Smorgasbord Short Stories – On the Run by Sally Cronin
On the Run by Sally Cronin
Jenny Smith packed the last of the frozen food orders into the cooler boxes filled with ice in the back of her van, and, having waved goodbye to her boss Alex, climbed into the driving seat and checked her list of delivery addresses.
It was going to be a busy morning, but that was just how she liked it. The frozen food centre she worked in was popular and she enjoyed working on the tills, or stacking the freezers each day, as well as chatting to the customers. She was thankful to have been offered this job three years ago, in 1977, as it came with a flat above the shop, with all services included and a heavily discounted food shopping bill.
The live-in arrangement meant that, apart from the tax office, no-one could trace her through rental offices or utility companies, and it meant she could use a fictitious name when meeting strangers. Alex was the only person in this busy town in the Lake District who knew her real name and the reasons for making sure that it would remain a secret.
The local hotels were busy with the summer trade, and traffic could be quite slow on the narrow roads winding through the hills and lakes, especially if you got behind a few caravans in convoy. Jenny made good time however, as most tourists were still enjoying their substantial breakfasts in the bed & breakfasts and the hotels around the town. She was always welcomed into the kitchens with an offer of a tea or coffee or something more substantial, but with a heavy schedule she always declined. Jenny was also reticent about talking about herself, as she knew that more than a few of the customers she saw on a regular basis enjoyed a good gossip.
By lunchtime she was back at the freezer centre and took the signed delivery notes to the back of the shop to leave on Alex’s desk. He was out for the day, with plans to visit some suppliers in Carlisle, and was not expected back until after closing time this evening. There were two part-timers, Jacquie and Mary, serving customers and after checking they didn’t need any help, she headed up to her flat to grab a quick sandwich and cup of tea before they left to pick up their young children from the local primary school mid-afternoon.