I'm weak. I admit it. And I know I shouldn't have caffeine, but when I've got 200 miles to drive before most people's first cigarette of the day and I'm already tired because I stayed up late because it was league championship night down at the Bowl, I caved. I always cave. I just drive a bread van, no union, no Class A or anything. What can I say?
So I'm at the deli, the one on Valencia across from that little breakfast place that black lady, the singer, always goes to, and I'm talking to Jimmy. He's telling me Hey, didja hear? The boss was in here last week delivering bread. Whaddya know about that he says. And I say Well, why do you think I'm here today instead of your regular guy? He hurt his back and he's out for a week. You know how it is with those young guys, they're always screwing up their backs. They don't know how to lift right.
Jimmy says, It's not just the young guys, though. Tall guys never last either. You need to find you some short guys, they're the ones who last, they know how to handle themselves. Yeah, I say. Jimmy's slicing rolls, a big wall of rolls behind him on what used to be a wine rack. We had this one guy, he says. Maybe five-six, five-seven. Built like a fireplug. He's waving the bread knife around as he talks. He delivered flour, lasted a long time. The flour was in 100-lb bags, and he'd carry them in and put 'em in the back. If he was in a hurry he'd bring in two at a time. Anyways, so this one day he's down at Third and Mariposa making a delivery—Oh, I know where this is going, I say—You know it, so he gets out of his truck and these three guys jump him.
Well, he clocks the first guy and he goes down. Knocked him unconscious. He turns toward the second guy, and the third starts stabbing him. Jimmy shows me and the rolls how it's done. He hits the second guy, who goes down but starts to get back up, so he kicks him in the head. And kills him. Kills him.
The third guy, now, he's looking around and suddenly he doesn't feel very confident, 'cause his two buddies are out and this guy he's stabbing won't go down, so he drops his knife and gets the heck out of there. The flour guy misses Christmas 'cause he spends three days in the hospital. Jimmy shakes his head. Those guys were stupid. They wanted to rob a delivery driver they should've picked on the potato-chip guy.
He signs my invoice. Okay, Susan, go to your next stop.
Okay, Jimmy, see you tomorrow.
See you tomorrow. Drive safe.