East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

The case of the missing parcel


You remember the bit about sharing the funny and surreal bits of the everyday life of a freelance writer, in order to captivate the audience and, in theory, sell more books and get more Patreon supporters?

Well, try this one for size…

A few months back I translated a short essay in narrative form, about time travel and politics, The Political Travails of Time Travel, by Tamil writer and poet Gouthama Siddarthan. It was a fun job, and I enjoyed it greatly. The book in question was published – in a number of different languages – and is having a well-deserved success, and you might want to check it out.

The author was so nice he sent me a bunch of copies of the printed work. Here is where the funny and surreal bit begins.

Because on the tenth of this month the postman came, carrying the packet, and finding nobody home – which is in itself a nice mystery because we were both here, me and my brother – left a communication for us to go and retrieve the package at the post office.
But the postman did not leave the communication in our mailbox.
No, he dropped it into an old and unused mailbox by our neighbour’s gate.

Now this mailbox has been abandoned for so long, wild birds make their nest in it – which would be all right were it not for benighted postmen dropping stuff in.
So the slot in the mailbox was closed with a piece of cardboard, held in place on the inside by a liberal application of duct tape.
There is also a notice – a bit washed out but still readable – reading DON’T USE – BIRDS INSIDE.

But postmen are not to be deterred, so our postman happily punched through the cardboard, in order to drop in the wrong post box a notice about a parcel waiting in the post office.

But as luck would have it, my brother yesterday (four days after the event) noticed in passing the punched out cardboard, and decided to check out.
So we now have to go to the post office to retrieve the parcel.

But, of course, the post office here in Castelnuovo Belbo closed for renovation – because let’s admit it, what better time to close the post office than the Christmas period? Who could ever need to use the post office in these days, right?

So now if we want to send packages or pay our power and telephone bills, or indeed retrieve a package left on hold, we have to go no less than four miles from here. Which is really nothing, of course – if you have a car.
But we don’t have a car.
Which, incidentally, is the reason why we were at home when the postman came and said we were not.

And not having a car means asking for a lift, or more simply asking somebody to pick the parcel while they drive by.
And they can do it, they can pick up your pack. 
All you have to do is give them

  • The notice.
  • A paper giving them power of attorney to retrieve your parcel.
  • A copy of your ID card, or the original.

And the attorney thing must be done anyway, even if it’s my brother that picks up the parcel.

How incredibly funny and surreal, what?
Please read my books, or support me on Patreon.

(hmm… for some reason I don’t believe this is going to work like they told me it would… maybe if I drew it like a funny cartoon…)

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “The case of the missing parcel

  1. I used to have the same problem with my postman, that semmed to love leaving communications instead of parcels. I went to the central office and asked to talk to the manager. He was very polite (so was I) and sorry for the inconvenient, that happend a lot of times, as I explained.
    After that the parcels started to arrive regularly.


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