What day is this? She thought, staring into the darkness above her bed. Monday? Monday. Pushing back the blanket she sat up, running a hand through her hair. The boss will want me to come in today. As if it knew, her phone rang, muffled, from somewhere near the closet. She stood up and walked across the room, locating her purse by feel under a pile of clothes.
"Gemma!" her boss replied, his voice bordering on a shout, as always. "I got something for you. Can you be in by six?"
"What time is it now?" she asked.
"I'll be in."
"Good. Bring ID. You'll need to sign some paperwork."
"See you at six."
Her boss was not in his office. She asked around until someone pointed her towards the loading dock. He stood outside, leaning against the hood of his car and talking to someone on his phone. He held a brown accordion folder under his arm. He looked up as she approached, "Yeah. Yeah. All right. We'll be there in half an hour." Closing the phone, he turned to Geneve. "You're here." he said. He didn't wait for an answer but walked around to the driver's side of his car and opened the door. "You got your ID?" he asked.
He grunted and got in, tossing the folder in the back seat. Reaching over, he unlocked the passenger side door and Geneve got in.
They drove in silence with only the radio for company. Turning on to Howard Street, he pulled into a used car lot. Pennants strung between light poles fluttered in the breeze but it was dark except for a light on in the squat rectangular building in the center. A man in an expensive-looking tan overcoat walked out the door and waited for them to park.
"Russ." he said as soon as her boss opened his door.
He nodded at him, climbing out. "Is it ready?" He asked. Geneve got out and walked over to join her boss. The man looked at her. "This is Gemma." her boss said, almost as an afterthought. The man shook her hand.
"This way." He said, leading them to the back of the building. A car sat in a corner of the lot, apart from any others. Geneve thought the dark gray color matched the dirty slush around them. "Ford Taurus," the man said. "Five years old, clean title, up to date on all maintenance and inspections." He stopped, looking expectantly at her boss.
He walked around the car, feet crunching in the frozen gravel. He lifted the hood, opened the doors and looked inside, and bent over to check the tires. Finally, he turned back to the man and nodded.
The man looked relieved. "Let's go inside."
Papers were spread out on a desk in the warm office. Motioning them to a seat, the man opened a closet and carefully hung up his coat. Her boss shrugged off his coat as he sat down, letting it fall over the back of his chair. Geneve watched them, then unbuttoned her coat but did not take it off.
"Let me see your license." the man said, sitting down behind the desk. She opened her purse and handed it to him.
He copied the number on to the papers in front of him. "Ricci." he said into the gathering silence, "Is that Italian?"
"Yes." she replied. She would have given the same answer if he had said Ruritanian.
He wrote down a few more things then picked up the papers and tore off copies. He handed them to her boss, who looked them over carefully. "I'll send you the rest tomorrow." he said. Her boss nodded shortly, folding the papers.
The man opened a drawer in his desk and pulled out a set of keys. "Congratulations." he said, handing them to her. They all stood up. Her boss picked up his coat and put it on, putting the square of paperwork in to his pocket.
"So…" the man said, following them to the door. "Will you speak with him? I want to start breaking ground in the spring, but she's holding out. I think her son's pushing her. I tried to talk to him, um, personally, but he won't budge. And, uh, you know, I can't afford to, uhh, be involved any more than necessary."
"Don't worry about it. The big guy will set up a meeting in his office. I'm sure they'll agree once he talks to them."
He smiled and visibly relaxed. "Good. Good. Tell him if this works out, we'll double our contribution." he opened the door for them.
Her boss grunted assent as they walked outside. The door closed and locked behind them.
Motioning for her to wait by the new car, he walked back to his, opened the back door, picked up the accordion folder, and tucked it under his arm. Then he closed the door and walked back to her.
"Here." he said handing it to her. "You're my new delivery girl."
Geneve looked at the folder, there was a Post-it note stuck to the front with an address written on it.
"John said you're trustworthy," he continued. "Take that," he tapped the folder, "to that address, and come back to the office. If I have something else for you, you'll go out again. If not, I'll pay you and you're done for the day. If I have an emergency, I'll call you in." He held up a finger. "Don't worry. John said you're always busy in the day, so I'll only call at night and give at least an hour's notice."
She nodded, tucked the folder under her arm, then turned to the car. "Is this coming out of my pay?" she asked.
He smiled cynically, "Oh hell no. You heard the man, he needs a favor." He pulled out a cigarillos out of the package in his coat pocket and lit it. "It'll all be repaid by November." he said, blowing a stream of smoke. "Now get going or you'll be late."