The fluorescent blue of the store lights flickered. The sound of the electricity buzzing within them had become a consistent hum that had faded into the background along with the sounds of pots and pans and the fry and splash of oil. Sly lent further back in the hard wooden chair that had become 'his' spot over the past few weeks since he'd started here. Two other delivery boys sat either side of him. The trio had been relegated to the far corner of the shop out of the way of customers and the main entrance to wait for a take out order to be phoned through or appear on that computer screen behind the counter from the Uber Eats app. Nights like this, quiet night's, were boring. Sly's sneakers taped restlessly agianst the cheap linoleum floor, his fingers toyed with a loose thread on his shirt. Noah, to his right, was absorbed in his phone. The asian boy had become obsessed with some sort of online game the past few weeks. His eyes never looked away from the screen. Lucas, to his left, flipped the page on his magazine. Sly's blue gaze shifted slightly to glance at what the other man was reading. That article was yet another conspiracy theory. This time about the Italian Royal Family, of all things- and their supposed connection to the Illuminati. Sly's eyes rolled slightly before his gaze turned back toward the kitchen. Hugo, the store manager, idly wiped the top of the counter for the twentieth time as that order of chips fried noisily behind him. This was going to be a long night. At least it wasn't raining any more. Sly tucked his hands further into the pockets of his denim jacket. One ear phone hung from his right ear, the left dangled from the end of the wire, the warlock attempting to listen out for any orders and to that music all at once. He liked this song. It was new. The guitar in it was wild. Then again, that artist, Arlo, was well known for just those sort of rifts. Order up.
Hugo's voice broke the monotony. That plastic bag with the order wrapped inside was held over the counter and towards the waiting trio. Noah, absorbed in his game hardly moved. Can't, about to level up. Lucas glanced up from his magazine. Where's it going to, is it far? I already had to walk to Tobruk Avenue. Lucas had always been a...heavyset kind of guy. That fifteen minute walk to Tobruk evidently outside the realms of what the man deemed comfortable. It's down near the harbour. One of you little jackasses better take this order before I lose my patience. Remind me why I pay any of you again?
"I'll take it."
Sly was already on his feet. The good side of the harbour had high rise apartments. People like that tipped well. Besides, it had to be more interesting than being here. Hugo tossed that bag at him as Sly pulled that beanie down and over his ears, his earphone were pulled out and tucked into his jeans pocket.
"Toss me the car keys, Hugo."
Travis' has taken it to pick up a bread roll order. You'll have to take the bike.
"The bike!? This is a couple of miles away, mate. It's going to be cold before I get there."
Not my problem 'mate'.
Noah snickered behind him. Sly turned to eye the asian boy wearily. Had he seen the address on the screen? Was that why neither of the others had moved? Hugo's gaze bored into him as Sly turned back to face him. The elder man silently seemed to dare him to argue.
That singular word was little more than a mumble as Sly turned on his heel and headed for the door. That bag dangling from his fingertips. Sly! Remember your fucking customer service, smile for once! Old Mrs Wright complained about you again.
"Mrs Wright asks for me every single time and then she invites me in just to look at my ass, Hugo."
I don't give a shit, if she offers to pay you more then shake it for her.
The warlock snorted as he stepped out and onto the street. Hugo was...abrupt but he'd always gotten on well enough with the man. Sly hardly bothered to take him seriously. The guy had given him a chance, after all, it was more than most ever did. Fuck it was cold out here. There was no way this food was going to be warm by the time he got down to the docks. Sly strode into the alleyway beside the restaurant, the near ancient delivery bicycle rested agianst the stone wall. Great. This was so....fun. That food was tied easily to the handle bar, the warlock swung his leg over that bicycle a moment later before pushing off, his feet found the rusted pedals. At least it was better than walking. Sly cruised down that frigid street, his breath rose like smoke in the air. It was hardly that late and yet the streets were nearly empty. That pandemic had prompted most people to stay inside- where it was warm. Sensible people. That lack of traffic, both pedestrian and vehicle, at least made that trip quicker then it might have been and yet, even going at that reasonable pace that trip still took over twenty minutes. Shit. That food was going to be so damn cold. Sly slid between the warehouses and down to those docks, the overwhelming scent of fish and salt permeated the air even with that frost. He glanced down at that delivery docket. April Rose. Jetty 4. What? Jetty 4? Was that a street?
That bike skidded to a halt, several wharfies looked up from the containers they were packing to eye the warlock as one foot came to rest on the ground, the man glanced from the docket and toward the apartments at the far end. This address sure as hell wasn;t for one of them. One hand lifted upward to run his fingers through his dirty blond hair before he pulled that beanie down again.
"Hey! One of you guys know a...Miss April Rose?"
A handful of those men paused what they were doing to shake their heads. One large, overweight, bearded man chuckled. I'll be April Rose for you if you want, honey?. His jest seemed to inspire the others to laughter. Jesus christ. Sly's eyes rolled again. His voice held a near irritated edge as he shouted back.
"Oh, bite me."
I'd love to.
His foot hit that pedal again, the warlock cruising further down that dock and away from those still laughing imbeciles. They hardly bothered him, he'd dealt with far worse then that. He simply didn't have the time tonight. His concern, for now, was that rapidly cooling food and his ever dwindling tip. April Rose. April Rose. Did she work in one of these buildings? Where the fuck was jetty 4? It's a ship! Where had that voice come from? Sly skidded to a halt once more. A fisherman lent away from the wooden beam he was leaning on the gesture further down that dock, a plume of smoke rose from his lips before he took another draw on his cigarette. The April Rose is a ship, belongs to some...weirdo. Down there.
"Umm, thanks. I think."
Sly swung off that bicycle then, walking it toward the nearest warehouse before leaning it agianst the wall. It wasn't as if someone was going to steal a bike this old. It was hardly worth the rubber of the tires. He untied the bag from the handle before heading down toward that boat the fisherman had pointed out. The name April Rose, at last, clear on the....whatever you called the front part of a boat. A hull? A stern? A bow? It was one of those he was sure. Who the fuck even lived on a boat? Did it have a door? Sly made his way down that dock, the warlock eyed the plank of wood that led from the dock itself to the deck of the boat. Great. This night was just so....fantastic. He stepped warily up onto the plank, the water below looked almost black as it sloshed agianst the boats wooden sides. Slowly. Slowly. Don't look down. The blond man at last stepped down and onto that dock. Now to find a front door. This was like the worst scavenger hunt ever. That food was surely cold by now. His free hand reached upward to rest on the bottom of that bag, the barest hint of warmth clung to the bottom. A heavy sigh left him then.
"There goes my tip."
Then again, maybe he could....fix it a little. Sly glanced almost anxiously about. The boat seemed quiet. So did the docks. No one was watching. The young warlock crouched easily down on that deck then, that box of food was lifted out momentarily before he opened the lid of those fish and chips. Sly offered that area another near nervous glance before his hand was held just above that food. That flicker of power was small, just enough to send a blast of heat over that meal before he hurriedly closed the lid and stuffed it back into the bag. Damn- he could feel the heat coming from it now. A momentary simper seemed to find his lips, the man clearly impressed with his efforts before he rapped his knuckles agianst what he was...mostly sure was the door. Mostly.
"Yo! Captain! I got your food! You home?"
Well- whoever it was hadn't left a name on the docket. Captain's had boats. It seemed a safe bet. Was that a dog barking? Sly's gaze glanced toward the bottom of the door- someone had turned a light on. They were home at least. An almost sharp smell seemed to rise within the air then. Something was...burning? His blue gaze shifted down to that food.
"Oh fuck me."
Smoke was rapidly beginning to rise from the bag. The scent of burning plastic was undeniable. He'd used too much heat. There was an excellent chance that food was on fire. Maybe he could-. The door swung open in near the same moment. Sly left standing near face to face with the man he could only presume had ordered that now flaming food that hung from his fingertips. This was awkward. Say something. Anything. A bright grin suddenly seemed to find the scruffy warlock's lips as he held that bag abruptly out to the other man.
"Thank you for ordering from The Codfather, home of criminally good fish and chips. Now sir, you may be wondering why your food appears to be on fire, let me assure you this is, in fact, part of our service to assure you receive your meal as fresh and hot as can be. You also qualify for our flaming good deal of the day. If you could please indicate the nearest fire proof surface in your home I will gladly see to....assisting you with your food."
Ah, Sly. Ever the showman. That aloof nature he so often wore seemed to disappear the moment an audience presented itself. Even if that audience hadn't exactly asked for a show.