“Who sends a telegram these days?” John thought. He sat down at his weathered desk and re-opened the letter.
My name is Tonya Alsip. You don’t know me, but you were in our town 5 years ago, a little town in Arizona called Weatherton. I worked at the Five-and-Dime and you came in one night to buy milk and a pack of tobacco. I hope you don’t use that stuff too much; it’s really bad for your lungs. Anyways, a guy and his girl came into the store and walked over to the freezer section. I heard him say something about some Colt .45 so I think he was looking for the cold cans instead of the dry ones. She seemed really tired or sad, I wasn’t sure which but she looked really upset about being with him. They started getting loud, well more so him, while she seemed to be growing more and more upset. Anyways, you went over there and calmed him down. I remember the girl looking at you, with tired eyes and saying thank you. I carded you to learn your name and I never forgot it. Anyways, you were on the news a while back staying in Nothing, so I tracked you down. I seriously need your help, Mr. Crawford.
My momma’s real sick, that’s not the thing you can help with , but it’s all directly related. See, her boss makes her help down at the packing plant with all this other stuff not related to her job (she packs boxes of matches and things). But, I think it’s making her sick. She comes home tired and her eyes red and she gets real moody. Perhaps you could help us like you did that sad girl the day in the Five-and-Dime? There ain’t many good people in this town but I never forgot what you did that day.
She left an address on the envelope. I’ve got 50 bucks to my name and no way to get there. Unless…..
“Thank you sir, we appreciate your business here at Rent-a-Nation, Mr…..Wilson.” The checkout clerk handed me some keys. Hope Sam doesn’t mind I remembered his credit card number when we were busting heads a few months back.
I drive out to Los Angeles, a miserable trip and when I arrive the city is standing in a smoking parlor. A soot cloud hangs heavy over every building and street and traffic is long and grueling. The only thing piercing it is a streak in the sky; must be a plane, but it’s flying awfully low. When I arrive at Tonya’s place, you’d have thought I was some kind of hero like John Wayne and she hugged me tightly. She introduce me to her momma; she was strung out but she seemed like decent folk. I got the address and told Tonya to stay put while I checked things out. Still got my 50 bucks too.
The factory was a shipping plant and it seemed to be the cause of LA’s smog issue. Huge stacks of billowing blackness puffed out from every few feet of the roof of this place, like an aged smoker inhaling the very thing killing them. Sad and stupid. I snagged a “Contractor” badge I found in a bin by a timeclock near the back entrance. I got yelled at by some guy that I shouldn’t be back here but I just kept moving. My face stays hidden so I don’t attract much attention. I found a dark corner up in the rafters to hide out in until closing time.
It seemed to finally hit about 8:30 pm. The last supervisor in a tie with a clipboard walked into a little room and shut off the light. Conveyor belts were all switched off. It was ghostly quiet. I got down and did some poking around. That supervisor didn’t leave though; I peered in through a window and saw a joint in his hand and his pants around his ankles. Guess he’s relieving stress best way he knows how.
I spent the better part of 2 hours manuerving around that empty place before I found what looked like a closed off section but I saw tire tracks going into the wall. I found a lock on the wall and clicked it open and finally saw some light. In I ventured until I could see it was a loading dock lit up and a huge truck was sitting in the bay, back door open. A few guys in dark overalls were lifting boxes onto a skid that a fork driver was lifting up into the truck, but his forks were lifting above the back over to the top. John snuck in quickly and quietly until he could get a good look. And his look stumped him even more. He saw two people, women, from their nice figures, in dark outfits picking up the boxes and….flying off. Their feet were fiery orange, perhaps rockets boosters or something. They were taking these boxes and loading them into something else because every 5 seconds they were coming back for more. John saw a rat chewing on something to his left and tried to shoo it when he kicked something; metal and small. He felt hot breath above him.
“Hey, you don’t belong here!” a big guy in black overalls holding a crowbar yelled out. A few more guys crowded around him as he stood up and saw just how big this operation was. The flying females shot in quickly and were in front of him before he realized it.
“Sissy, it looks like we have a peeping Tom.” one of them remarked as the other just cackled as she tossed back her pretty perfect hair. Tonya, I hope you’re not up waiting.