by Mark Lyons
Image by gabicuz from Pixabay
“If I put on my gray hoodie, put up the hood, duck down real low, and run as fast as I can, I think I can make it to the mailbox,” whispers Mark as he peers cautiously through the peephole in his front door. He backs away from the peephole and makes a few notations on a yellow legal pad.
After a few more minutes of contemplation, Mark adds more to his original assessment. “If I throw in some zig-zags and flail my arms over my head, that should be enough to keep me safe.”
“Honey, what are you doing?” asks Sally.
“Uh, I’m, uh, I’m getting ready to go get the mail,” replies Mark from keep inside of his hoodie.
“I thought you had done that already,” says Sally. “You said you were going to get it over an hour ago.”
“I had to get ready,” answers Mark, pulling back the hood revealing his face. His cheeks are covered with dark shoe polish like when football or baseball players put dark stuff on their cheeks to keep the glare of the sun from getting in their eyes.
“What do you have on your face?” asks Sally.
“It’s shoe polish,” says Mark. “I’m trying out for the Texas Rangers baseball team? I’m getting ready to drive in Austin traffic? I’m trying to be invisible so that the bad bird in the nest over the front door does not dive bomb me when I go to get the mail?”
“What?” asks Sally.
“Every time I go out to get the mail, the bird attacks me!” moans Mark. “It’s going for my jugular! I’m sure of it! I think it’s the same bird that flew out of our flue and tried to get me then. Pretty sure. You know, wings, feathers, a beak. Pretty sure! In fact, I think there’s a whole pack of them! What do you call a bunch of birds like that? Is it a herd? A flock? A parcel? A murder? That’s it! It’s called a murder!”
“Do you want me to get the mail?” asks Sally.
“No, no. I’ll do it,” says Mark. “I’ll get the mail. You know neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
“That’s for the mail to be delivered, not for you to get it,” says Sally.
“Same difference,” replies Mark as he checks over his legal pad. “Maybe I should build a tunnel from the garage out to the mailbox. I saw the Great Escape five times. If I work at night, carry the excavated dirt out in long bags sewed into my trousers, release it as I walk through the backyard by pulling on a string that opens the bags secretly, and do it so that no one notices, I can be done with the tunnel in, let’s see ……. doing the math……carry the one……and divide by the square root of the hypothenuse…… about 16 months. Sounds good! What do you think, Honey?”
“Let me just get the mail!” says Sally as she opens the front door and heads out, untouched, to the mailbox.
“Honey, look out for the bird(s)!” yells Mark as he starts to run out the door after her. But first, he stops, adds more shoe polish to his cheeks, pulls up his black athletic crew socks from SammySocks Etc., and slides on two thick rubber bands around the bottoms of his pant legs. Then, he runs out after her, flailing his arms over his head and whooping like a banshee. “I’ll draw them away from you! Don’t wait for me! I’ll be okay! Just get the mail!”
Sally turns to look at her husband as he gyrates around the front yard. “Yeah, okay,” she says.