Lies, Sacrifices, and Alibis

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Chapter 14

Once we pulled into the parking lot at my job, I was never more thankful when my feet hit solid, stationary ground. I wanted to bend down and kiss it.

He jumped out of the car. Slamming the door behind him, he leaned against it. He just lit the cigarette and it was already half gone. He looked like a chimney stack at this point. I hoped the time we needed in the office was enough to cool him down because he was like a volcano; ready to erupt.

I wore black, denim jeans and a fleece, Dallas football jersey with tennis shoes and still looked presentable for the office. Tania wore blue cutoffs, showing half of her butt cheeks, with a white half T-shirt that stated Willing and Able across the front. She wore flip-flops, looking as if she was already on the beach.

“Stop aggravatin’ him!” I yelled as we walked through the second set of doors away from Mike’s hearing. “What’s wrong with you?”

“I dunno.” She looked as irritated as he did. “I’m sorry, but he irks me, an’ what the hell’s up with his drivin’ like a maniac! I thought we were gonna crash!”

“Yeah, well stop pissin’ ’im off. I’d like to get there in one piece.”

Brian whistled as Tania walked in. “Damn, girl! You’re looking hot!”

She instantly smiled, as if not just seconds ago, she looked like an angry, wet cat. She winked at him. “Too bad we can’t dress like this for work, huh?”

“Hell no! None of us would ever get any work done if you were allowed to dress like that. As it is, seeing you girls in some of those sexy dresses is already distracting enough.”

That was Tania. She flirted with every man in the office and they usually flirted right back. It didn’t bother me. I was the happily, married woman at work with Prince Charming waiting for me at home. More like he was at work and I would wait for him to get home. I had what most of them looked for.

However, if what I had was so good, why was I about to do this crazy plan?

I left the two of them flirting and went to my office. After turning in the time sheets, which took all of five minutes, I checked to make sure things were in order. There weren’t any problems. Everything was good, so I turned to leave, but I didn’t make it very far.

“Excuse me, Elyse, but Julie is online one about a problem with dispatch,” Christi told me, pointing to the phone. “She said something about a customer and free delivery? When did we start that?”

“Free delivery?” I looked just as confused as she did. “We’ve never had free delivery.”

“Do you want me to turn it over to Brian?”

Closing my eyes, I shook my head. If I could handle this quickly, it might deflect some trouble that would happen later for Brian, which meant less stress for me. “No, while I’m here I might as well take it.” I picked up the phone at Tania’s desk. Punching the button, I connected to the main yard. “Hey Julie, what’s goin’ on?”

“Well, I’m filling the McStevens and Son order and the receipt shows that we shouldn’t charge a delivery fee. Can you check for me why there’s no fee with this order? My screen won’t allow me to get the manager’s data.”

“Was there a voucher with it?” Sometimes the managers offered a discount on deliveries, which gave them a coupon. It was more of a promotional deal, tracked and recorded for accounting purposes with the names of the manager going on the record because someone had to pay for it. Hell, during the holidays, I racked up the voucher points. The company loved it because it meant more business, yet frowned upon it at the same time because they paid the cost of the delivery.

“No. Are we starting free delivery now?”

That was odd. No voucher and they weren’t being charged a fee? Now, I was glad I took this call. Brian would’ve been lost. I started having doubts about this vacation and the idea behind it. “Not that I know of.”

“Good, because if we are, someone else can come down here and tell the drivers that they need to turn in the proper forms.” One thing about the vouchers that the drivers hated was the amount of paperwork that had to be filled out. They said it wasn’t worth it to them. To get paid, they had to fill out a form stating what the order was and where it was going; no paperwork, no pay. They had to get a signature from the customer and turn it in with their time sheets. “Okay, so why is this delivery supposed to be free, and does the driver know?”

“I haven’t got a clue. Whose name is on the ticket that placed the order?”

“Umm,” that was followed by a pregnant pause. “It says David and it’s authorized by Greg. It came out yesterday for tonight’s delivery, but the guy came early. He said some bullshit about he had to go to some concert tonight.”

I chuckled. Julie ranted often about how the drivers told her about their life history, in the short time it took for her to check them out. She ignored them most of the time, giving that solid uh–huh that Mike usually gives me when he wasn’t paying attention.

I had a bad feeling about this. Something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t figure out why it bugged me. It could just be a miscommunication or Greg and David forgot to give the guy a voucher. Maybe one thought the other was handing it over. That could be the case too. Many times, B never told C what they were doing and then A, otherwise known as my shift, had a mess to fix.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I needed to catch my flight, and we were cutting it close to the wire, I would’ve stayed and got to the bottom of this strange occurrence. Both of the other managers signed off on this delivery, but neither gave a voucher. That was more than just odd; it never happened.

See, there were three shifts at Aivedal Rock Quarry and we were open twenty-four/seven. I was in charge of the morning shift, which was from 7 am to 3 pm. The second shift manager was David Clemmons, which was from 3 pm to 11 pm. The third shift manager was Greg Newman, which ran from 11 pm to 7 am. I usually saw Greg when I went to work, and I saw David when I left. I liked both of them. They were funny, cute, and a joy to talk with. Both were terrible flirts, but great guys all the same.

“Hmm, hang on a sec. Let me see what that account looks like. Maybe it’s just an oversight.” Then again, if it was just an oversight, why did the driver think it was free? Covering the phone, I sat down at Tania’s computer. Logging into the mainframe, I clicked buttons until I pulled up the account. Looking over the last order, I noticed that something definitely wasn’t right. It didn’t mention anything about free delivery or show any signs of a discount. There wasn’t anything on paper that even hinted that this delivery was free, so why did the receipt say differently? It was one of the cheapest things on our inventory list too, so it wasn’t that expensive. I spoke back into the phone. “Hmm, that’s odd. It all looks normal to me, but there’s a charge showin’. Let me get to the delivery accounts division. Maybe they have a standin’ order or somethin’,” I told her, pulling up the accounts page. “Haven’t we always charged them a delivery fee before?”

“Yeah. That’s why I wondered what the deal was. I don’t see any delivery information anywhere. He even has Greg’s manager code.”

“It doesn’t look like a big load from the computer. Is it?”

“As far as I can tell, it’s no bigger or smaller than their average load. There’s a tarp over the top, but it looks like it might be dirt. Do you want me to climb in and find out?”

I chuckled at her request. That poor girl looked like she played in the dirt every day. When she left work at the end of her shift, she looked like she rolled around in it. I wasn’t going to further that cause. “No. Ya don’t need to get any dirtier than ya probably already are.”

She laughed. “That’s what my daughter said! She said that she knows I work in a turtle sandbox.”

Tapping on the computer, I pulled up three different screens, bouncing between them. I couldn’t find any mention of free delivery anywhere and if it was legit it would be in one of those files. “I’m lookin’ at the delivery order, an’ I don’t see anywhere on here where there’s no fee. Fax me up that receipt. I’ll fax ya out a new one with my authorization. Tell the driver, there was a mistake. We’re gonna charge the same amount as always. If it was right, the main file would show. However, no one told me of any changes, an’ there’s nothin’ in the file, so let’s stick to the basics to be safe.”

“You got it.”

When the fax went through, I picked up both receipts and stapled them together, signing them for approval. Walking over, I slid it into the McStevens and Son file. I wanted to look and see if that was a reoccurring thing with them, but I didn’t have that kind of time. It would have to wait until I got back.

That took longer than I expected. When I finished, I couldn’t find Tania anywhere. Frantically, I went searching for her. I walked around the office, checking bathrooms, her desk, and the smoking area, but I couldn’t find her. I headed for the exit to see if she went back to annoy Mike.

“Are ya ready to go?”

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