No. 417 – Part 3

The driver was chatty. Too chatty, for Katy. The drive to the office was supremely uncomfortable. The worst part was, the driver seemed to know more about what Katy was delivering than she did.

Finally, after 30 minutes in traffic and constant nattering, with no sign of reaching their destination in the near future, Katy’s resolve cracked.

“What’s in the bag?” she asked from the back seat.

Her eyes met the driver’s in the rear-view mirror.

For the first time, the driver was quiet, as the car lurch forward another length.

“You don’t know?” the driver replied, suspiciously.

Katy could see one raised eyebrow.

“That’s right. I wasn’t supposed to even be here today. Hadley got sick and I was the only one available,” she told the driver.

“Really?”

Now Katy was confused. What had happened to the constant talking from a few moments ago? The driver was silent, and extremely attentive.

“Why don’t you open it?” The driver suggested.

Katy was taken aback. The driver’s proposal was so bold. “I can’t say the thought hasn’t crossed my mind,” she stammered.

With the tacit permission of somebody else, the bag was suddenly less taboo. Katy couldn’t believe she hadn’t already looked inside.

She took a deep breath, and pulled back the zipper.

“Newspaper,” she yelped as crushed pages spilled out onto the floor of the car. “But the bag is so heavy. It can’t be full of scrap paper?”

The driver shrugged.

Katy dug deeper. Her hands clasped around a solid cube-shaped object that had been packed in the middle of the bag. She pulled it out and examined it closely. “It’s a brick,” she told the driver. “Just some sort of plain, metal brick.”

The driver laughed, now. “That’s not what the others had. Are you sure your bag didn’t get switched on the plane?”

“I’m sure,” Katy confirmed, double-checking the distinctive scuff mark she’d put on the bottom by dragging the bag down the stairs at her house.

“I guess they must want that brick pretty badly, then,” the driver observed.

“Right.”

With her curiosity satisfied, Katy could relax the last few blocks to the office. The driver said nothing else for the remainder of the delivery.

 

When Katy stepped out of the car in front of the giant glass windows of the Seattle office, she made sure that the brick was packed back inside the bag. Most of the shredded newspaper strips, she left for the driver to take care of.

Katy breezed through security and was directed to a corner office on the top floor.

She walked in and placed the bag on the vast desk with a satisfying thump.

The man behind the desk opened the bag immediately and rummaged around. He removed the brick and discarded it. “Where’s the rest?” he asked, threateningly.

“I’m sorry,” said Katy. “What rest?”

The man was very angry, now. “The rest of the contents of this bag.”

He didn’t raise his voice, but nonetheless, Katy was  frightened.

“I don’t know,” she told him. “Hadley was supposed to be here.”

“Don’t give me that,” said the man. “I know what was packed.”

He leaned forward. “Where are the papers?”

“Oh,” said Katy. “Those.”

 

To be continued…