Chapter 42: The Undeliverable Express
Original Translations: Crafted with Care, No Unauthorized Reposting Allowed.
You are a new courier, working on both sides of Science Education Road in the High Tech area.
Today is your first day away from your 'master', trying to deliver alone.
You are not a local, you came to the city after the army, you are not used to the 9 to 5 life, you want to work freely, so you choose to work as a courier.
In the process of learning the environment by following the "master" route, you are confident that you are already familiar with your area of work and know every building in your area by heart.
Your neighborhood, Science Education Road, is one of the first developments in the Hi-Tech district and most of the houses are very old, with no lift, no property, no security room and is a nightmare for every courier.
But you're not afraid, you're a veteran, you think you're the best at suffering, you think you'll make it to the end.
Early in the morning, you set off with your delivery waiting to be delivered and start delivering from north to south, one by one.
On the way, you pass a breakfast stall and buy some pancakes for breakfast, but after the delivery truck drives out, you find a homeless old man on the side of the road, so you get out of the car and give the pancakes to the old man.
This leads directly to your dizzying climb up the stairs later on, as many people won't agree to leave the delivery at the door or in the security room and have to have it delivered to their house.
And most of those who do not want to go downstairs live on high floors.
You consider that it is your first day on the job alone and you must not receive a complaint call, so you grit your teeth and deliver several more.
A family on the top floor is having breakfast when you deliver it, and your stomach growls at the sight of the table full of buns and the smell of meat at the end of your nose.
The chubby kid in this family laughs after hearing your tummy rumble, and just as you're embarrassed about it, you see the chubby kid dart up to the table, grab a big bun and come towards you.
But the very next moment, the hostess, who has already signed off, closes the door in front of you.
So you decide to wait and go and buy some meat buns.
You get your meat buns at the entrance of the nearby farmers' market and the moment you eat them, you enjoy them so much that you want to cry.
Oooohhhh, that smells good.
It's after eleven when you get your bun, and you're not sure whether it's "early lunch" or "early lunch", but in any case, you shouldn't have to eat for lunch, so you can focus more on your delivery business.
You start riding your delivery bike to the Seventh Street Apartments, known as "the street of programmers".
This area is home to programmers who work in nearby technology companies, and is also a key delivery and collection area for couriers in this area. It is one of the better flat areas, with properties and lifts, and can also temporarily store couriers.
The bad thing is that the security guards and property owners of these flats always treat you as suspicious characters. Every time the courier cannot just go in, he has to squat in a small storage room and register with the property owner one by one which family's delivery is for which household and to whom, and he has to leave the name and phone number of the courier company.
Each delivery takes five minutes and registration takes half an hour.
The property master sees that you are a new face and interrogates you for half a day like catching a thief, and takes a picture of your work permit before greeting you inside to take notes.
You pant and puff for a few minutes, writing until your hands are sore, and finally finish registering and calculating all the courier pieces and start sorting and calling the owners who receive them.
Some people say they know and tell you to leave it in the security room.
Some people said that things were too valuable to be left in the security room and asked to come back in the afternoon to deliver them.
Some simply don't get through.
You leave the deliverable ones, yard them to the side of the property room, take the undeliverable ones with you and start delivering to the next block.
At 2pm, you have finally finished delivering most of the deliveries in the district, when your "master" calls you and tells you to go back to the delivery point immediately and sort out a new batch of deliveries, which you need to deliver in the afternoon.
Your courier company requires a two-hour delivery, so you make another trip back to the business location in your courier van.
While helping to load the truck, you hear a few colleagues chatting in whispers.
They said that the community here began to install a temporary storage of courier cabinets, as long as the SMS code can send and receive courier, and after the popularity of such cabinets, the company will certainly have to lay off a large number of employees, the commission income from the collection of items will also become less.
Afraid of losing your job, you're too worried to take a sip of water, load up a new delivery and start going out again to deliver the goods.
There are more deliveries in the afternoon, your phone is calling until it runs out of battery, and there's someone who can't stop complaining to you about you waking him/her up for a nap.
You endure the aggression, accept the criticism and ask him/them to come downstairs to pick up the delivery.
Finally, it's your turn to deliver a delivery that shows "Xiao Heyun" as the recipient.
This is a courier that you place with special care, as it is written on the box "Valuable item, take it lightly, open the box in person and take it if it is correct".
The information indicates that it contained valuable digital goods, or a delivery copy.
You dial Mr Xiao Heyun's number, only to find that there is no answer.
This is one of the most frightening situations for couriers, even if no one picks up the delivery, or a valuable item, you must always be careful not to bump into it.
After you have delivered the rest of the deliveries in this neighbourhood, you call this Xiao Heyun's number again, but there is still no answer.
At this point you are sure that the delivery is unlikely to be immediate, so you head off with a message to Mr Xiao Heyun, hoping he will contact you when he sees it, and take the delivery with you.
When it's time to leave work and you've finished your delivery for the day, you're tired as a dog.
You start to think it would be nice to have one of those storage cabinets, at least you wouldn't wear out a pair of shoes every half a month.
Provided, of course, that you are not among those who have been made redundant.
On your way back, you see a news story about a bus crash being shown on a big screen outside the mall.
In the afternoon near the city's Cross River Bridge, a major traffic accident in which a bus exploded after hitting a tanker truck, resulting in heavy casualties, was tragically reported.
You bemoan the horrible traffic conditions nowadays, are glad that you are not in charge of that area and drive the delivery truck back to your business location.
After handing over the day's work it was already 8pm and the master was angry that you did not continue to call Mr "Xiao Heyun" and deliver the delivery, he was concerned that the delivery point could not say if the valuables inside were damaged in the meantime.
You have been delivering alone all day and are now feeling tired. After promising that you will be personally responsible for any damage to Mr. Xiao's express, the master lets you go home from work.
You ate a casual bowl of beef noodles outside, went back to your rented basement, washed up briefly and slept through the night.
At 6am the next morning, you are refreshed and full of energy, washed up and ready to go to work.
This time, you've finished your breakfast early before arriving at work, ready to receive the parcels that have been sorted to you today.
As you enter, you hear Mr. Wang, who is squatting outside smoking, on the phone, worrying about whether his daughter should apply for Tsinghua University or Peking University.
You think Mr. Wang must have been driven mad by his daughter's entrance exams, because yesterday when you were at work, Mr. Wang was crouched in the doorway like this, fretting about the exact same problem.
You came into the company and the master was very happy to see you come so early.
"Good, that's how motivated you are for your first day of independent work after your internship!"
You are stunned, indicating that you have done it alone all day yesterday.
As a result, you see the Master withdraw the expression of appreciation he had just given you.
"Ah, so the lad is still awake?"
He says to you, "Do you want to go and wash your face?"
You are directed in a daze to the bathroom to wash your face and see on the wall opposite the bathroom a public notice of the tasks assigned and completed for the month.
After the name belonging to you " Song Bodao ", the number of courier completions for the month is shown as 0.
You are furious and run out to argue with the team leader because you have already completed the one hundred and fifty daily deliveries stipulated by the newcomer yesterday and the number of deliveries completed this month should not be zero.
Your team leader coldly pulls out the scheduling book that recorded your work yesterday and throws it in front of you.
"The work you did under your master during your internship doesn't count as performance, today is only your first official day, where did you get the 150 pieces?"
You have taken the dispatch book, which registers your last work entry as the day before yesterday, and the entire day yesterday, including the two returns to the point for pick-up, is missing.
At first you were very angry and you felt that they were bullying the newcomers.
But you notice that your master and your colleagues, again, have no record of yesterday.
You begin to feel that something is wrong.
Your team leader sees that you're not talking, just turning over, and reminds you that it's time to go to work, so if you still want this job, go and load the truck and get ready to go.
You hold back your inner turmoil and work with the master to load the car for today's delivery.
You start to get more and more scared when you see the name on the delivery.
You remember the owner of this "Hundred Flowers" neighbourhood, you remember the man with the chubby little baby at home, and you remember the smell of his buns.
You remember the owner of this "Dahu Xincun" neighbourhood, who lived on the 7th floor, and when you climbed upstairs, he would not open the door for you, and made you wait outside for 5 or 6 minutes.
You frantically look through today's allocated deliveries and find that most of them are deliveries that have already been delivered yesterday, the one you were most worried about for Mr. Xiao Heyun is not among them as it was a delivery that was picked up at noon.
You take a step back, disoriented, and pull out the date on your phone to look at it.
This is not today's date, but yesterday's date.
Refusing to believe it, you dart to the dispatcher's computer, check the system date in the bottom right corner and find that the time displayed is still yesterday's.
"Little Song, what are you doing?"
Your colleagues at the courier point thought you were strange, and your master even grabbed you with one hand.
"What's all this scurrying about if you're not working?!"
You look at your master and your mind is a mess of wool.
At this point, you have two options before you.
Take time off to go out and be quiet, or continue with your delivery.
The author has something to say: Originally I envisioned "The bus that never arrives" in the first person and "The courier that can't deliver" in the second person, but the first person is broken and I won't change the second person for anyone who says so.
Why did I do it, you ask?
I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
I've seen a lot of concern from readers about whether I'm writing this because I care what readers think, and my answer is, no. If I were to cater to the market, my writing would not be so "weird", I would not have old ladies who pissed themselves like men's Hua Mulan, and I would not have to write a book when I have already established a foundation in ancient fiction, and then abandon my own martial arts skills and run away to write realistic, suspenseful and workplace stories. I wouldn't have to write realistic, suspenseful or workplace stories.
All of my writing will be written because I want to write that way. I wanted to try all sorts of genres, all sorts of possibilities, to see where my limits were.