Become a Book Nerd
When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.
Fletcher sat on a stool against the wall, drinking from a mug filled to the brim with coffee as he watched the rain come down and splatter against the windows of the repair shop. He had already witnessed a car crash from afar at his spot inside of the building, and he could still see the lights of the ambulance shining through the mist of the rain. The rain made the pavement dangerously perilous to the point where cars drifted when they turned onto another road at an intersection. Fletcher was quite a ways from home, so the traffic and crash rate would be multiplied due to the terrible weather. Though the shutters that separated the repair lineup from the outside world were pulled all the way down, Fletch could still see them rattling aggressively as it held itself back from the force of the rain.
The Roy Foster’s Automotive was supposed to close an hour ago–currently, it was 10:43–but Fletch was told to stay behind by his manager just in case some customer waltzed in and wanted to schedule a repair for some other time because of today’s weather. So, all the staff members that were inside of Roy Foster’s were just Fletcher and his manager. Soon, the weather troubles began to become less of a problem in his mind, as Fletch thought of another issue; the lack of staff made Fletch become paranoid about the small chance of multiple customers coming simultaneously, making his job harder. He’s been working for so long in the business that he’s come to enjoy lending a helping hand to those who need it, but this weather was setting Fletch off. After thinking it over a few times in his head though, Fletch was able to convince himself off of the idea.
Come on, Fletch finally thought, smirking to himself behind the rim of his mug. Nobody’s crazy enough to do that. These people got places to be. Would a fella really waste his time scheduling a repair for another day here? Cars’re gonna start piling up on the street by the time he walks in here.
At that thought, the rusty doorbell at the front rang, as the sound of wind suddenly came through to Fletcher’s ears. He heard a man grunt, the sound of pounding rain following close behind him. Then, the wind seemed to be cut off abruptly. The man had closed the door.
Fletch, highly unamused, slowly got off from the stool and began heading towards the front desk. Though annoyed that a customer would even come in at this time, Fletch wasn’t going to let his mood eventually leave a bad impression on the customer.
“What lovely weather we’re havin’,” Fletch said right as he opened the door to the reception area. He sat down on one of the office chairs stationed behind the desk, then turned his gaze upon the customer.
It seemed as if the man hadn’t heard Fletch, because there he stood; breathing heavily and staring down at the carpet beneath him with tired eyes. His black hair was remarkably damp, and so were his clothes, along with the canvas bag he had slung over his shoulder. The poor man looked absolutely winded, and Fletch decided to give him a second before speaking again. When a minute flew by and the man still hadn’t said anything, Fletcher’s mood went from irritation to concern. “Hey, you alright over there?” Fletch said as he stood from the office chair.
The man suddenly blinked a couple of times before staring at Fletch. Then, he blinked a few more times as he gazed at his surroundings. Fletch could tell he was clearly flustered, but he seemed to regain composure when he began to assess the situation. “I’m sorry,” the man said, tightening the black tie around his collar, “it was raining like absolute hell out there and I hadn’t brought an umbrella to work today.”
Fletcher chuckled. “Me neither,” he said, looking past the man and out the glass door behind him. The rain was still coming down like bullets on a relentless battlefield. “I woke up late this morning, so I wasn’t able to listen to today’s weather broadcast.”
“I don’t watch the news,” the man sighed. “I never have time to do anything in the mornings even if I woke up hours before my shift started. There’s already enough to do at home before I go to work and…” The man trailed off. Realizing he was rambling, he looked up at Fletcher and grinned apologetically. “Sorry, beside the point.”
“The point being?” Fletcher grinned.
In response, the raven grinned back. “I didn’t come here for a repair,” he explained, somewhat guiltily. “I came here because the rain was getting too much. I couldn’t walk the few extra dozen steps to my car. I had to stop by here because I knew if I kept walking, I would’ve gotten sick to hell.”
Fletcher, though irked upon knowing the raven’s true intent, managed to repress a frown. “It’s fine by me, partner,” Fletcher said. “Just take a sit and try not to hold up the line.”
The man proceeded to nod in response but was interrupted by a shudder. Having just run through a barrage of cold rain, the man might get sick in a minute if he wasn’t warmed up fast.
“On second thought,” Fletcher said after witnessing this, “stay right there and wait. I’ve got towels in the back that’ll soak up just about anything. Should get you dry or at least close to it.”
“Th-thanks,” the man stammered, grasping his elbows as a violent shiver sent tremors down his entire body again.
Just as Fletcher began to head back out into the large garage, he paused. Then, he turned his head back towards the man and said, “I’pologize for not introducing myself earlier. I’m Fletcher, but a simple ‘Fletch’ would suffice as well.”
Despite being a rattling mess over on the other side of the counter, the man somehow pulled off a charmingly sweet smile. “Fletch, huh?” he said. “I’m Marshal.”
Fletcher chuckled. “Nice name,” he said, just as he exited the front desk area.
“Your’s too,” Marshal murmured, the smile still lingering on his lips.
When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.