We circle around to the tea shack. I sit down in a chair and zip open my backpack.
"Do you mind if I stash these magazines at your place today? I don't want to go home today. J has that shoot with the celebrity and so we all have to be out of the way. He likes to make it look like he lives there alone. I have a place to stay... I just don't want to be carrying a box of illegal magazines around the city."
"Yeah, it's cool. I want to go home before my last couple deliveries anyway." I pull out the plastic box containing the cassette tape. There is a paper card inside that is folded to display the name through the plastic case. It's a purplish blue and there's a photo of a woman wearing a silvery blue dress with a spotlight behind her. The text above and below the photo says "PORTISHEAD" and "DUMMY." On the back, the card lists the names of the tracks split into "Side A" and "Side B." There is a barcode and a comapny logo of a globe.
The plastic box opens on a hinge and the cassette tape rests flat against one side. The cassette is made of clear plastic with a smokey grey rectangle in the middle framing the white paint printed on it. There are two holes in the middle, and one has a circle of black around it. There is tape running across the bottom. I touch it and it feels so delicate. I shove it back into the box and close it. I hope I didn't ruin it by touching it. I wonder if I could listen to it somehow, just to check.
"You think it's any good?" Lime asks, looking over my shoulder at the cassette. Her long blue braids fall over my shoulder in front of me. I look at her. She is grinning and her eyes are sparkling. "1994. Decent year. Music was changing a lot back then. We should try to listen to it."
"I'm sure the buyer would love to invite us in to hear it." I laugh. "I bet they can tell us all about it."
Lime sucks air through her teeth. "I'd rather not subject myself to that." We have, unfortunately, been in that situation a few too many times. Buyers think that just because you are delivering this thing to them, that you are interested in it. Or maybe it's just that, because it's illegal, they don't have a lot of people to talk to about it.
"Mix might know how we can play it," I suggest. "Let's just go to my place first."
We head off together. Lime is slowed a bit by her crate of magazines. We stop to rest and she stretches her arms. I offer to carry the crate for a while but I secretly hope she refuses. She takes me up on my offer. By the time we get to my building, my arms are shaking. We slam into the elevator like zombies and I drop the crate on to the floor. I rub my arms, and look over at Lime's strong shoulders and back.
"Why the hell am I carrying this thing for you?" I exclaim. "You're the one with the strong top-body!"
"I didn't ask you to carry it, geez," she mumbles as she pickes up the crate. She carries it to my room and flings it upside down on my bed. The black cat mrows and slithers out of under the mountain of stuff. I rummage around in my drawer for some magnesium to rub into my arms.