Stan hated his job at the post office. He told his friends, his coworkers, his mother, and that girl he’d almost made it with last Friday night. For some reason, he didn’t tell his boss.
The problem was the boredom. Stan wanted to be lead guitarist in a band. “I would be The Next Big Thing,” he had told that girl. If she’d stuck around, he could have also told her about his plans: his band name, who would be begging to sing with him, and which girls would sleep with him after each show.
“Look,” Dave said in a somewhat muffled voice, after Stan spent the first part of their shift complaining, “Maybe you should publish some songs online, so people can hear your sound.”
Stan slid a package from the line and squinted at it. He felt sweaty wearing a mask and gloves. “Are you kidding? Then people would steal my ideas.”
Ian, from down the line, yelled out, “Stan -dude- do you have anything posted?”
Stan didn’t answer; just shoved the package harder than it needed to be toward Ian. Dave wiped a sleeve across his forehead and said something Stan couldn’t hear. “What??” Stan demanded.
“Nothin’.” Dave rolled a wad of advertisements and secured them with an elastic.
“I’ll bet I know,” Ian shouted. He’d shouted even before they all wore face masks. “I’ll bet he said you don’t got no songs! ‘Fact, I’ll bet he said you gotta learn guitar first!”
The room echoed in muffled laughter. Stan flushed.
Just then, a happy beeping sounded from beyond the receiving doors. They turned to see an old, white pickup truck pull up. Ron Richardson exited, sipping from a large drink. “Hiya, boys!”
Ian, Dave, and the others didn’t answer. Stan, however, never could resist. “Well, if it isn’t our friendly, neighborhood creeper! How are ya, contractee?”
Ron turned to Stan, his smile fixed. “‘Fraid I can’t really hear ya, Son.” He cleared his throat, then coughed a bit against a hand. “So! Where’s my load for the mornin’? I’m running behind after a meeting at the city.”
Stan pointed at a pile of bins and boxes behind Dave. No one moved to help him as the old man set his drink down and stooped to load a wheeled mail bin. The room remained silent as Ron filled and pushed the squeaking-wheeled bin to his pickup. And again. And again. The squeaking and his occasional cough were the only sounds in the large sorting room. After a half hour of work, he finished.
“See ya, Creeper!” Stan yelled at Ron’s retreating back on his last trip to the truck.
Ron didn’t answer. Maybe he couldn’t really hear. As the pickup chugged to life and pulled away, Stan yanked off his mask and gloves. The air felt cold and sweet. “Phew! That’s better!” Stuffing the safety apparatus into a back pocket, he walked down the line and grabbed at the edge of the wheeled bin to drag it back.
He had to push the bin from all different sides to reorient it, but Stan returned it back against the wall. “Lazy contractor,” he mumbled, looking at Ron’s forgotten Big Gulp and wiping at his mouth with his bare hand.
Continued at “Going Postal, VI.”
©2020 Chelsea Owens