Outside, the boys wandered about, looking through the different comics. Not wanting to spoil his eventual Ultimate Warlock experience, Carlos instead started reading a copy of the latest Battlestar Galactica, while Radley checked out the issue of Occam’s Razor he wanted to buy. In this issue, Detective Occam traveled through time so he could discover the whereabouts of a petty criminal who had suddenly become the city’s biggest threat — and Occam’s father.
Before long, Peter Langston, who had been restocking calligraphy books on nearby shelves, noticed the boys. “You boys need help?” In-store reading of the comics was discouraged, since it often meant that a sale wasn’t made.
The boys turned around, and tried not to laugh as they figured out why this grown man — a man they had both grown to respect because, after all, he worked at a comic book shop! — was dressed in a funny hat, white shirt, suspenders, and even funnier looking shorts.
“What,” asked Peter in a faux-German accent, “don’t you love my lederhosen?” He opened his arms wide, turning slightly to the right, striking a presenter’s pose. The boys’ only response was to stand there in gawking, awkward silence. Peter relaxed the pose and tried to explain: “In case you’re wondering, I’m dressed like this because I’m participating in the Oktoberfest festival tonight. Now, as I said –”
Fat Daisy opened the door to the office more harshly than she had intended, surprising everyone including herself, and walked out carrying a stack of thick, brown envelopes. She put the envelopes on the ground and said “Alright, boys, here are the packages I need delivered.”
Peter looked at her and she nodded, telling him in one look that the boys were doing some work for her then got back to stocking the remaining shelves just as Cherryh and Poul, Delirium Tremens’s resident Maine Coon cats, decided the shelves looked better without any pesky books blocking the view. “After all,” Peter said, talking to no one in particular and pretending to read the cats’ minds, “why would people look at a book when they could instead look at us?”
Radley picked up one of the packages, squeezed it a bit, tried to weigh it with his arms. After a few seconds, he said excitedly, “I know what this is!”
“You do, now?” Fat Daisy gave the boy a look that was both quizzical and intense.
Both boys took a step back, and Radley continued, less excitedly than before. “Yeah… uh… My dad gets these all the time. They’re magazines of…” and he added with a hushed tone, “naked ladies.” The boy noticed the lady’s face relaxing a bit. “He doesn’t think I know, but I found a bunch of them one day in his closet.”
“Well now, you know you shouldn’t be looking at those. And you definitely,” she said this with special emphasis, “definitely shouldn’t be looking at what’s in these.”
Fat Daisy gave each boy one package. As she did, she said “Now, when you’re walking through town, you’ll each have to go your own way. No one should see you boys together, not while you’re each carrying a package. Drop the package in the mail slot or in the mailbox. Don’t knock at the door. It’s fine if they see you, but try not to be seen. If they don’t have a mail slot or mail box, or of the package doesn’t fit, leave it on the front door, unless there are people around. Then just bring the package back.”
She showed each where he needed to go on a map, then each started off.
Within twenty minutes both boys had returned, each panting, after running to and from their destinations. Although Radley was a pudgy, he was still faster as the slimmer Carlos, and picked the further addresses for that reason; Carlos was just happy to do be making money. Every time they came back, Fat Daisy would give them something small to eat, usually a German food or snack with an unpronounceable name and a bit of drink. After a few minutes rest, they would go on to their delivery.