Prose

Postmen’s Trail

23 July 2015

On a quiet suburban street dotted by too few trees, a pair of postmen ride along on electric bikes. The street is wide enough to allow two cars to pass with ease, so in riding side by side these two aren’t risking any trouble from the traffic.

“I’ve got mostly letters today, but some interesting shaped items as well,” shouts Gary to his comrade. The postmen always shout when they are riding.

“Must be your lucky day. My entire batch is letters and magazines. I don’t get even one chance for a signature,” replies Steve at the same volume.

“Have you ever gotten a signature from someone famous?”

“Hmm, I delivered to my dentist once. That was a good laugh, Gary! We talked about it at my next appointment. What about you?”

“It was a long time ago, so I can’t remember the name, but I got the signature of a weather presenter. I photocopied it and keep it in my room. Can’t read it though, it’s too squiggly.”

“I’ve always marveled at the accuracy of weather presenters’ hand gestures. They must have a very good memory.”

“Or a keen interest in geography. Maps and such. And meteorology of course. I’m sure I couldn’t do it.”

“Me neither,” laughs Gary.

At the turning of the street, Gary methodically mounts the footpath on the left for the odd numbered houses and Steve on the right. Their shouts are now even louder to maintain audibility. It is also another measure for their safety in approaching pedestrians; their presence on the sidewalk is inevitably noticed. Even on a moonless night (during which they’d never be doing the post service) Steve and Gary would be visible, owing to their spectacularly fluorescent high-visibility outfits.

“Gee Gary, look at number 18! Isn’t she a beauty?” questions Steve, quite honestly.

“Two-storeys and a garage! Exposed brick! That’s my kind of place,” responds Gary in a serious tone.

“I thought you had a two-storey house? You’ve certainly earned it.”

“I do. That’s why it’s my sort of house! Two-storeys or nothing for old Gary.”

“I guess we’re pretty old. Been delivering for a long time now. But come to think of it, every Tuesday morning doing the run with you has been all I could have hoped for.”

“And I wouldn’t change it for the world, my pal. However, for once can’t they give me the evens, I’m a right hander after all.”

“Most people are Gary. How long you been on odds?”

“I think it’s been three years now. I’ve only got half the samples on the neighbourhoods’ selection of garden hoses.”

“Why do you record those observations?”

“We’re a dry country. A household needs a good hose to keep the garden looking spick-and-span.”

“Why of course! The only thing you love as much as your two-storey house is that gorgeous garden out front.”

“Isn’t it a beauty?”

The one compromise of getting the evens on this particular street is that there is a dead end avenue that peels off about three quarters of the way down. Steve has to turn right down the avenue to deliver letters and magazines. The postmen exchange quick nods before continuing on their route.

“You never know,” screams Gary in a delayed burst, “when I deliver that big package I might get stalled at the doorstep, have a chat about hoses even. Then you might catch up to me.”

“In any case, I’ll see you at the office later on. Until then!”

“You betcha.”


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