Saturday, 10 December 2011

93) In the post

     I knew the wind whipping snow around me ruined any sense of direction. I had taken a bearing that morning on the second day of my journey, but I was sure I needed to take another. I pulled out my gps, I had been going more than ninety degrees and several hundred yards off. I reoriented and continued on my way through the frozen wasteland.
    I had set off from my small town in the middle of nowhere with a postcard, the first mail in months. A cartoon turtle on one side said ‘Visit Sunny Florida’ and on the other side was a set of very accurate coordinates. Very inconvenient coordinates. Our long distance post man, Gerald McManus, was out with the flu so it fell to me to trek a hundred miles into the wilderness.
    No matter how antisocial you think you can be there’s someone who’s taken it the tenth power, and they all live up here. They’re separated from each other by miles of frozen tundra in the fall and winter and spring, and miles of mosquito infested bogs in the summer.
    To celebrate the fact that I’d made it halfway I noshed on some jerked beef and sipped some skin temperature water even though it wasn’t lunch time.
    The next thing I remember I was coming to in a plush recliner in front of a fire. All of me was warm and I never wanted to see snow again. That life was a farce, this life in front of the fire was all there needed to be.
    Then I remembered my job and checked my pocket. The postcard was gone. My heart sank, I’d be fired or worse I’d have to come back up here again. I sunk further into the chair and shivvered as something cold and wet ran down my neck. I followed the trail up and pulled the ice pack away from my head. I touched the spot where it had been resting and yelped a little as I touched the big knot on my head.
    A tinny voice buzzed from the side of the room, “I’m sorry if my assistant was a little too enthusiastic, young man. Sometimes he doesn’t know his own strength.”
    I turned my head towards the voice, but couldn’t see anything but a wall of books.
    A bolt of pain shot through my side and up my neck. I kept from yelling out that time. I said, “Who’s there?”
    “I am Doctor Henry Latch Esq. You are now talking to me through remote microphone. I am several miles away on business in sunnier climes. My assistant Henry was tasked with surveying the perimeter of my summer home to keep a look out for deliveries or spies. And, yes, I did take that post card from you as I am its intended recipient. And I apologize, but now that you’re in my house I cannot allow you to leave.  I should be there in a few months. I can talk to you later about your personal effects. Otherwise, please, make yourself at home.”

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