As I sat down in the seat of my car, I heard a crumpling sound. I reached under my butt and pulled out a slip of paper.
I had forgotten about this – it’s reminding me to pick up a package at the post office. It required a signature. No idea what this is – I haven’t ordered anything from Amazon or another online retailer lately, but I think I can take care of this and make it to the doctor on time.
The line at the post office moved along slowly. This was taking longer than I expected, and I nervously checked my watch. I didn’t want to be late for my appointment with Dr. Maddox; he might make me reschedule.
Finally I was next in line. After milling around for a few minutes, the man behind the counter at the post office motioned for me to come forward. The patch sewn to his shirt read ‘Ed’.
“This slip was left in my door. It says I have a package waiting.”
I held out the yellow slip of paper and Ed took it, raising it to within inches of his glasses. He looked it over for at least a minute before moving slowly to a back room and out of sight. He eventually emerged with a small package. He pushed a form across the counter to me.
I looked it over. “So… where do I sign?”
Ed pointed in the direction of the bottom of the page and said, “There, in the box.”
“Right!” I agreed, signing it quickly and handing it back to Ed.
“That’s it,” Ed said, handing me the package and then returning his attention to his portion of the paperwork.
It was a small package wrapped in heavy brown paper. The wrapping was fastened with tape that had turned yellow with age. I took it and looked at the label. Odd. It was apparently mailed almost sixteen years ago, but had instructions that said it was not to be delivered until this month.
“Delivered at 1:52pm,” said Ed recording the time and date on the form.
I looked up from the package. “What did you say?”
“The time. 1:52pm,” said Ed pointing to the form.
I looked at my watch nervously. I was going to be late. I shoved the package in my jacket pocket and hurried out to my car.
I made it to the doctor’s office at 2:05. Not too late. The woman at the front desk slid a square clipboard under the Plexiglas window and I took it.
“Fill out all three pages and sign in the box.”
I looked over the paper work.
“Excuse me, but I filled this out last time I was here.”
“You have to fill out a new one every time so that we’re current.”
She said this without looking away from her computer.
“Look, it was just last week. I had some tests done. I’m just here to get the results.”
“You have to fill a new one out every time.” She spoke more slowly and deliberately now. She glanced at me as if maybe I had a learning disorder and hadn’t understood her the first time. “So that we’re current,” She added.
When I started to say something else, she added, “No exceptions.”
My headache was throbbing and I surrendered. I sat down in the waiting room and filled out the forms. Again.
Life in Sixty-Four Square Feet
©Copyright 2015, Mitch Lavender
Rubik’s Cube® used by permission of Rubiks Brand Ltd. www.rubiks.com
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, dead or undead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.