WAITING FOR GIRAFFE

This is my Flash Fiction entry at the Iron Writer Challenge  (It won first place.)

WAITING FOR GIRAFFE

by Genevieve Dewey

Sal nodded at the pleasantly dumpy, middle-aged woman he passed in the corridor to the break room. She never met his eyes; people in these cubicle farms never did, which is what made it perfect for drop offs. A quick scan of the room told him all was clear so he headed straight for the microwave and opened the door.

Nothing.

Sal picked the microwave up and saw a note taped with duct tape to the bottom.

Elevator. 2pm. Giraffe. 50 pizzas. PERSONAL DELIVERY

He gave himself time for two read-throughs then took out his lighter and burned it. Fifty, he thought to himself. Boss must want this real bad. The all caps and underline were pretty redundant after that. He stopped at the door of the room. Which elevator? Here? He looked at his watch. Fifteen shy of two. He rode each of the elevators in the building once, and was going to wait in the first one when a wiry, twitchy and tall man with orange-brown hair entered it. As soon as the doors shut the man spoke.

“I like anchovies on my pizza.”

“And kumquats for dessert,” Sal answered, his shoulders relaxing a bit in relief.

The man nodded, took out a tiny orange from his pocket and waved it a bit before putting it back in. He shook his head in disgust as he stopped the elevator. “You know, not for nothing, but I wish the Boss would think of somethin’ else. Kumquats ain’t dessert, they’re fruit. More like a side dish, ya know? And you know how hard it is to find a kumquat in the Midwest?”

Sal raised his eyebrows but said nothing.

“I’m Giraffe,” the man continued.

“Giraffe?”

“Real name’s Bryce, but who’s gonna take a guy named Bryce seriously when he comes collecting? So I started calling myself the Giraffe.”

“They take Giraffe seriously?”

Giraffe shrugged. “I’m known for my second story jewel heists. Seemed fitting.”

“Everyone calls me Sally. They take me seriously.”

“Sure, and why not? Two seconds later they’re dead, ain’t they?”

“What’s your orders?” Sal asked. His eyelid was twitching in irritation from the babbling.

“I get you in the Zoo, you steal the animal, and we both deliver the head to the Boss.”

“The head?”

“Yeah, like in The Godfather.”

“Except the horsehead was a warning. Why would the Boss threaten himself?”

“You ask a lot of questions, Sally. I’m in too much Dutch with the Boss to say nothin’. He says pick your nose and stand on one foot, and I’m diggin’ for gold. Know wha’m sayin’? This is my last chance.”

Sal stared at him. In Dutch with the boss, huh? He thought. “What animal?”

“He didn’t say. Said he’d tell you which one.”

Sal stared ahead at the blinking warning light. “How’d you piss him off?”

“Slept wit’ his daughter.”

Sal grunted, slapped the stop elevator button and patted Giraffe on the shoulder as the doors opened.

“Got any more of those kumquats, Giraffe?”

–Copyright 2103 by Genevieve Dewey, All Rights Reserved

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