Eventually a second slip, blue this time, arrived. "We still have your oversize package", was the jist of the message. Emmett imagined weary postal workers still holding a huge box in their arms. Driving his car at a slow, deliberate pace, he wondered whether he would be disappointed with the contents of the delivery after such anticipation.

The lady behind the counter wore a dress the same colour as the Late Notice, as she called it. She watched suspiciously as he signed his name, then tottered to the back room to retrieve the unwanted package. She returned holding a small brown parcel, "Too small.", thought Emmett, "Not mine." But it was very much his now as the blue lady silently handed it to him, pointing to the address as if to dispel the doubt which must have showed on his face.

He left it in the back seat as he drove home. Usually Emmett would be home at this time of day, congratulating himself on aqcuiring a job which allowed him to leave the office at four p.m. and beat the intolerable rush hour traffic in a city where the vehicles outnumbered people 2 to 1. There was no escape now, so he resigned himself to the inevitable two-hour journey, most of which progressed a meter at a time. Two hours seemed much longer. Red light. The parcel was partially visible in the rearview mirror. He knew there was really no point in playing this silly game of mystery with himself, but the stereo in his car was broken, always had been. Opening the window was out of the question. This guessing game was the only diversion in his cramped, cracker-box car during that two-hour drive. Green light, go.

By the time he arrived home he had flipped through his personal yellow pages of memory and found no answers. Friends? None. None that wrap brown paper packages with yellow string tied in a neat bow. There was always family, but that was impossible. No one knew where he lived.

He sat down on the only visible chair next to the TV and looked around him. Scissors. The disorder of Emmett's living room was the sort for which the only method he had of finding anything was to keep a 3-D map in his mind of everything piled from the floor up. Then when a certain object needed retrieval, say, TV remote (smooth, rectangle) or missing grey sock (furry, small) he'd picture it, catch his breath and dive belly and fists first till his experienced fingers snagged on a possible target. Years of practice had enabled Emmett to find even missing buttons in the dark and he took a certain pride in this. Scissors. (hard, cool) Breathe, dive.


to be continued...

1 Comment:

  1. Carlos said...
    Please untie the package… we want to know the contents.

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