Monday, September 19, 2005

Stalking first class

It was a dark and stormy night.
No. It was a muggy and fuzzy morning.
Yeah. That’s more like it…..It was a morning not unlike the weather scene in Psycho when the girl-on-the-run pulls into the motel and gazes up at the house on the hill where, unbeknownst to her a lone skeleton rocks the day away.

Even Church ladies need time to breathe and regroup from the frazzle and dazzle of Fall planning, and my time had come. The week had spun faster than a kid on chocolate, and there were stacks of plates on poles filling my office, too many to balance, so I decided to take a short escape and steal away for a couple of days. I tied up the loose ends the best I could, and called Churchlady Temps, that infamous agency that hires only the best of the best. They sent their number one chick right over, and I was off.

I met up with two other escapees, and we hit the road. About twenty minutes into the trip, I was stricken by a horrid thought. I had not cleaned out my PO box that morning. I did go the night before, but, gosh, that was nearly 12 hours ago. What would Frank say? Frank, the impatient postal person. Frank, first cousin to Jaws (the metal-mouthed angry assassin from 007 movies). Oh, good grief. Should I turn back? I was torn.

Had it not been for my two devoted friends restraining me via multi-seat belt to the seat, I would have leaped from the window and rolled my way back home to take care of that important detail. Oh. Oh, woah. I couldn’t bear to think what may be awaiting my return if I failed to clear out that box in a timely fashion. Nevertheless, the farther we went into the trip, the better I felt.

An hour and two counties later, I decided that it was certainly not wise to u-turn for the sake of a silly little post office box clean out. It could wait until my return in 72 hours. Surely, it could.

We decided to make a pit stop in a nearby McD’s for coffee. I entered the restaurant and waited for my two friends to order. Then I noticed the hairs on the back of my neck. They were standing up, and had started to vibrate. I felt my neck stiffen. My feet felt like lead. I was frozen in the early morning chaos of a highway fast food restaurant. What was THAT about?

Something drew my attention away from the cash register, and a bright blue baseball hat bill leaped into my vision. SIEZE THE DAY was written in glow- in- the- dark- lime . Gray-rimmed tri-focals peeked out from underneath the oversized hat awning. I knew those eyes. I knew them well. Those were the eyes that bore holes into the back of my head every time I visited the Post Office. Those were the eyes of Frank. “What are You doing HERE?” he fussed.

“I’m I- I- I’m going out of town” I stammered.
“What? THAT way?” He pointed toward the open road out of town. My voice trembled “Yes” while my head shook a resounding NO.

He picked up a sugar packet and popped it in his mouth. “Wow” I thought to myself. He eats it paper and all. Wow.
“Shouldn’t you be going the OTHER way?” Sugar crystals spit out across the floor when he spoke.
“ Uh, I think we’re following a map, uh, we’re going that way, I think it’s right.”

Where were my friends? Where did they disappear to?

He tipped the bill of his hat so that I could clearly see the large print. He reached up and pulled out a small wet ball of paper from his mouth. I watched in horror as he rolled it into a super spit ball and sat aghast as he threw it straight up. I was afraid to follow its path, but couldn’t resist the urge. When I looked up, I noticed that the ceiling I had thought was splattered with stucco was really covered with spit balls. I guess Frank frequented this place often-I guessed that he was a regular.

His voice pulled my attention his way. “You got that PO box cleaned out, little lady? You keepin’ it neat?” He shook his head, pulled off his hat and replaced it tenderly on his head of gray hair. “Yeah, I didn’t think so.” And then he was gone. It was then I knew.

It was then I realized that Frank would plague me as long as I worked behind the door called Church Secretary. There was clearly no escape. Miles couldn't protect me, nor county distance. That moment was a life altering spec of time. I crushed the empty paper cup I held and lifted it up to the spitball audience. “With God as my witness, I will keep my post office box from overflowing. I’ll never be trayed again.”

“So, are you ready? Or do you want to stay a little longer and maybe sing a song while you stand there?” The familiar voice of one of my traveling friends broke my concentration. “Uh, no, I’m ready. Let me just throw this cup away is all.” And we were off.

The present can exhaust us, the Future draws us ever forward, the past is powerful but I say with great intention, friend, Never underestimate the power of the Post.


Leslee said...

LMAO! I'm so glad I don't have a postman that haunts me!

Anonymous said...

i so enjoyed your writing! i came here from craigs list. too funny!