Ulric came in near the end of my shift. I was talking on my phone to Musette. She told me to get out right on time because she was planning on meeting me at the subway stop near our home.

I told her okay, and that I would, and then I quickly hung up, hoping that Ulric wouldn’t be upset with me.

Linda was working the shift right after mine. She and Ulric had these big, heavy display cases in the back of their van. Ulric asked me if I would help them haul them into the basement.

You don’t have any appointment that you have to make, do you, he asked.

I told him that I didn’t, and then I texted Musette telling her that I wasn’t going to get out on time. She was already on the subway by this point though and wouldn’t receive my message until she got out.

You don’t have a bad back, do you, Ulric asked.

I told him that I in fact actually do.

How does everybody have bad backs, he asked.   

I worked at the liquor store before working here, I said. I was the delivery driver. I pulled it right when I started. I didn’t have a practiced form at that point. I got better at lifting things, but my back’s never been the same since I pulled it.

He seemed to understand.

I told him that it shouldn’t be a problem, and that I would be able to help him.

We moved two of the four cases. Ulric and Linda had carried one down on their own before I was able to help them. The fourth case stayed in the van because Ulric and Linda were tired, and Ulric couldn’t decide if he wanted the case to go directly into the shop or downstairs with the others.

I’ll be here tomorrow, I said, counting out my envelope.

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