Sunday 26 July 2020

Jack and Jill

by Jerry Guarino

red wine


Jack and Jill pedaled up the hill in the bright sunshine of a Washington State morning.
            “Sweetheart.  I’m getting too old for these climbs.”
            “I know Jack.  My knee is starting to ache.  But I love our bike time.”
            “Maybe it’s time to get one of those electric bikes.”
            They ordered two eBikes from California, backordered because of the demand.  After a few weeks, Jack opened an email to say the delivery was on its way.
            “Jill, the bikes are leaving California today.  They should arrive on Friday.”
            “I can’t wait!”
            Meanwhile, Tim the delivery driver was winding his way up from the central coast towards Seattle.  Tim loved his job, often stopping along the way to get local treats and generally smelling the roses.  He was not a type A driver.  Although he was only 19, he had the soul of a 1960s hippie.
            His first stop was in San Francisco, delivering some tie dye fabrics for a small clothing boutique in Haight Ashbury. 
            The owner opened the box right away.  “Oh, these are just perfect.  We can make more t-shirts for the farmer’s market this weekend.” 
Tim was intrigued.  “Do you have any shirts done?”
            “Of course, take a look in our shop.”
            Tim browsed the display of colorful shirts, some with peace symbols and some with words.  He finally settled on a blue, orange and green shirt with the words ‘take it easy’ on the back.  He put it on over his uniform shirt.
            Back on the road, his next delivery was in Berkeley, home of the University of California and peaceful protests that hadn’t completely finished from 1969.  Easing down Channing Way, he pulled into the Solar Car Wash (yes, that’s right).
            Opening up the back door, he pulled out two large boxes of solar panels and handed them to the owner.
            “Say, how does this work?”
            “The solar panels store electricity and power the car wash brushes.”
            “What happens if it’s cloudy?”
            “Well, then it’s hand washing until the batteries are full again.  Say, your truck looks like it could use a cleaning.  Half price for delivery trucks.”
            Tim smiled.  “All right, but make it quick, I have to get going.”
            The truck was all lathered up and moving through the wash cycle when the system shut down.  Tim’s truck was locked in the middle of the machine; he tried to see out of the soap covered windshield.
            “Uh Oh.”
            “Hello?  The wash stopped.”
            “Don’t worry, my friend.  The backup generator should kick in any moment.”
            An hour later, the car wash started up, the soap having dried onto the delivery truck and Tim came out the other side.
            The owner apologized.  “I’m so sorry.  No charge.  Take it easy.”
            “No worries, but I have to get going.”
            Driving up University Avenue, he saw a group of women offering car washes.
            “Might as well get this dry soap off.  My truck looks like a pop art experiment.  What are you raising money for?”
            A pretty co-ed in cut off jeans came up.  “We’re donating money to the shelters in town.  There’s a lot of homeless in Berkeley.”
            “I see.  We’ll, here’s $10.”
            Tim thought to himself.  I should have gone to college.
            The Cal sorority girls did a quick, but thorough job cleaning the truck and Tim was back on the road towards Oregon.  He came to a fork, either 101 North, the coastal route or I-5, the faster interstate.  Tim took the slower road along the coast.  That may have been a mistake.
            By the time he reached Eureka, he was exhausted and hungry.  He decided to eat, stay at a motel and get an early start in the morning.  He overslept.  It was 10:00am when he woke up.  He grabbed a fast food order from a drive thru and started driving, knowing he couldn’t make up the time by speeding.
            “I should have taken route 5.  It’s mid-day Thursday and I’m not even in Oregon yet.”

Meanwhile, Jack was checking the status of his bikes.  “Still says Friday by the end of the day Jill.”
            “Great, it will be perfect weather for a ride.”

It was Thursday night, when Tim arrived in Troutdale, Oregon, a small town outside of Portland.  He parked his truck to get dinner at a local diner.
            Inside, he ordered a burger.  A pretty waitress brought it to him.  Her name tag said Heather.  She wore bell bottom jeans, a red Danskin top and flip flops.  Her hair was long and straight.  All she needed was flowers in her hair to complete his fantasy.
            “Would you like anything else?  We’re about to close.” 
            “Where’s a motel?”
            “I can show you.  Let me close your tab and get my things.”
            Tim was starting to get excited.  Maybe this is the beginning of something.
            Heather took Tim to her apartment, a two bedroom she shared with a girlfriend.
            “Sit down, would you like some wine?”
            Heather brought a bottle.  They shared it, along with some pot.  Tim was totally relaxed as was Heather.  They made love.  Heather brought out two brownies.
            “Here, try these Tim.”
            They both ate the brownies, hungry from the wine, pot and making love.  What Tim didn’t know was the brownies had LSD in them.
            It was Sunday before Tim left, but he didn’t mind.  He had spent days with his fantasy flower girl and the best love he had ever had.  She kissed him goodbye. 
            “Hope to see you again Tim.”
            He stayed the night.  He could get up early to deliver the bikes to Washington, only a few hours north.

Jill got an email from the shipping company.  The delivery date now says by the end of the day Monday.  “Jack, the bikes won’t be here until Monday.”
            “Man, that’s disappointing.  Three days late.  What happened?”
            “It doesn’t say.”
            “Take it easy, dear.  We’ll have plenty of time to ride.”
Tim pulled onto his final stop to deliver the eBikes for Jack and Jill.  They came out, a little perturbed.
            “Finally, we thought these were coming on Friday.”
            “I’m sorry guys.  You wouldn’t believe that disasters that I had to go through to get these to you.”
            Tim left for California.  Jack and Jill started to unpack the bikes and began the assembly, following a video provided by the company.  They had almost finished the bikes when they came to the last step: attach the seat and secure it.
            “Where are the seats dear?”
            “Check the boxes.”
            “I did, they’re not here.”
            Tim returned to Troutdale to rendezvous with his new lover Heather.  After another day of bliss, he had to return to the bike company in California.
 “Tim, where have you been?”
            “Why, I just took my days off in Oregon, seeing the sites.”
            “A customer in Washington said you didn’t deliver the bike seats.  We had to fly them up overnight.  Cost us $100.  We’re docking that from your pay check.”
            Tim checked the back of his truck.  Under some packing blankets, there they were, two eBike seats.
            “Guys, I’ve decided to go back to school.  There’s a nice junior college in Oregon.”

 Tim settled into a nice college life with Heather. 
            Jack and Jill could finally go up the hills again.

 About the author

 Jerry Guarino’s short stories have been published by dozens of magazines in the United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain. His latest book, "Café Stories: west coast stories", is available on and as a Kindle eBook. Please visit his website at

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