Our Fred's had a rough weekend! See if you can guess the ep.
Many thanks as usual to my mahvelous beta readers Lauryn and Linda. And special thanks to Susannah at Ask Jeeves - L.A. division!
Permission to archive, Nancy.
Steele Drivin' Man 10/?
April 13, 1983
I haven't ever really thought much about stress, but this weekend I sure had it. Used to be I thought stress was drive time on the 405, but after I read an article in Miss Holt's 'Working Woman' that I found on the floor in the back, stress is definitely what I've been having. It said that most of it comes from not being in control of your situation. That pretty much describes what happened to me. 'Course, it didn't help that I was awake for most of 48 hours straight.
Saturday started out good enough, even though I'm never really in the best mood working on the weekend. We were doing fine until a big jolt told me we'd blown a tire. The left rear was down to the rim, and I could see the roofing nail sticking out. I took off my jacket and got to work. I'm glad that it was Saturday because there was nowhere to pull over on that bridge. Mr. Steele was on the phone with Miss Holt telling her we'd be late, but before I even knew what was happening, he was running across the bridge. When I realized he wasn't on the phone anymore and looked up, he was hanging on for dear life to a guy who obviously was there to jump off. Well, here was stress #1. All I could do was watch Mr. Steele talk this guy down to the street. And pull on him pretty hard too.
I got the spare on as fast as I could and made tracks for Century City. Turns out this little guy's name's Hollis, and he had lost track of a serious amount of money. Mr. Steele never did calm down. He was pretty jumpy the whole trip. When we got to the office, Mr. Steele hauled the guy upstairs, and I made a quick trip to the filling station to get the tire fixed.
When I got back, I took Mr. Steele, Mr. Hollis and Miss Holt to some apartment complex in Sherman Oaks. Then on our way to Mr. Michaels' house, they were trying to help Mr. Hollis with his problems. I guess they weren't doing a good enough job, because the next thing I know I feel a draft on the back of my neck, and in the mirrors I see all three of them hanging out the open car door. I think we might have been all right eventually if it hadn't been for the semi coming at us. Talk about stress #2. Here I am in an alley, with my employers and a client halfway in the street, and no where to go. Mr. Steele looked up and hollered, and I grabbed his coat sleeve and pulled with one hand while I swerved with the other in the little space I had left. I had to stop for a few minutes to calm down after that. So did everyone else.
After I felt better we went to Mr. Michaels' house, and then to some weird boutique on Melrose. We were putting on some miles now. I sat and waited out front and caught a quick nap. Then we were off to Rossmore.
After a short stop there we went to the Federal Reserve Bank, of all places. On a Saturday. I don't ask questions, I just go where I'm told to go. After about thirty minutes, that pipsqueak Hollis came out of the bank and took off across the street into a construction area. Mr. Steele and Miss Holt were out the door right behind him. Before I could catch up with them, I heard shots fired. Make that stress #3. I hung back behind a pallet of bricks until it seemed to be over. Hollis gave them the slip, I guess, because when Mr. Steele and Miss Holt met me at the car they looked pretty upset. We spent the next several hours driving around looking for him.
Around about 2 AM I felt like I was going to fall asleep at the wheel when we finally went back to the office. Miss Holt and Mr. Steele went upstairs and I caught a nap. All I wanted to do was go home!
It wasn't long before they had me awake again, going back to Melrose to some gawd awful place called Lingerie. I could hear the music thumping through the walls of the building, and the weirdos going in there were something else. I really wanted to go in with them, since it didn't look like a place Miss Holt should go in. I couldn't keep my eyes open, though, and I nodded off again until they startled me awake. Now we had a pretty Mexican lady along for the ride.
The sun was not even up yet when we went back to where it all started - the bridge. I stopped right in the middle of the road while they got out and looked over the rail. Mr. Steele saw poor Hollis down there, but it took me a long time to find a way around to the ravine below.
Next thing I know I'm taking four people to a gun shop on Pacoima, and Miss Holt was banging on the poor owner's door. I don't think I would have been as helpful as that guy was at 7:00 on a Sunday morning. I've had enough of running back and forth to the Valley.
Later in the morning I dropped everyone off at the office and went home for a nap. It didn't last very long, though, because about 6 I was back at the office, taking Mr. Steele, Miss Holt, Mr. Michaels and his girlfriend back to the bank. I swung around the back to the construction area and they got to work.
That led to stress #4. Talk about being unable to control events around me! When I saw Miss Holt and Mr. Steele step on to that beam, I wanted to grab them and pull them off before they did something stupid. But before I could make up my mind to do it, they were on their way up.
When the crane's engine stalled and Miss Holt slipped, my heart stopped. There she was dangling 30 feet up, and all I could do was watch. I ran underneath the beam, as if that would help, and just stood there while she struggled. When Mr. Steele finally got a good grip on her hand and pulled her up, I started breathing again. I certainly wasn't prepared for that kind of scare. Once I saw they were safely on the roof, I sat in the car and tried to slow down my pounding heart. When the job was over, it was back to the office again.
By the time Monday morning came around, I was at the end of my rope. I had fallen asleep in the car again, parked in the short term spots, and I jumped when Mr. Steele opened the passenger door. He wanted me to take them to Rossmore.