No Room at the Inn
By Jeff Baker
The weather was bitter cold, the stars were a glorious spread of winter colors and the lights on the idling trucks were orange. The two men stood in the early-morning dark there in the warehouse.
“I found this the other morning when I started up the trucks,” Dayton said.
“Where?” Greg asked.
“In truck 307,” Dayton said. “Propped against the passenger side door.”
Dayton was holding a pillow. Not huge, medium-sized. Not fluffy, more like a Styrofoam cushion. Something that could be bought at a thrift store. Cheap.
“Find anything else?” Greg asked.
“Just the usual,” Dayton said. “Papers, pens, candy wrappers, half-full bags of chips, undelivered catalogs.” He shook his head. “These drivers really need to start cleaning out the cabs of their trucks more.”
“So, you think someone’s living in there?” Greg asked. “Using the cab of the truck as an apartment?”
“What I think is somebody is climbing over the fence and getting into one of the trucks after you and the loading crew leave for the night. When did you get out of here last night, anyway?” Dayton asked.
Greg thought for a moment. “About ten-thirty,” he said. “I think. Set the alarm and left.”
“Okay, sometime between eleven and five in the morning,” Dayton said.
“What makes you think one of the drivers didn’t leave it in there?” Greg asked.
“All the crap people leave in the trucks I wouldn’t be surprised,” Dayton said. “Listen, you get here same time I do, right?”
“Usually before you do,” Greg said.
“Try getting here a little earlier the next few mornings,” Dayton said. “See if we can catch this guy. If it’s a guy.”
“I’ll do that,” Greg said. “Let me have that pillow, okay? I’ll take care of it.”
They started walking back into the warehouse.
“Look at those stars!” I love it when it’s cold like this,” Dayton said.
Greg said nothing. He was making a mental note to set the alarm on his cellphone for a half-hour earlier as he felt for his toothbrush and razor in his pocket. He was; at least, glad to get his pillow back.