by Kristi Brooks
The fluorescent lights of the 24-hour post office reflected off Tommy’s bleached mullet as the overweight lady behind the counter continued stamping the packages of drug money. Her skin was pocked from years of acne, and the flab on the underside of her arm jiggled a little every time she moved. Tacked to the wall next to her was a picture of two chubby children who looked just as disgruntled as she did. Tommy looked back to his box of packages and tried not to think about what the conception had been like.
The packages didn’t contain bundles of money, but rather porn DVDs with evocative titles like Double the Pleasure and Blow It. Neither he nor his boss really cared about the movies. In fact, it was likely Tommy would receive these same DVDs back in less than a month. No, it was the 100-dollar bills taped on the back of each one—inside the case, but carefully tucked behind the insert—that interested them. This time however, Darlin’ Joe was only going to receive part of his money. Tommy had decided it was time to go out on his own.
His fingers drummed against the hard, gray Formica as the woman continued at turtle-like speed. Each envelope was addressed to one of 10 different P.O. Boxes that were scattered throughout the northeastern states. Once a week, the packages were gathered and taken directly to Darlin’ Joe. The man was a recluse who barely left his high-rise apartment, especially during the day. His pale, blotchy skin spoke volumes of his fear of all things sun related. It was an unusual fear, but it was nothing compared to the man himself.