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Emily Mowery: “Courier”

Courier woke up at 6:30 again by rolling up and then swinging his long, lanky legs to the side of the mattress.  He grabbed a water bottle and his bike and headed out the door.  In a brisk pace, he carried his bike down the corridor and then down the stairs.  He stuck his water in the pocket of his sweater, causing a clunky bulge but he didn’t care, and headed down to work.  

Courier looked at his rough reflection in the glass of the cars he passed, watching the early birds walk along the street into coffee shops or other places to get breakfast for their higher-ups.  The day felt colder than most; the sky was gray as his shirts and the wind was hitting his face hard like gods of wind were not giving him speed, but sloth.

Couple of blocks down, he let his mind wander with the others but stay in his head enough to get to work with ease.  Courier swerved into the indent of sidewalk and road that lead to his work.  He glided off his bike to lean it against the wall, his bike was thinner than need be and dirty-like him- but it was a good bike. His boss drove up soon afterward and parked close.  

Most clients don’t come until at least seven, so Courier just waited.  Around seven, a businessman with some sort of important disk came as well as a lover wanting a love letter to be delivered to his lady. He got a few more assignments to go to varying places of the city before a woman in a nice blazer drove up around noon.

Her hair was auburn and shiney, her lips were bright red and shrunken with age, her heels tapped against the ground like a rushing teacher at school.  She carried a thin, yellow package with an official heir.  She first walked to Courier and asked who was in charge of the establishment.  

Courier nudged his head at his boss who sat idly in his car playing games on his phone.  She tapped her shoes to the passenger side of the car, then again sharply with a claw-like nail as red as her blood colored lips.  The boss jumped a bit then rolled down the window.  

“I need your fastest and most efficient messenger,” she said, “Someone who will not disappoint.”

The boss directed him to the young man with messy hair and blue bike, then added that he was the guy for her.  She tapped back to Courier and got a little too close for comfort to him.  He could smell her rotten rose perfume slick up around her like a shield against others.

“This package is a very important package.  You are not to open it, lose it, or damage it in any way, shape, or form.  Understand?” She peered with her black, shiney eyes into his.  He nodded, intimidated by her. “I need you to take it to Destiny-to the address here.”  She tapped at the address on the package, “And you will be paid $31,000.”

Courier’s eyes widened and his eyebrows shot up.  Holy frick frack yes!  He took the package and hopped on his bike like a hare.

“You will be paid if you can get it there before sunset!” She exclaimed as he was about to leave.  That will make things harder, he thought to himself, but that’s a lot of money.

The wind blew his dark, shaggy hair back and made his eyes water, but it was good.  His feet pedalled fast with excitement and he said aloud with aims to his mom, “Momma, I’m gonna make big bucks for you!”

He bicycled through the city, being careful enough not to get hit by a car or run over a pedestrian, but reckless enough to be fast as a car itself.  His heart was racing, but his mind was faster.  He had so many bills to pay and he would finally have the money to do it with.  Courier was ecstatic; the blood was singing in his veins with achievement and anticipation.  In one of the reflections he looked at, he could have sworn he saw his young mother standing on the back of his bike.  Her short, black bob was billowing back and her pale skin was luminant.  Her dark, small eyes held infinites of joy and sparkle.  Her pale pink lips smiled, showing off pearly whites.  She held his shoulders and told him she was proud of him.

He got to the outskirts of the city and breathed in the cleaner air, filling his lungs and stomach deep with oxygen and releasing a fresh new breath of opportunity.  He glided down the streets and into the highway between the cities like a leaf along a stream.  Courier was thinking of all the good that could come from the money: a proud mother, a shower everyday, breakfast AND dinner, rent, etc.

He got to Groundsville quick, but not as quick as he would have prefered, but that was alright.  Just don’t waste anymore time, he thought to himself.  Gliding and swerving through the streets, he felt himself getting increasingly tired.  He drank all of his water and he could use a refill and directions, so he went to the bike messenger post of Groundsville.

He swooped in and was stunned with amazement by the size and cleanness of the building. The building was built like a glass can with three stories.  There were ramps and bike racks in the back room, clean shag carpeting on the floor, vending machines that sold water, gatorade, coffee, bagels, chips, etc. It was prime and smelled of chemicals.  A man at the front desk greeted him and asked him if he was a new applicant.

“Oh, no,” Courier said awkwardly, “I was hoping to refill my water bottle and get a shortcut from here to the next town over.”

“I can do more than that for you, brother,” the man said.  He was built thickly with meaty fingers and neck, but kept a fit feel about him.  His hair was sandy blonde and his eyes green like sea glass. “I’ll get you one of our protein bars on the house.”

Courier was hesitant, he didn’t like to accept handouts, but he took it anyway because the grumbling monster that lived inside him was becoming loud again.  He sat down at a table and watched the other messengers walk in and out of the swinging doors, some counting cash and others playing on their phones.

“Tell me ‘bout yourself, brother,” the man said.  His voice was low and creamy, but his eyes were spread out slightly too far to be attractive.

“Uhm,” Courier was at a loss, “I’m a messenger from Emoh, and I’ve got to deliver this package to Destiny before the sun sets.”

“In a bit of a time crunch, aren’t ya?”

“Yeah, but I’m getting paid $31,000 to do it.”

The man’s bushy, white eyebrows jumped, “Oh really?”

“Yeah…” Courier said and felt like he might have made a mistake.

“Well then,” the man began to resemble a lion stalking its prey, “Hate to be late and miss out on that.  I’ll getcha a map.”  The man clamped his meaty palm on Courier’s shoulder as he got up and walked to the desk.

“I’ll just go to the restroom,” said Courier timmidly.  He got up and walked into the restroom, and what he saw next he could not have thought of.  There was four men helping another blood dope.  Courier stood there stunned for a few moments.

How could a place so pristine and clean be hiding cons like this?  No glorious bike messenger post would knowingly allow blood dopers to reside there.  This was against code-forget that- it was against morals.  Blood doping was an extremely horrible crime in which a person attempts to raise their VO2 levels by injecting blood with high oxygenation back into their bloodstream.

One of the men looked up and asked him gruffly, “What?”  Courier just walked to the urinal and took an extra long pee.  As the yellow stream flowed lightly, he considered whether or not he should got to the police.

If her went to the police, he could bring these perpetrators to justice, make his mother proud by following the  morals she taught him, and be a model for all bike messengers; however, if he did then he could run out of time to get to Destiny in time.  But if he just minded his own business, he could get to Destiny in time and get the money… but thata would be against the morals of his mother.

Courier decided to go to the police and risk not getting to Destiny in time.  He washed his hands quickly then dried them on his pants as he rushed out the great, metal door.  He got on his bike and was half way down the street when the man from the front desk rode up beside him.

“Hey, brother, forgot your map.”

“I’m good.”

“C’mon, let’s talk about what you saw in there.”

“I saw illegal stuff.”

“Yeah, but c’mon, you really gotta rat?”

“I gotta do what’s right,” Courier affirmed and sped up.  He felt a sense of pride bubble up in him for doing what his mother would have, but a sense of fear edge up from his heels.  He was zipping through streets for anything that looked like a police car or station, but soon he heard bicycles behind him.  He was being pursued.

Courier rushed down three more streets when he finally saw a station: dirty, small, and sad.  He rode in and quickly, hopped off, and ran into the station with a heaving chest.

“I need to report illegal activity!” He demanded like a dweeb.  His eyes were darting and his mind rumbling with a rush of fear and determination.  His hands were sweaty and shaking, his heart was thumping, his legs weak.  The world began to happen too much.

A police officer addressed him and placed a hand on his shoulder-causing a loud disruption to the world and bringing him focus on the hand.  The police officer listened to what Courier had to say.  Courier burst into a tangent on what he saw and accidentally spat on the officer’s face.  The officer said that it would be looked into and to watch out.  Courier was glad to have helped the law in any way he could, but afraid to go outside.  But he had to.

Courier ran out with his bike and hopped on as fast as he could and rode to where he thought the right way to go was.  He had been cycling for a minute when he heard the other messengers.  Fear forced his eyes to look back and saw a good hoard of messengers.

Panicked, Courier sped up until his blood was singing and he couldn’t feel his legs pedal.  Something hard hit his back, and he looked back again.  They had begun to throw rocks at him and were shouting slanders.  The insults of words stung like the thump of rocks against his toned legs.

Courier tried to tire them out, but only a few were left the hoard.  He made a turn into a dead end and then tried to climb up a ladder fast.  He got to a roof and saw that some were coming up after him.  He picked up a rock and began hitting the rusted and decayed bars to break it; one hinge came broke.  It was enough to make one messenger fall and push down the others.  Courier heard a string of thuds, cursing, and yelling as he turned away from the ladder.  He ran across the roof and jumped onto the next then slid down the railing of the other ladder and rode off.  Courier saw from up high which direction to go, so he followed best he could from memory, but he felt the succubus of weariness make him tired.

Courier got out of the city, heaving air worse than a thirty year old vaccuum on its worsts day.  He was looking around and remembering his actions-actions that seemed good to take at the time but were destructive.  Anger brushed itself across his face for causing chaos in the city, for damaging public property, for being a bad boy.  He was no better than the other bike messengers.

He saw little hairy creatures rolling near, screaming that he was going to hell.  He saw short trolls shouting that he was no better.  He saw zooming bugs screaming that he is unworthy of the money and has disappointed his mother.  He tried to tell himself that those were plants, but his mind was so tired and dehydrated that there was no sense any more.

Courier began to cry.  No!  I’m sorry, he thought, I was trying to escape.  He bicycled through the hellish creatures shouting at him and cried hysterically until he got into the next town.

He fell down and passed out right as he passed the first building.


Courier woke to a soothing voice and someone pressing a water bottle to his lips.  He drank with ravenous thirst and looked at the owner of the voice.  She was a tall woman with dark hair and eyes similar to his own, but her skin was fair and she wore glasses.

“T-thank you,” he said to her and drank the water bottle.

“What happened?” she asked.

Courier told her about how he was bike messenger and how he had to deliver the package before sun down.  She looked at the package and told him how sundown was just half an hour away and that it was actually addressed to her father.  She offered to take him there and said yes before he could think about it.

Once in the car, Courier began to question himself.  What a coincidence that the daughter of the receiver would find him, and that when he was at such a horrible state.  He began to think with a taint of paranoia: what if she was a killer and saw a poor man and decided this would be her best time for a kill.  He could see her short stubs for nails elongate into bloody claws, her straight teeth morphed into yellow needles, her small, soft eyes became completley dark, her nose smelled his fear.

The woman sensed his uneasiness and smiled pleasantly at him.  She introduced herself as Marianna and showed him her license proving her name as well as a picture of her and her father in front of the building.  Marianna told him that her father wasn’t the best of men.  She had a rocky relationship with him ever since he cheated on his wife, her mother, and how he had been searching for the woman for whatever reason, but she wasn’t very mad because he gave her everything she could ever want and need.  Courier told her about how he and his mom had lived a poverous, but loving life, and how she had died just two years ago of cancer.

He told her how his mother had never gave him any information of their family, but she was all he ever needed.  She was diagnosed when she fell in a grocery store of a bone cancer.  The debt they went into was crippling, so she decided to not accept treatment.  She grew sickly and weak by each passing day, until one day she couldn’t work.  Courier took care of her.  He made her favorite soup and bought her a heater blanket to keep her warm.  He read her favorite book to her everyday until one day in the middle of the book, she passed away.

Marianna offered her condolences, but he smiled and said it was alright because she no longer had to worry about getting food on the table and paying bills.  And now he wouldn’t have to either because he was going to get paid very well.

They got to the office of her father and he hand delivered the package.  The father was a tall man with skin tan like Courier’s and eyes like Marianna’s and his own.  The man stopped Courier before he could take off and said, “I see myself in you.”  He opened the package infront of Courier to show him the contents: a birth certificate.  It was the first time Courier saw it, but he knew it was his for it had his name and his mother’s and the man’s before him.

Courier was sledged with shock, he didn’t know what to do.  The man told him he wanted to be in his life and that he should live with him.  Courier was too shocked to speak, Marianna told him if it was too much of a jump that he could live with his sister.

Courier went home soon after.  He thought upon it and asked himself what his mom would have done.  He decided to move in with his sister in Destiny, who helped him get a job where he wouldn’t be so drained and he saw his father once a week and allowed him to gradually be a part of his life.  Courier gained friends from work and actually had spare money to do things like go to the movies and eat out.  Courier got to experience financial security like his mom wanted for him, and a family he missed out on.

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