Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Remnant: An act of kindness

The snow under Jarrell’s tires was cold enough to squeal. Jarrell figured somewhere between 0 and -5.

Dressing for the weather is a real challenge when you ride a bike. Depending on the wind direction, his forward speed either added twelve miles per hour to the wind or subtracted it. It wasn’t a matter of splitting the difference. The clothing set that was too hot and made him sweat when riding with the wind was bone-chillingly too cold when riding against the wind.

Jarrell had some collapsible panniers that he draped over his rack in the back. He always had enough shells and vests and wind-pants squirreled away in the panniers to drop down another twenty-degrees in temperature. And gloves. Riding a bike in below-freezing weather was brutal without high quality gloves and they were SOOO easy to lose.

Still, -5F is where riding a bike stopped being fun and became a gut-it-out-way to get from Point A-to-Point B.

Danno was still feeling under the weather so Jarrell parked the bike and Merle and he mosied on down to Elsie’s Pizza.

Leslie was surprised to see him. “I thought you had enough food for a couple of days?”

“Yup. We do. But I just couldn’t leave you” Jarrell said.

Unlike many men his age, he actually enjoyed flirting with women, especially when everybody knew it was just for “funsies”.

“You might as well find somewhere warm to hang out. It is going to be just like yesterday, there isn’t going to be any work for you until dark.” Leslie said.

“How long have you been here?” Jarrell asked.

“Since six” Leslie informed him.

“So you have been here about two hours, right?” Jarrell asked.

“Yeah” Leslie said.

“You have to be freezing your ass off!” Jarrell said.

“Well, I ain’t exactly toasty warm” Leslie admitted.

“Tell you what, I watched what you did all day yesterday. I think I can do that. Whaddya say I hold the clip-board for an hour and you go into Elsie’s and warm up?” Jarrell said.

Tempting, oh so very tempting.

“I will make a counter-offer” Leslie said. “I look over your shoulder for a half hour and watch to see how you do. Then, if I am satisfied with how you are doing I got into Elsie’s for half an hour.”

“Done!” Jarrell said.

Leslie only lasted another fifteen minutes. As good as his word, Jarrell had been watching Leslie and was able to put the check-marks into the appropriate boxes.

Leslie and Jarrell traded off the entire shift. One hour on, one hour off.

And. Just. Like. That.         Back. In. Management.

It was the fastest shift Leslie had ever worked. It flew by. She could talk to the folks inside making the crusts. She could use the can without worrying that she had volunteers bailing out.

Jarrell kept his eyes open and his mouth shut while he was in Elsie’s. Something was odd. He expected the pizza oven to be running continuously but more than half the time there was nothing in it.

Odd. Very, very odd.


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