26/01/2017

#amwriting #shortstory - The Delivery Man

The Delivery Man

By ten past, the train was still late.

Lucas sat in the station cafe contemplating the film of tea now forming milk patterns in the bottom of the lime green cup. His toes tapping idly against the cool-box under the table.

The man at the table to his left apologised for the third time for the overly inquisitive spaniel, who had taken rather too much interest in the box's content.

Three hundred quid, is three hundred quid. But, time was getting tight if he wanted to get paid; and the attentions of the dog was beginning to play upon Lucas' imagination.

In an effort at distraction Lucas picked his way around the coffee stains and grease of the abandoned newspaper. But, guilt pricked him, and poked him, until eventually he found the excuse of a droplet of water at the farthest corner of the box to spur himself into action.

With snakelike guile he slithered past the lip of the table on the pretence of tying his shoelace. However he could obtain no conclusive proof, as he caught the gleaming eye of the dog who sprang forward with tail wagging.

Again the owner apologised, and again Lucas settled into the guilty nonchalance of checking his phone. His foot once more tapping at the cool box. And, again the station announcement apologised for the delays: due to an incident on the line.

Clearly a suicide, or some other act of selfishness, thought Lucas. In a further moment of lucid incisiveness he decided the now dried spot of water was melted snow that had fallen from the shoe of a passing stranger.

Thus satisfied, he drained the final dreg of tea, patted down his pockets, and all present and correct he set off, with the box, to find a bench in the open air of the platform: in the cold.