he's going to be late
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by D.A.



The Breeze-man picked up his load of faceless cardboard cartons from the printer's depot at six-thirty on the dot. It was essential to be punctual in the courier business, if they asked for him to be there at six-thirty then that's when he'd get there. A matter of pride.

Maybe he should've been called Mr Punctual or something like that, but no, it was "the Breeze-man". He'd once had a T-shirt which said "Just Shootin' The Breeze" on it, he must've worn it quite frequently as the name seemed to stick. The T-shirt had long since gone to rags but he was still the Breeze-man and it looked set to stay that way.

He did enjoy shooting the breeze if he ever got the chance, just sitting around talking, letting life pass by, but the world he existed in didn't seem to afford much opportunity for such a pastime. Pick up here, drop off there, back for more. On the road day or night, sometimes day and night. The nick-name didn't really seem to fit.

He turned onto the motorway and contemplated the 200 mile journey ahead of him. 200 miles. Absolutely nothing to a courier, he'd be back on this road in a couple of hours, unloaded and heading back for another pick up. But where else - other than an industrial estate on the edge of a nondescript town - could he reach in that distance?

200 miles. If he took a slight detour he'd be at the channel tunnel and over into France before 200 miles was up. Land of wine, cheese, Calvados and fresh baguettes. Why not? A bit of a detour would make a pleasant change, this route was a regular one and it didn't have much to recommend it. He could just take the next exit..

Breeze-man was wrenched from his daydream by the sight of brake-lights ahead, warning beacons flashing, traffic was slowing, a bad sign so early into his run. He'd be late if he kept on past the junction and got stuck in a motorway queue. So he took the exit. It was the Dover junction.

Some time later, without him really knowing how it had happened, he arrived at the Euro-tunnel terminal. His passport was in the glove box, he always carried it in case there was a continental job. Fate seemed to have carried him here so why not pop across, just for an hour or so? Maybe get some cheap booze.

When 200 miles eventually clicked up on the odometer he was on the road to Rouen, this made him chuckle, "the road to Rouen" he repeated to himself. I sure am! He accelerated on. Why stop now?

By nightfall he was in the Pyrénées, not too far from the Spanish border. The sun was setting in a most magnificent manner. How come he didn't usually notice such a beautiful sight? He drove a short way up a sandy track to find a place to sleep. Plenty of room in the back of the van if he just removed the boxes and left them by the side of the road. Who needs instruction manuals for washing machines anyway? Nobody reads them.

Last I heard the Breeze-man was in North Africa, just shooting the breeze with some Moroccan guys he'd met. He says he may come back one day, couldn't really tell me when that might be. It seems "the Breeze-man" may have been his right name all along.



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