He turned off Belcher, then slowed and turned on Collier. The street ran north and fronted the warehouses that stored goods from the ships being serviced at the docks. The pace on the docks and warehouses was frantic. It looked to Charlie like a ant nest that had been kicked open. Cranes were moving cargo off the freighters in large pallets. Another freighter was sliding containers down a ramp to waiting eighteen wheel tractor-trailer flatbeds. The line of trucks stretched over a quarter mile by his estimate.
He looked back forward just in time to avoid drifting into the curb at forty miles and hour. He over-corrected and moved into the oncoming lane. He grunted as he planted his foot and shifted back into the proper lane. I gotta pay more attention. I can handle a wipeout, but not a oncoming car. Where is the turnoff to the dockyard? Charlie’s thought was answered a moment later as the road ended at a ‘T’ intersection. He slowed then slewed right, skidding on the loose gravel, then straightened out, slowing to avoid a tumble, and approached the gate. The gate was a railroad crossing re-purposed to be a traffic control. It was currently down as the gate guard was checking the papers on a white and blue UPS truck.
The outbound lane had a tractor trailer slowly moving forward to leave the docks. At his speed he’d bee there before the truck could clear the gate, and with four others behind it, there was no way to use the oncoming lane to bypass the guard. ‘Skid’ slowed as he approached the gate, raising his hand to his pullover mask to make certain it was still in place. The heavyset gate guard stopped talking as the bright red and blue stocky superhero trotted up to the gate.
“Whatta ya want, uh, kid? I’m kinda busy here”, the guard said with a surprisingly soft voice. ‘Skid’ took a moment to realize that the guard was a woman. He could feel himself blush as he tried to sound authoritative.
“Sorry, ma’am. I’d heard that some stuff was stolen last night. I came by to look the, uh, scene over and see if there is something that, umm, would help find the crooks.” He tried to puff his chest out, and got the mental image of a cartoon mouse trying to look tough while facing a cat. The man the guard was talking to had also turned to look over at ‘Skid’, then turned back the guard with a small chuckle, making Charlie blush even redder.
“I suppose I could let you look around. Heck, seeing you prowling might make them guys with sticky fingers decide not to try anything if a costume’s poking around.” She pressed a button, raising the gate, then waved her clipboard at ‘Skid’. “G’wan through. Place that got hit’s on the north side up there.” ‘Skid’ nodded, then trotted around the van, accelerating back to a somewhat leisurely thirty miles an hour. He slowed again as he dodged a swarm of fork lifts moving pallets of crates and boxes to the white concrete warehouse to his left. The traffic was incessant, with two men shouting orders to the stream of men, and equipment coming from a docked freighter. The noise was near deafening and ‘Skid’ dodged awkwardly between the moving vehicles and people.