At first, it didn't feel like I'd been shot. It's difficult to describe how it felt initially, but I guess, if I was to have a go at telling you, I'd describe the impact as feeling as though I'd been hit by a telephone book. Remember those old yellow pages books, the ones that the anonymous people would drop on your doorstep every year. For some odd reason, they were always split across years - 2012/13, or 2017/18. I don't know why, that's just how they were. Well, one of those. It felt as though someone had walked up to me and subjected me to an almighty whack with one of those books.
I looked down when I felt the impact. I was incredulous at first. Despite seeing the gun, and looking my attacker in the eye, I still couldn't believe I'd been shot. I mean, who would want to shoot me? What did I do?
My attacker, after pulling the trigger, sneered. That's right. Sneered. Like he couldn't stand the sight of me. At this point, I still hadn't fallen, and he sauntered over, that sneer plastered across his grill. He walked so close that I could feel his fetid breath puffing its way across my face. He looked me right in the eye, boring deep into my soul, examining me to see if there was going to be any fight at all.
Seemingly satisfied that there would be no retaliation, he backed away, not turning, never removing his sneery stare from me. Once at a safe distance, he slowly raised the gun again, levelled it at the same point of entry of the first bullet, and pulled the trigger.
That was the second time in my life I had been shot. Is it irony that the first time was only a mere few seconds ago? No, you're right, I guess it's not. Bullet number two hit me with the same force as the first. Thwump went that phone book for the second time that day. You know how 'they' say: that one had your name on it'? Yeah, well, I had two that had my name on them today.
The impact of the second bullet was not so much of a shock. I guess that's because I'd already been shot once, and was now aware that I could be. I began to feel the pain of the foreign objects embedded inside of me spreading out like tendrils of fog through the cold night air. It started as a dim thud, and slowly begain to radiate outwards from the tiny pieces of shrapnel. As the pain continued its pursuit of the nerve endings in my body, I glanced down, trying to assess the dameage. I couldn't really see anything, but I also began to feel the distinct discomfort that only nausea can bring on. I managed to keep any vomit safely bottled away in my stomach, but that's not to say that it didn't try, on more than one occasion, hatching an escape plan.
I hadn't really been focusing on much, other than the pain that was snaking its way through my body, and was surprised that when I looked up, my attacker had disappeared. I had not heard so much as a scrape of a shoe on the asphalt. He had simply receeded into the shadows and allowed the afternoon gloom to silently engulf him. He had not said a word during the entire incident, and in hindsight, that's probably not overly surprising, as the attack had only lasted for thirty or forty seconds - not long at all really.
The pain was now becoming debilitating. I crumpled to the floor and lay there holding my wounds. The bleeding was picking up pace. The ground beneath me was turning a different colour. I was amused by the idea that the road was able to perform such a neat trick. It took me a second or two, to realise that it was turning a deep ruby red. It took me a further second to put those two things together and realise that I was the cause of the discolouration. More to the point, my blood was the reason of the sudden change in colour. I panicked.
I tried to prop myself up, but found that a great deal of my strength had vanished in the brief moments since I had been shot. The pain that coursed through my body every time I moved also acted as a deterrent from making too many unneccessary moves. I allowed myself to sink back to the ground, languishing in my blood and the pain that now touched nearly every centimetre of by body.
As sporadic spots of darkness began to dance in the corners of my eyes, I couldn't help but wonder again, why this was happening. Why would anyone want to shoot a delivery driver? Blood continued to ooze out of the wounds in my stomach, and I began to wish I had grabbed my phone before getting out of my van.
Arriving at work at five in the morning had been uneventful. It had actually been the exact opposite. It was normal. I liked to get to the depot early so I could load and organise my parcels and packages. I can be meticulous like that. Just a little obsessive-compulsive sometimes. Had I have known how the day would end, I probably would've called in sick.
In retrospect, my entire morning panned out in a very normal, no fuss kind of way. I didn't even really bat an eyelid when I got called back to the depot to pick up an unexpected package. The dispatch operator had told me to get back as soon as possible because the parcel had a specific time that it needed to arrive at it's location, and that the boss had received enough of an incentive to ensure that it happened as he had been instructed. I didn't ask questions, just did my job.
The package itself was, also, normal. A brown, non-descript box, with packaging tape holding it securely closed. I was handed the consignment notice from the dispatch operator. She was a nice girl, about thirty years my junior. Her name was Marissa, if I remember correctly, and at that particular point in time, she looked about as bored as anyone could. I remember briefly looking over the piece of paper she handed me, smiling a goodbye, and tucking it in my pocket. I checked my watch and, at this point, realised I still had plenty of time to get this particular item to its location within the specified timeframe.
Now, sure, you might be thinking that I was an idiot. If I was so meticulous so as to get to work really early in the morning to begin packing my delieveries, how could I not be suspicious of something like this? And, also, if I was so meticulous, then how come I wasn't concerned, or surprised, when I was told I'd need to return to the depot - something that never, and I mean never, happens? Well, I can't tell you. Perhaps I was having an off day, or perhaps, I just wasn't thinking at all. But either way, you're not the one lying here in a pool of your spreading blood, so perhaps, you could be just a little more considerate of how I might be feeling right now, please!
I made the second to last delivery for my morning around about eleven-thirty. That gave me just enough time to get my new acquisition to the right address within the time specified. I'm what you would call a cautious driver - I don't like to take risks, but I'm happy to put the foot down when necessary too. When you spend the better part of a day on the roads, you need to be careful, but you also need to get to where you're going. I knew the best route to take and headed in that direction.
I pulled onto the designated street five minutes before the deadline. See. I told you I was good at my job. The house was a typical suburban one - neat, well-kept lawn. A sprinkling of flowers and small shrubs lined the left-hand side of the property. The driveway was paved, some sort of cobblestone-looking pavers, I think they were. The porch had a verandah, covering it, which was good, because I had authority to leave, and since I couldn't see much in the way of signs of life, I figured that the package would end up sitting under this overhang for a while. Most people who live in houses like this worked - I rememeber thinking that it was an odd time to request a delievery (see, I did start questioning a little), especially to a place like this.
I lined the van up with the kerb, put the stick into neutral and pulled on the hand brake. Left it running - that's a trade secret, if you're interested. The van rolled a fraction of an inch as I took my foot off the brake, and swung the door open. Getting out, I moved to the back of the van. I noticed, just near the lever used for opening the tailgate, that there was a srcatch in the yellow paint on the door. What a pain. I'd need to have that fixed. My OCD commanded it.
Hefting the box out of the van, I skip-walked up the driveway. If you're not familiar with a skip-walk, it's my word for not quite a walk, but not quite a jog. It feels faster than just walking, but in reality, probably isn't. I suspected that after years of doing it, I had developed somewhat of a habit, because I found that I walked like this most places now.
Whistling quietly to myself, I got to the porch, and jumped the four or five inches up to the front door. I reached out to press the doorbell button that was mounted just above and to the left of the handle. Pressed it and heard the chimes echoing somewhere within the recesses of the house. It sounded like they were coming from far off, and I thought, briefly, how large the house must've been inside. Deceptive, I thought, looking at the front yard.
I waited the prescribed length of time before safely tucking the parcel as close to the front door as possible. I was satisfied that it wouldn't be really obvious from the street, and figured that in this neighbourhood, that it probably wouldn't matter if it was. Chances of theft from a place like this were probably zero.
I moved a little faster than my patented skip-walk back to the van. Jumped inside, disengaged the handbrake and thrust the gear stick into first. I massaged the clutch and accelerator just right, and the van jumped to life, heading back out onto open roads, and to collect more delieveries. Just as I neared the end of the street, a movement in my right side mirror caught my eye, and looking through the mirror, I saw movment on the porch. Must've been someone home after all, I thought to myself as I turned onto the main road.
It would've taken me no more than fifteen minutes to get back to the depot and begin the process of restocking my van for the afternoon delieveries, but on this day, as you are aware, I didn't make it. Driving down Quentin Avenue was where it began. A car, a black BMW, I think it was, cut me off - just drove out of a side street, right in front of me. There was nothing I could do.
I slammed both feet on the brake pedal, and felt the lurch as the van slowed quickly. I also remember the shudder the van gave as it stalled, because both feet were planted on the brake - neither were worrying about the clutch at this point. I felt the grinding as the front of my car met with the left-passenger door of the beemer, and then I felt the feeling of travelling through a vortex, or something, as my van beagn to tilt. It teetered on the cusp, for a second or two, and then gravity became the victor, slowly, valiantly, pulling the van over.
Then, everything was still. Quiet. No screeching of tyre on road. No grinding of metal, or crunching of glass. Just quiet. I let out a breath and allowed my brain to run diagnostic over my body. It seemed alright. Nothing broken, that I could tell. I slowly started moving, reaching for the buckle that held the belt in place, making myself a promise to write an email to whoever invented those simple devices, thanking them profusely for their genius.
As I disentangled myself from the belt, I took stock of the van, and was quite thankful that I hadn't been carrying any parcels at the time of the accident. What a mess that would've been. I reached out to the door handle, and recoiled in a bit of shock when the door was wrenched back before I'd had the opportunity to open it myself. I must've been okay, apart from the accident itself, because I was about to become indignant, when I saw the gun.
As I lay crumpled on the cooling asphalt, my hands pressed into the wounds, I heard sirens in the distance, and my hope picked up a little. I hadn't stopped to think that perhaps someone had called the emergeny services. But was now eternally thankful. My breathing was gradually becoming more laboured, and as the sirens grew louder, I again, tried to sit up.
The pain that blasted through me was excruciating, and it was all I could do to not swear. I let myself droop back to the ground again. The blood was congealing around me, making for a frightfully sticky mess. The sirens were so close now, I could see the lights flashing off nearby houses. I found myself to be holding my breath in anticipation, but was doing so futilely. The cars, which should have been just a corner away never arrived. They turned down a different street, not ever coming near me.
Hope faded. I wasn't on a super quiet street, but it was often deserted. That's why I took this route. Someone should have seen or heard the acident, and by now, called for help. How long had it been anyway? Five minutes, an hour. I didn't really know.
I started to shiver, and it didn't dawn on me that I was doing so because of the blood loss. I just thought I was getting cold. The sun was getting low in the sky, after all. My hands had started to shake, and every time I tried moving, I felt like I was doing so, underwater. It was slow and felt like there was always something blocking me - pushing back, making movement so difficult. My head lolled to the side, and keeping my eyes open was suddenly difficult too.
As I lay there dying, I struggled, still, to understand who would want to shoot me. There had been nothing out of the ordinary in the past few weeks, and I had no enemies, that I knew of. Although, my brain argued in a brief moment of clarity, the holes in my torso screamed otherwise. Then I remembered the parecl.
That damn parcel. That had been out of the blue, and not within the confines of ordinary. Not by a long shot. I remembered that I put the consignment note in my pocket earlier in the day, after scanning it briefly at the depot, after giving Marissa a goodbye smile. As slow as my movement was now, I dug through the pocket of my light-weight jacket and pulled out the note.
Blood smeared instantly wherever I touched it, so I stopped moving my hand. I studied the neat writing, reading more carefully than I had earlier. It didn't look sinister - nothing seemed out of place. Paid in cash. That could seem odd in today's cashless society, but not a huge alert. Delivery address was the same as where I'd delivered it - so too the option to leave without signature. I guess it was going to be a dead end for whoever ended up looking into my murder.
The consignment note fell from my hand. I just couldn't grip it any longer. I smiled slightly to myself as I thought of our company motto: No parcel undelivered. Even in death I had managed to live up to it. I looked at the signature on the note, staring up at me from the ground, and then closed my eyes.
Looks like yours is the last parcel I'll ever deliver, Harold.
So, that was Part Two of The Wheelie Bin Mafia. I hope you enjoyed it. I was originally going to make this only two parts, but as you can see, it has developed further than that now. I'll do my best to get Part Three to you within a reasonable timeframe. In the meantime, perhaps you might like to read the first part. You can find it here The Wheelie Bin Mafia - Part 1. Thanks again. Please feel free to leave a comment below, and I'll see you soon for Part Three.
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