Friday Flash Fiction: The Delivery Boy

April 18, 2008

Just a scene.

I hate this damn building.

The elevator stank like you’d expect. Not for the first time I wondered when the last maintenance check had been done on it.

The doors opened up to a half lit hallway, gotta talk to the damn super again about the damn lights. Lazy slob that he is, perfect super for this damn building.

If it weren’t for the cheap rent, I’d be gone in a minute.

As I made my way to the door, dragging my suitcase behind me, Slink heard me and meowed back. How’d I get stuck with a damn cat? I hate cats…ok maybe not Slink. I unconsciously slid the key in and opened the door; home, such as it is.

Slink slid in for a quick pet and then away again, just like a cat, more interested in confirming I existed in her world than in actual contact. “I missed you too.” I said to her raised tail as she walked into the kitchen fully expecting me to follow. Damn cat.

I filled her food and water and then ignored her as she ignored me, we were a perfect match.

Routine, routine, routine. I picked up the remote and flipped on the tv letting the noise fill the background; tickers streaming at the bottom of Fox news. I walked out and pulled my suitcase into the bedroom flopped it on the bed and then stripped and showered.

By the time I came out of the shower sunbeams blinded me through the half closed shades. Sunset or sunrise, it took me a minute to remember, sunset…I think. I just got back to this side of the world an hour ago, I was tired but I needed to unload the stash first.

I opened the case and dumped the clothes on the bed. The data was woven into the fabric of the liner. No microchip, no silicon even, nothing to sniff for, nothing to detect. Carbon nano-tubes, grown with the data as part of their matrix. It was a time consuming process, but it let you hide so much data from so many prying eyes that for the right purpose it made economic sense.

Usually that purpose wasn’t quite legal, I lie to myself and call it a gray area.

I’m just a delivery boy. But a highly trained and valuable delivery boy; there are probably seven or eight people in the world that can do what I do. Friends and enemies all.

I pulled out my knife and cut out the liner, held it up to the sunbeams and  just barely saw the ten threads of different color and weight. I took the square meter of fabric out to the main room of the apartment, Slink was nowhere to be seen. Fox news was still going on about the latest bombing in Bangalore. I carefully laid the fabric sheet on my well lit drafting table.

Got a beer and changed the channel to ESPN.

It only took about an hour to extract the threads. Then another to feed them into the data recapture equipment. Before I hit the hay I had everything recompiled and burnt on two standard 128 gigabyte key fobs.

One for my client and one for me. You know, insurance.

I may be a valuable delivery boy, but I’m also a risk and you gotta look out for number one. My clients all know how discrete I am, but they also know I cover my ass. I gotta. Who’d feed Slink if I got wacked?



  1. oooh, nice.

  2. Nice idea, and I think it works well enough as a standalone piece, too.

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