that's all of them, ma'am...
The delivery agent doffed his hat, smiling at the modest tip I had pressed into his hand.
Thank you. Enjoy your new home!
Slightly overwhelmed, I sank into my love chair - an armchair made for two - you're meant to snuggle up. But for now, it would just be me. It felt like I was being swallowed up by its cavernous space. I hugged my new cushions tightly but bolstering would hardly compensate for Diego's absence.
I stared at the mountain of boxes in my new living room. I had no idea where to start. I hadn't packed them. Diego, who seemed regretful and apologetic for his sudden need for space in our relationship, had taken it upon himself to arrange the entire move. He had said since it was his fault, that he should shoulder the responsibility. Still, this was going to take a lot more out of me than I had expected. I sighed. I needed coffee. A lot of it!
The one thing that had come with me was my Coffee Master 5000. It already sat shiny and pristine on my kitchen counter. It was busy roasting the special Columbian Coffee beans that Diego's mom sends to me each month from Bogotá. It always resulted in the perfect slice of coffee heaven but, this time, I would have to enjoy it while wrapped up in an emotional hell. I missed Diego immensely.
His sudden change of character made no sense. We had only recently celebrated our fifth anniversary together. We were happy, at least it had seemed that way. I indulged in a moment of self-pity before the app on my phone pinged, pulling me back from my reverie. My brew was ready and waiting.
Relinquishing the comfort of my chair, I followed the deep and sensuous aroma to the kitchen through misty eyes. Leaning back into the countertop, I gazed at the amber elixir, steaming from my mug. I closed my eyes, inhaling, before succumbing to the taste. Hmm... nice and strong. I figured I was going to need it to tackle the memories awaiting me in the room I had just left behind.
I sat down in the middle of the soft-pile rug, surrounded by a few dozen cardboard boxes. I took another sip - Columbian courage... I managed a slight smile at my own wit! I looked at the contents list for the first box. It was empty except for a nondescript note defining the contents as
Fragile - handle with care.
Hm... that's strange. I thought. Diego is usually quite meticulous about things like this!
I looked at a few more boxes... all bore the same inscription.
Perhaps he was too busy, I mused... perhaps he really doesn't care anymore.
I took another sip - damn that machine made a great cuppa!
Then I proceeded to open the first box.
Inside, bags of white powder. What in the name of...? I opened the next box... to be met by the same... and the next... and the next. All boxes appeared to hold the same mysterious contents. It couldn't be...? Could it? I poured over them again... This was the stuff of movies.... but it was almost certainly Cocaine! I had no idea why drugs would be present in my removal boxes. Then it hit me. Somebody somewhere was gonna be pretty pissed off! What the hell was I going to do?*
My phone started vibrating inside my jeans pocket. I shifted my weight and reached for it, checking the caller id - Diego.
*What was I to do? My amateur detective brain went into overdrive. He was Columbian. His mom sent him packages every month from the Capital. His sudden change of character. His insistence on packing all of our possessions himself. The cocaine showing up on my doorstep. Holy smokes!!! Was he part of a drug cartel? Was I involved with a Drug lord? Should I run? Call the police? Answer his call? Would he hurt me? Could he hurt me? My head was spinning. My stomach was in knots.
The phone rang off... then almost immediately started ringing again! My heart raced as I paced back and forth. My eyes darted between the bags of cocaine lying on the living room floor and the lit-up screen in my hand. I made a decision and sent the call to voicemail. I waited. When the notification arrived, I dialed in and listened to his message:
Sally! It's Diego... you have to listen to me. Do not open the boxes. I repeat, do not open the boxes. I can explain everything. I am on my way. I'll be there in ten minutes. Don't leave the apartment, and don't open the door, for anyone!
I was shaking uncontrollably, barely hitting the right keys as I dialed the police. If Diego was on his way over, I might need protection. It appears the police were in my area, as a few minutes later there was a loud knock on the door.
I asked tentatively.
Police, Ma'am. Open up, please.
I was still flicking the latch on the door when it flung open and four burly men charged into my apartment. Before I knew it, one had a gun to my head, whilst another was shouting the odds; loose bags of cocaine were returned hastily to their boxes.
Who are you? Who else knows?
I could smell the stench of day-old liquor on his breath as the spittle hit my face.
Diego. Please speak with Diego. He'll explain.
The man stepped back, staring blankly.
Who the hell is Diego?
I looked up as Diego stormed into the room, weapon drawn.
Hold it right there! You're under arrest!
Taken unawares, within seconds, the thugs who had forced their way into my apartment were in custody.
Diego held me tight.
I'll explain everything
Oh man, is that mama's coffee? - I'd kill for one now!
This is my entry for the Cinnamon Cup Coffee fiction challenge.
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