Swirl Love is Not Forbidden(2)

By: Tamara Black

She nodded, rushing off toward the line of phones on the front counter.

“Tom, you’re making pies.” I pointed at him. “Jeff and Eddie will handle deliveries. Sally, you’re switch today.”

“Again?” she complained.

“You know why,” I said, referring to her inability to master any one station. “I got the ovens.”

I headed to the area we took the pizzas out, cut them, and boxed them up. From my vantage point, I could see clearly into the lobby. It gave me advance warning of problems.

“We got this, people,” I said in a voice that belied my true feelings.

Tanesha stood next to me. “What should I be doing?”

“Do you learn by watching or doing?”

“By doing.”

“Okay, here you go,” I said, handing her the metal paddle to pick up the pizza and transfer it to the stainless steel table to cut.

She grabbed it and figured it out all on her own.

“How many slices?”

“It’s right there,” I said, pointing to a laminated poster on the wall separating us from the front counter area.

“Got it.”

I stepped back and watched as she tentatively cut the pizza.

“You got two more pies about to come out,” I said. “Speed it up a bit.”

She finished cutting the pizza with two tiny pieces and two super large.

“I messed it up.”

“It’s okay,” I said. “Close the box and get the next one.”

“I need change,” Samantha yelled from the counter.

“You okay here?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she replied, not looking up as she cut another pie.

“I’ll be back. You got this.”

I walked to the back and opened the safe in the floor that contained a bank bag full of rolled quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. I brought two of each to the front, taking the same amount of bills from Samantha.

On the way back to safe, I stopped at the end of the ovens to check on Tanesha.

“You doing okay?” I asked.

“Great,” she said, sliding another pie off the paddle and into a box.

With a few quick rolls of the cutter, she had a perfectly cut pizza in front of her.

“Good job,” I said, walking away. “I’ll be back.”

By the end of the day, she had learned the basics of every single station. We sat in my office as I waited for the night manager to arrive.

“You can be here at seven in the morning to help me open?” I asked.

“Yeah, not a problem as long as I can leave by three.”

“Gee, any other demands Ms. It’s-my-first-day?” I teased.

She smiled, perfect white teeth showing.

“I just meant…”

“I know, it’s okay. You did wonderfully.”

Stop flirting with her, I warned myself silently as we looked at each other.

“Well, I should go,” she said, standing up. “My daughter and son are waiting.”

I raised an open hand in the air.

“See you in the morning, Tanesha.”

“Thanks, Tony.”

After she left, I finished tallying the reports for my morning shift while waiting for Tad, the assistant manager who covered the night shift, to show-up.



That afternoon, as I smoked out and chilled while waiting for my night shift making deliveries, I heard a knock at my apartment door. Shit, I thought, sitting up on the couch. I grabbed my silver weed tray and put it under the couch.

“Hold on,” I called after another knock sounded.

When I opened the door, my stomach turned. Bullet, a tall Native American man who let his fists and tomahawk do the talking, stood in front of me.

“Can I help you?”

He stepped inside my apartment without saying a word. I let go of the door and headed to the couch. After shutting the door, he glanced around the room, taking it all in.

“I don’t fucking have anything to give you,” I said, sitting down. “You’re welcome to any of it.”

I watched as his giant frame crossed the room. His long, raven black hair was slicked back and in a pony-tail. He stopped on the other side of my wood coffee table and stared down at me with menacing eagle eyes.

“Your debt is piling up, and you need to move more weed. Understand?”

“I’m trying, man. If I start to move more through the store, the owners are going to get suspicious and call the police. Neither of us want that to happen, right?”

He glared at me.

“Look, Bullet, you have a mother too, right?” He showed no emotion. “What would you do if she owed a lot of money? You would try your hardest, right? That’s what I’m doing, man.”

“Faster,” he said then turned to leave. “Come get this quarter pound for a new run tonight.”

I sighed. Even with weed legal in Colorado, I could do time if caught transporting and selling it in large quantities without official paperwork. On the other hand, my delivery service for high-end clients made piles of money – just never enough to pay my debts.

“Let’s go,” he barked.

After getting to my feet, I followed him downstairs to the apartment building parking lot. He stood next to a giant Chevy Suburban with tinted windows all around. When I reached him, I got into the back of the SUV and retrieved a gym bag full of high quality marijuana.

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