. “I told you ma it was probably here.”

            “Come in.” Marsha unlocked the door and opened it. “It’s hot out there.”

            “No, no that’s okay, we’ll take it and be on our way.” The older lady reached in her pocket. “Here’s my ID.”

            “That’s not necessary.” But Marsha glanced at it anyway. “My husband left a minute before you rang with the boxes on his bike to give them to you.” Her cell rang. “My phone is ringing, just a one second.” She hurried to the kitchen. “Hello.”

            “It’s me, you wouldn’t believe what happened…”

            “Hurry back, Craig. The people are here for their package.”

*

            Two females came into view the closer he got to his place. Both were dressed as if they had been working in a garden. “Sorry, I missed you ladies.” Craig said, got off his bike, grabbed the boxes and handed them over. “Marsha said I just missed you.”

            “That’s okay.” The older one said her stained cap didn’t do a good job of covering her nappy gray hair.

            Obviously, she was aggravated. He couldn’t blame her. “I’m so rude…I’m Craig and I take it you met my wife?”

            “Yes.” The younger woman said. “I’m Carol, thank you for this. This is vital for us.”

            “I’m Rachael, the mom and thank y’all. They turned and hurried down the block.

*

            Craig and Marsha laughed about his encounter with hostile kids. That short bike ride loosened the muscles in his back. He decided to wash the car. It had been a while since he rubbed and scrubbed on his twenty plus year old Camry. Craig power rinsed his prized possession when he turned around. “Jesus,” he grabbed his chest. “You scared the mess out of me.”

            Carol smiled holding back her laughter. “I’m sorry, Craig I didn’t mean to scare you.”

            She cleaned up well. Her hair was curled, her shorts hugged her curves and that sleeveless top enhanced her breasts. “Oh, that’s okay.”

            “I saw you washing this beauty and thought I’d say hello again. I’m on my way to a friend’s house. I’ll be home in an hour or so, drop by I’ve got a surprise for you. Get it while its hot as they say.” She turned and headed across the street.

            Craig didn’t know whether to be flattered, insulted or both. He sucked in his small beer belly and thought of his younger days. He was up in age, but he wasn’t a fool. No sooner then he left Carol’s house the phones would be ringing off their hooks and she’d find a way to tell Marsha. He envisioned his short petite wife standing over him with her favorite breakfast cast iron skillet, “Enjoy your breakfast-in-head, honey,” or she’d shoot him, if he survived, the divorce would kill him. No, thanks, Carol. He finished drying the car and went inside.

Categories: Fiction

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