NEW YORK SNOW DAY by Peter Nolan Smith

In the winter of 2010 I woke early to snow flakes fluttering against the window of my Brooklyn bedroom. Beyond the glass a winter storm was decorating the city white. I thought about going back to sleep, except the telephone rang.

It was my boss’ son, Richie Boy.

“I hope you’re calling to tell me not to come in work.” I loved no-work snow days.

“No, I have a customer coming into the store at 9:30. He’s buying a Rolex.”

“And you aren’t coming in?” Richie Boy never showed before the crack of 11.

“Not until later.” I was more into 10am.

“How much snow is there?”

“Twelve inches so far. Can you make it?”

“If the trains are running, yes.” I hung up, brewed a cup of tea, dressed for the weather, and called my family in Thailand. My son Fenway was getting ready for school. His mother listened to my description of the storm and said, “I never see snow.”

“I don’t think you’d like it.” The coldest it got in Sri Racha was the low 70s.

“I think I die. You come here soon. I keep you warm.”

I hung up, finished my tea, and headed to the Atlantic Terminal. Trains were running slow, but running so there was no chance of a snow day for me. It was a good way to start out the morning and I headed out of the Fort Greene

The train ride into the city took an hour instead of thirty minutes. Richie Boy’s customer was already at the store. These Wall Street types didn’t like wasting time even in a blizzard. He didn’t thank me for coming into the city and I spun the dial of the safe slower than normal. I wasn’t making a penny from the sale. It was 100% Richie Boy’s deal. After pulling open the door I took out the watch. It was in a box. The banker tried it on. It was a late gift to himself from his bonus.

“You have the money.”

He handed over an envelope. $10,000 wasn’t much of a wad in hundreds. I count it three times and said, “You’re good to go.”

Neither of us said good-bye.

I looked outside, as I set up the jewelry in the window. The snow wasn’t easing up and I doubted Richie Boy was getting here before 1.

The phone rang.

I checked the number. It was a client calling to ask where was his Fedex package. I answered the phone and told the realtor that his wife’s gift might be stuck at the depot.

“But Richie said it would get here today.”

“The snowstorm is an act of God.” I had to blame it on someone and who better than God.

The customer cursed me and I said, “I’ll call Fedex soon and get back to you.”

“I’m not happy.”

“Good morning?” Andrea asked from across the aisle.

We were the only two people in the exchange other than the two guards.

“Yeah, lovely. I thought I was going to have a snow day, instead I get yelled at by a customer who wants his package now.”

“Who wants what now?” Richie clomped into the store in his snowboarding gear. He saw the cash on the desk and stuck it in his pocket. He had bills to pay.

I told him about the package in limbo.

“Let’s see if we can save it from purgatory.” Richie called Fedex and asked the rep about options. “Can a customer can pick up the package from 11th Ave and 42nd Street.”

That was FedEx’s main depot.

I groaned thinking that Richie Boy wanted me to pick up the package. He blamed me for the package’s status, not remembering that he had ordered Monday delivery to save on shipping. Americans loved to blame everything on someone other than themselves. I bit my tongue. I had four kids to feed. They were more important than my pride.

“Where you going?” Richie Boy asked without putting down the telephone. The only time of day his ear of his cell was free was when he’s asleep.

“To pick up the package.” I figured the go-come back would take two hours.

“Let the prick pick it up.” Richie Boy hung up the phone. His ear was boiling red. Better his than mine. I have no one talking in my head while I sleep.

“You’re right about that.” I don’t talk about any customers like that, although Richie Boy’s father considers all Gs as POS or pieces of shit and they proved him right more often than not.

Richie Boy made another sale. We closed early. The snow was gaining on the rock salt and shovels. His wife waited at home. A bottle of wine would be my companion for the night. Later a telephone call would join me with Mem. She would know from the tone of my voice that I had been drinking.

“It’s a snow day.”

Mem was smart.

She knows what that means and she knows me.

I love snow.

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