Ron was just your average sort of guy: tallish, wideish, oldish, kindish. He drove his reliable old pickup with the reliable old hardtop around the neighborhood every day; often, he drove around several times a day.
Some of the residents talked to Ron. Most did not. Most didn’t notice him or his truck, despite its nearly always being full to bursting with their latest Amazon packages and Domino’s pizza coupons.
One day, Mrs. Hempsworth happened on Ron at the exact moment she went to retrieve her mail. Startled, she supposed she ought to make small talk. “Oh. Um. Hello.”
Ron didn’t look up from sorting his elasticized mail bundles into various slots, yet his voice sounded cheery. “Howdy.”
Mrs. Hempsworth didn’t know what else to comment on, and cast about for a subject. Her eyes fell on his overstuffed vehicle. “Lots of packages.”
Ron stopped his shuffling and turned her direction. His pale blue eyes met her paint-lined browns. His gaze shifted to his truckload. Back to her. He blinked, surprised. “Yes.”
“Erm,” Mrs. Hempsworth fumbled. “Does it take you a while to deliver them all?”
Another blink. “Yes.”
“Oh.” She paused, out of her depth.
Ron helped. “‘Course, it’s been worse lately.”
Now she blinked. “Oh?”
“Yep.” Ron went back to sorting. “Everyone’s been orderin’ toilet paper off Amazon. It takes up too much space.”
She blushed, but the mail carrier’s white whispy hair was bent over a bin. He straightened, proferring a medium-sized package that weighed less than it appeared. Charmin was printed across the top.
She nodded and accepted her delivery without her realizing it. The man closed up the community mailbox, locked it with a key, picked up his empty bin, and headed back to his truck. “See ya,” he called, without looking back.
Mrs. Hempsworth watched the battered pickup drive away, the shifting packages within it sliding against the open windows of the hardtop. She clutched her toilet paper to her chest in a paranoid gesture, then relaxed. What did it matter that the mail carrier knew about her orders? It was his job, after all…
Continued at “Going Postal, II.”
©2020 Chelsea Owens