It was a depressing morning, gray skies and distant sun. The cold air of Alaskan wind sifted through the roads, and weaved between the homes of the few residents that lived in the town of Valdez. Blaire, a young woman of the ripe age of twenty years. She was shorter than the average woman, only four feet and eleven inches. Despite this, she was rather petite as well. Blaire was only about ninety five pounds, but this was not due to malnourishment. Blaire was a heavy eater, but her metabolism was faster than her mouth could devour.
The young woman had lengthy hair that settled just above her hips. To boot, she had bright freckles that matched her ginger hair, which caught the eye of nearly any man that crossed her path. This fit her unnatural eyes, adding to her incredible beauty. A bright, almost neon green. It was a genetic defunct, no doubt, yet her eyes were proof otherwise. Anyone who gazed into her eyes, found them majestic and soothing.
Aside from her immense beauty, however, Blaire was a very timid and reclusive type. No amount of compliments or flirtatious encounters could cure Blaire of her great ambivalence towards her own appearance, and also existence. Born in Seattle of Washington state, in a rather wealthy family no doubt, Blaire had always hated the status that came with her existence.
Everything was faux, disingenuous and materialistic. Not only the lifestyle, but every single rich man and woman that surrounded Blaire and her family, including almost everyone in her family as well. From her mother and father, to uncles and cousins, to nephews and nieces, Blaire had found them all to be selfish and prideful. Anything that they deemed less than, was to be discarded and tossed aside. But no amount of indoctrination was ever enough to convince Blaire that any of it was true.
It was only after she started her first year in college, a prestigious one at that, in which she found her mental psyche beginning to fall to pieces. Pressure from her parents on the path to success, in their own eyes, including conditions upon her failure to impress, had begun to lead Blaire down a path of self realization. She had never been happy, not truly. If anything, Blaire only wanted to free herself from the cruel life that had enveloped her since birth.
Before the access to the funds allotted to her could be forbidden, Blaire had cut her ties to her entire family and fled as far north as she could reach. Alaska was her final destination, but it was not enough. Fearful that her family would hunt her down to the ends of the earth, Blaire ultimately found herself in a small town named Valdez on the coast of the north pacific ocean.
Changing her last name, and using only cash transactions to cover her tracks, she had finally felt free from sin and misery when she awoke on the twenty fourth day in the small home that she purchased under a false name. While she was young, she had learned a great many deceitful skills at the hands of her corrupt family. Blaire had gotten out of bed, realizing that for the first time in twenty four days she did not have a nightmare during her sleep. These nightmares would involve her family finding her, killing her out of revenge, among other alarming things.
She got out of bed, slipping her bare feet into her fuzzy slip-ons. Wearing her warm pajamas, due to the cold, she trudged across the wooden floor and towards the wood-pellet stove in the adjacent room. After getting it to work, the heat was already noticeable. Blaire then yawned as she headed towards the kitchen, the coffee pot already having made a batch as the timer had been set for six in the morning, so that it was ready.
Pouring herself a cup, Blaire took a sip and snuggled into a cushy rocking chair in the large room where the pellet stove was located. Enjoying the sound of the chirping birds, and light wind outside, Blaire enjoyed the peace and tranquility of silence within her own home. Despite almost a month of worry and anxiety, this morning had turned out to be much different. Finally, Blaire had known what it felt like to be at peace.
“I’ll order two… Uhhhh, two number fives, and uhhh… Three curly fries, four large cokes, one small sprite… Uhhhhh, three number fours… Uhhh, a big taco with extra beef and cheese…. Uhhhh, hmmmm…. Uhhh, hm, uhhhh… Oh, and a giant speckled corn dog!”
The comically large man appeared to be done with his order, as Jacob gave him a stern gaze.
“Is that all?” Jacob asked rhetorically.
“Yeah, that’s all,” the man answered.
“Your total will be… sixty-two dollars and thirty cents.”
The man whipped out his wallet, and slapped his debit card onto the counter of the food wagon. Jacob rang up the customer's transaction before handing the customer his card and a receipt, with an order number printed at the top.
“It’s a large order, give us about twenty minutes and it’ll be ready for pick-up,” Jacob informed the man.
“I’ll be back then, thank you.” The man waddled off, his weight clearly slowing him down.
Jacob wondered how anyone could allow themselves to reach such a size, but he tried to restrain judgment. After all, he remembered his own past all too well. The man had simply committed a detriment to his own health, but Jacob had done far worse. Who was he to judge anybody?
“Did you get the order Liz?” Jacob asked his chef, and Liz nodded as she had already started on the order. Liz was a mute, and could not speak, yet Jacob and her seemed to have a solid way of communicating despite her disability.
Jacob turned around the corner to face out the window of his food wagon, and spotted a gorgeous woman standing in line, alone. She had vibrant, green eyes and luscious, red hair. Her freckles were a true addition to her beauty, he had never seen her in town before. Considering Jacob had lived in Valdez all of his life, he was ashamed that he’d never met this woman before.
“Welcome to Trolley Town, what can I get you?” Jacob smiled at her, trying to remain composed. Her beauty had awed him, and he nearly stumbled on his feet.
“What’s popular? I’ll admit this is the first place I’ve eaten at since I moved here,” the young woman explained bashfully.
Suddenly it all made sense, she was a new resident. Jacob hadn’t been aware of a new resident within Valdez in a long time, so this struck him as odd.
“I see. If you don’t mind, when did you move here?”
“Just over three weeks ago,” she answered.
She remained silent, and averted her eyes. Jacob could tell he was making her uncomfortable, and wasn’t sure if she had a rocky past or something, so he relented.
“Apologies, you just wanted to order some food, I didn’t mean to pry. What can I get you, miss?”
“No, it isn’t you, I’m just a bit private is all. What do you recommend?”
“We have speckled corn dogs, they’re a new recipe we’re trying out. Very popular so far,” Jacob responded. “It’s your typical corn dog, but twice the size, unprocessed and with organic pork, sprinkled with japanese, crushed ramen and battered in a spicy curry powder.”
“That sounds… Amazing!”
“I’ll take that as a yes, one or two?”
“I have a feeling I’ll be a lover, so why not two?”
“Excellent. Liz! Two speckled corn dogs, stat! Can I get you anything else, miss…?”
“Blaire,” she answered, “my name is Blaire.”
“And I am Jacob, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Blaire. You can spare the details, but if you don’t mind me asking, of all places why did you choose to move here? Do you have a family that lives here or something? Or maybe a boyfriend, husband…?”
“Do you make a habit of asking personal questions to all of your customers?” Blaire asked playfully, raising her brow and giving the young man a smirk.
Jacob let out a short laugh, grinning from ear to ear as he looked down shamefully, knowing that his intentions had been caught red handed. Admittedly, Jacob had almost immediately fallen for Blaire. He could not deny her beauty, but her innocence and mysterious past all but piqued his interest. Never had he been so interested in getting to know a woman more.
“You caught me, and I apologize. I’ll shut up now, your order will be ready shortly, Miss Blaire.”
“It’s just Blaire,” she giggled heartily. “Please, I don’t mean to be rude. Honestly, the reason I moved here is to get away from everything. I don’t want to go into details, but I just wanted to experience life in peace and without distraction. Valdez seemed like the place to do so, unless you think I’m being foolish?”
“Peace and without distraction,” Jacob smiled amusedly, “well you’ll certainly get that here. Nothing ever happens in Valdez. Nothing of interest anyway, but if that’s your intent then you hit the jackpot!”
Liz came from behind and kneed Jacob in the back of his thigh.
“Ouch! Hey! What gives?” Jacob rubbed his sore thigh, and turned to see Liz glaring at him expectantly. Then, to his surprise, she handed him not two, but four speckled corn dogs.
“The woman ordered two, Liz. Have you gone deaf too?”
Liz began to gesture hand signs, of which Blaire could not understand. Liz then gestured with her eyes towards a nearby table, before shoving the bags of speckled corn dogs into his arms.
“Liz… I can’t just…”
Liz then began to signal hand signs furiously, as if annoyed with the young man. Before pointing at the table physically before shoving him by the shoulder gently. Jacob relented, and sighed, before turning to face Blaire with an embarrassed smile.
“Uhh, would you like to… Take lunch with me? Please say yes,” Jacob requested.
Catching on quickly, Blaire blushed and nodded. “I’d love to…”
Jacob exited the wagon, walking aside Blaire to the nearby table as they both sat down. The young man pushed two of the corn dogs towards Blaire, who quickly unwrapped one and began to smell the tasty aroma that filled her nostrils.
“Wow, this smells really good!”
Jacob unwrapped one of his, only now realizing how hungry he actually was. He didn’t eat much, not junk anyways, but he’d never actually tried his own creation before. Liz usually did all of the taste testing.
“I’ll admit, this is my first time tasting this myself,” Jacob admitted.
“What? Really? Don’t you ever try your own food?” Blaire quickly took a bite, her eyes beaming with satisfaction as the juices touched her tongue and filled her with an overwhelming joy.
“Hardly, this is technically junk food, and I usually avoid such pleasantries,” Jacob took a bite himself, quite surprised by how good it tasted. The curry powder added an excellent spice, the crushed ramen giving the corndog a pleasant crunch. Of course, the cornbread dough added a spectacular combination with the ramen, and the dog itself was immensely tasteful.
“This is delicious! The best corn dog I’ve ever eaten!” Blaire declared.
“Yeah it’s definitely good, now I can officially tell my customers I’ve tried it myself!”
“What about you?” Blaire suddenly asked. “Why did you move to Valdez? Where are you from?”
Jacob was about to take another bite, but this question paused him for a moment as he set the corn dog back down upon his wrapper. He smiled nervously for a moment, before interlacing his fingers and looking across the table at Blaire.
“Actually, I was born here,” Jacob revealed. “Family is all gone, though. It’s just me now. Has been since I was nineteen years old. I’m twenty-nine now.”
“Twenty-nine? You seem a bit younger than that,” Blaire admitted.
“Too old for a pretty girl like you to be talking to?”
Blaire blushed. “Not at all… In fact, you’re sort of the first friend I’ve made here.”
“Friend? Are we friends now?” Jacob kept smiling, which only made it harder for Blaire to look him in the eye without blushing.
“Aren’t we? Don’t friends get to know each other better?”
“That they do, indeed.”
There was a brief moment of silence, as Jacob and Blaire found themselves locking their gaze. Blaire slowly smiled at him, her bashful nature seemingly dissipating for a brief moment, something that had never happened to her before. However, their conversation took an untimely end when Jacob caught the eye of an older woman that had approached a table across from them.
The woman had raven hair, and seemed to be in her late thirties to early forties. Despite this, she had impeccable skin and healthy hair. Her eyes were a vibrant hazel, nails painted a lush red. She wore high heels and a mid-length skirt that rose just above her kneecaps. She wore a white blouse which struggled to contain the woman’s massive cleavage, the buttons of her blouse seemingly ready to burst at a moment's notice. The woman lifted a newspaper she had brought with her, gazing at Jacob with a stern expression.
“Well, that’s truly unfortunate,” Jacob commented.
“What is?” Blaire seemed confused.
“An older woman just sat down behind you, she’s the owner of this fine establishment. She likely wants my attention.”
“Establishment? This is a food wagon,” Blaire chuckled humorously.
“You’re right, this fine food wagon, of course.”
“You’re a funny man, Jacob. May I see you again, sometime…?”
Jacob was the one blushing now, as he gave Blaire the most genuine smile that he’d ever given anyone.
“Of course! I work Wednesday through Sunday every week. Liz takes over on Monday and Tuesday.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow then, around noon?”
Jacob nodded, “that would be great.”
Blaire wrapped her half-eaten speckled corn dog, before grabbing the other and standing to her feet. She smiled at Jacob one last time, before waving him off and walking towards the street, to her home. Jacob was annoyed, he was having such a great time with her, and now he was being forced to watch this catch of a woman walk away. He only hoped that she was as interested in him as he was her, and that she’d return tomorrow as agreed.
“Jacob, I won’t wait much longer,” the older woman huffed, turning a page of the newspaper.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m coming you grumpy witch!” Jacob scoffed, grabbing his food and tossing it into the trash as he begrudgingly approached the woman and sat down across from her.
“Call me a grumpy witch again, and I’ll beat the living shit out of you, understood?”
“Oh you love my name calling, don’t pretend otherwise. Now what is it?” Jacob folded his arms, annoyed with her presence.
“It’s been almost a month, and we have not been given an update on any upcoming transactions. What’s the hold up?” The woman turned another page of the newspaper, her gaze fixated upon it, as if to showcase some sort of superiority over Jacob.
“Hasn’t been a lot of folks to meet your ‘majesties’ quota. This shit takes time, why don’t you assholes understand that?”
“We do understand,” the woman commented, folding the newspaper at last and placing it on the table. She then crossed her fingers together, elbows on the table as she leaned forward. “Was that woman you were speaking with, a quota in progress?”
Jacob almost lost his nerve.
“What? No! No, not at all. She’s a friend of mine, that’s all.” Jacob grew nervous, he didn’t want to bring any attention to Blaire at all.
“That’s a shame, she would have been worth ten times the others made you. What’s the price? I’m sure we can reach an agreement, friend or not.”
“She isn’t for fucking sale, and don’t make me repeat myself!” Jacob was growing irritated. “When I have a fucking body for you, I’ll call you. Why are you accosting me at my place of work? Are you people that desperate?”
The woman frowned, leaning back in her seat as she crossed her legs. After a brief moment, she smiled at Jacob.
“Avaramix was quite impressed with your supernatural abilities, Jacob. I was at first too, but I have never found you to be trustworthy. Frankly, the only thing stopping me from ending your life, is knowing all too well the fate of those who stand in your way. I overheard enough, that young girl, Blaire is it? If she knew what you are, and what you’ve done, she’d spit on your grave.”
“Listen here, Deita,” Jacob slammed his palms on the table, shaking it violently as he stood up in a rage, “keep your fucking comments to yourself. In fact, you know what? I’m out! Out! You hear me? Now you fucks get nothing. Get the hell out of Valdez, now!”
“Avaramix was afraid you would say that,” Deita, the older woman, said with disdain. “Look, I understand you and I have a hateful relationship, but I relent. I meant no ill harm towards the young woman, you have my word. Despite my distrust of you, Avaramix warned me of my fate should I lose you as our top supplier. So I didn’t come empty handed.”
Deita leaned down and grabbed a bag that was beneath the table. Lifting it up, she dropped it on the table in front of Jacob. The young man seemed curious, but he also knew Deita all too well, and wasn’t about to be swayed without good reason.
“In this bag is two million, cash. Does this solve any moral dilemma that plagues your mind?”
“Just like that? I haven’t even supplied you with a fresh one in-”
“Yes, we know, obviously,” Deita interrupted. “Don’t think we don’t know why, either. Your morals are your weakness, Jacob, they always have been and always will be. But something dark inside of you brought your gift to us in the first place, otherwise I wouldn’t be here, would I? So you’re just as twisted as we are, and don’t pretend otherwise.”
Jacob wanted to argue, but ultimately he knew Deita to be right. His tense nature finally released, and his clenched fists returned to relaxed positions as he sat back down. He grabbed the bag and unzipped it, taking a peek inside to see an ungodly amount of cash bundles inside.
“Two million, feel free to count it, I have time to spare.”
“Not necessary, what are you looking for exactly?”
“Blaire is off limits?”
Jacob recoiled. “Say her name one more time…”
“Calm down, I am only making sure. If you have limits, you have limits, I won’t push on the young woman any more.”
Deita turned her head slowly, facing Liz who was taking a customer's order. A smile spread across her lips, as she faced Jacob again.
“Liz is it? She’s a mute, yes?”
“She is, why?” Jacob didn’t like where this was going.
“One and a half million for her,” Deita offered. “There’s an extra incentive for the customers when they can’t speak back. She’s pretty enough also, she’ll sell fast.”
“The nerve of you fucks…” Jacob shook his head furiously, “you expect me to surrender my own employee!?”
“Two million,” Deita offered.
“You can’t be serious… That’s five times the amount you were offering just a few months ago!”
“Two and a half million. Final offer.”
Jacob was speechless, and suddenly he was actually contemplating the offer. He clenched his teeth, his mind plagued with thoughts of how demented this situation was. At the same time, two and half million dollars was a lot of money, on top of the two million being offered to him free of charge.
“Why so much money all of a sudden?” Jacob asked. “I want to know. What’s changed?”
“The clientele, Jacob. At first Avaramix and I had our doubts, but in the time you’ve decided to ghost us, we’ve been getting some rather impatient customers throwing insane amounts of cash in our faces to get their hands on more of your product. Avaramix is willing to pay any price, even if he loses money at first, to get you back as a supplier. Anything, Jacob. Name your price. There is no one else on planet earth that can do what you do, understand?”
“Ten million dollars,” Jacob blurted, his heart racing the moment he said it.
“Excuse me?” Deita seemed surprised, folding her arms and glaring at him suspiciously.
“Keep the bag,” Jacob shoved the bag of money back towards the older woman. “I’ll get your product, but I want ten million cash before delivery. Got it?”
“Deal,” Deita smiled as she grabbed the bag and stood up from her chair. “I’ll be back tomorrow just after noon. That gives you enough time to do what you need to do, and also have your second ‘date’ with Blaire before our business is conducted. Sounds fair?”
“Whatever…” Jacob huffed, bringing a hand to his forehead as he contemplated the wickedness of what he was about to do to Liz, and what fate would befall her.
“And if you change your mind about Blaire… I’m sure Avaramix would pay ten times the amount for such a… Beautiful woman… Ha ha ha!”
Deita walked off with the bag of cash, as Jacob lifted his head and glared at her with a despicable expression. Despite his mixed feelings, Deita was right about him. He had been stuck in this shit hole for his entire life, hardly able to make ends meet. That all changed when he ran into her, Deita, and his hidden secret had been unveiled.
“And to think I could have had you in the palm of my hand once…” Jacob spoke under his breath. “I should have killed you when I had the chance, you stuck up bitch.”