Monday, May 30, 2016

Hello, Dolly!

Greetings, WYMOP readers!
I deliver the mail to the office park in town. It’s a whole bunch of businesses, and if their mail is too late they tend to call the office to ask what the hell is going on. Because my boss doesn’t like taking these calls, and because I try to give good service, the office park is scheduled quite early on my route. I drop off the mail and take any outgoing stuff the businesses may have.
Boxes 1.jpgThere is one gentleman out there—for the purposes of today’s blog, I’ll call him “the gentleman”—who occasionally leaves his hallway filled with boxes and things for me to take as outgoing mail. That early in the day I usually can’t take them with me because my truck is still full of, well, the mail, so I call for a pickup—someone else comes out to bring the gentleman’s stuff to the post office for me.
This past Thursday, though, there wasn’t a whole lot of mail, and when I saw the stuff he’d left out I figured I had room. I grabbed one of the bigger boxes and hiked out to my truck. And I do mean hiked. From the parking lot to their door is about a 40-yard jaunt along a paved walkway, and from the look of what was in the hall it was going to take four trips. That’s okay, I thought as I slid the first box into my cargo area. I get paid to walk. Besided, this is good for me.
Dolly transparancy.jpgWhen I got back to the hallway there was a new addition to the scene: a red 2-wheeled dolly stood beside the stacks of stuff. I took a quick look at the stacks, determined that, what with the size and shapes of what was left, the dolly wasn’t going to save me any trips—thus no time—and grabbed the other big box. As I swung it to my shoulder a voice came through the open office door.
“I left you the two-wheeler, right there!”
“Thanks,” I called back. “But I think I’m good.”
Eighty yards and a second parcel in the truck later, I was back in the hall. I scooped up the three smaller boxes, all in a stack, and butt-bumped the door open so I could back out.
“The two-wheeler is right there,” called the voice. “I put it out there.”
“I see it,” I replied, a little louder this time, thinking he hadn’t heard my first response. “Thank you, but I don’t think I need it.”
Forty yards, three boxes in the truck, forty more yards, and I was back in the hall. All I had left was a pair of shrink-wrapped bundles, one with, basically, two 6-foot rake handles in it, the other with three: tall, skinny things with not a lot of weight to them. I grabbed them, turned toward the door—and the gentleman appeared like the he was an animated leprechaun and the children were threatening his Lucky Charms. He put a hand on the dolly and gazed at me with a sad expression, but curiously blank eyes.
“I left you the two-wheeler.” His voice seemed worried, too. No, maybe not worried. Baffled?
“I saw that,” I said. “Thanks.”
“But you didn’t use it,” he said.
“I know,” I said. “I didn’t need it. Thanks.”
“But the other guys use it.”
“ . . . Okay . . . but I’m not the other guys.”
The conversation was taking on a somewhat Twilight Zone feel, and the blank look in his eyes had me wondering if he was about to peel off his human mask and start telling me about the mother ship and their invasion plan.
“All the other guys use it.”
“I’m still not the other guys,” I said, moving toward the door. To be perfectly honest, the guy was weirding me out a bit: he had that flat, emotionless stare, though his tone and posture said he was actually hurt that I hadn’t used his dolly.
“But”—he picked the dolly up and sort of waggled it at me—”aren’t you going to use it?”
That stopped me. I held up the tall, skinny bundles—skinny enough that I could just wrap a hand about each one—and said “For these? I don’t even know how I’d use a dolly for these.”
“No,” he said, as if I was just being silly now, then dialed his voice down to that sort of wonder-filled convincing tone usually reserved for televangelists right before they flash the number across the screen so you can donate from the comfort of your easy chair. “For the boxes. Don’t you want to use it for the boxes?
I looked around at the now-empty hallway. “You mean the boxes that are already in the truck?”
His blank eyes also took in the empty hallway, and his shoulders slumped as he apparently saw the logical fault in his argument. By the time he looked my way again, though, the hallway truly was empty, my “Have a nice day!” floating back to him through the slowly closing door. I was ten yards down the path and gaining speed, just wanting to get in my truck . . . and also, yes, wanting to get away from the creepy box guy—and also yes, for the purposes of today’s blog I’m changing his name to the creepy box guy.
Anyway, that was Thursday. And after Thursday comes . . . Friday.
Boxes 2.jpgDolly transparancy.jpgFriday morning I had even less mail in the truck, which was good, because there were even more boxes waiting in that hallway . . . along with the red, two-wheeled dolly.
Eschewing the dolly once more—I was actually rather frightened to use it by then—I scooped up some boxes and started the forty-yard-ferrying process. Though I never looked directly through the open office door (some species take eye contact as a sign of aggression), I was very aware, via my peripheral vision, of the creepy box guy watching me. He didn’t come out to talk this time, didn’t even shout through the door. But he also didn’t work the whole time. Having placed a chair where he could keep an eye on me and his dolly, I caught corner-of-the-eye glimpses of him as I moved in and out of the hallway, sitting there, silently staring at me.

No. Not staring. Glaring.       eyes2.jpg

It’s the weekend now, and I’ve not been back out there yet. I’m good with that. I’m not looking forward to it. But because I will be going back out there, I’ve decided to write the following:
To Whom it May Concern—
If someday I fail to return from my route, or otherwise go missing, please ask my office to check with the creepy box guy. Tell them to specifically check his closets, as they’ll probably find what’s left of me hanging in a garment bag, sewn into a mailman suit for CBG to wear to costume parties.
Thank you.


So . . . uh . . . talk to you later? I hope?

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