The Package

            A Very Short Story
by Judith B. Landry

The door bell rang and there I was - up to my eyeballs in dirty dishes. At first I ignored it. Whoever it was could come back later. But curiosity got the best of me. I dried myself and hurried to the entrance hall where I nearly slipped on - of all things - a carrot!

"Kids!" I thought as I opened the door.

There he stood in a brown uniform, holding that new-fangled clipboard that provides a little rectangle for your signature. I signed my name and wondered who in the world would be able to read it.

He handed me a small package wrapped in brown paper. He didn’t seem to notice my puzzled expression as he turned to leave.

"What could it be?" I wondered, knowing that I had not ordered anything. Besides, this package had been sent by an individual, not a business. The return address had been carefully printed by a shaky hand. There was no name, only the address - "121 Cabbage Lane; Endive, Oklahoma." I read it several times.

"Oh, please!" I thought, "Is this some kind of joke?" But I wasn’t laughing. Who sent this? I was afraid to open it. I shook it, but nothing rattled. I held it close to my ear, but nothing ticked. It didn’t weigh much more than a feather. Was it an empty box?

My heart raced as I reached for the telephone book. I was shaking as I punched in the number of the nearby police station. But I hung up after the first ring. What could I say but the truth? ------- "I’ve received a package from Cabbage Lane in Endive, Oklahoma, and I’m afraid to open it." Officer Wolfe, that young twerp, would get a good laugh out of that! He would never take me seriously again.

I almost had to stand on my head as I rooted around in the cluttered cabinet and pulled out a small kitchen scale. I set the package on the scale. Three and a half ounces. But what did that tell me? Not a thing.

I left the package on the scale and sat down at my computer. I carefully typed "Endive, Oklahoma" in the search box on my favorite map website. I nearly came undone when this information flashed across the screen: "Your search for Endive, Oklahoma did not match any locations. Please revise your search."

There was no such place as Endive, Oklahoma! This was clearly a bogus package, fit for nothing but the trash can! I put on my old red sweater, my fuzzy ear muffs, and my brown mittens.

Hopping along in the cold, I finally reached the trash can at the end of the driveway. I lifted the lid and put the package inside on top of some newspapers. I turned and took two steps. Curiosity seized me. Something was in the box. What could it be? How could I ever stand not knowing?

I quickly retrieved the package from the trash can and hurried back inside. The package rested on the kitchen table as I poured myself a glass of vegetable juice. I found a pair of scissors and carefully cut the tape that held the package together.

With great care I removed a wad of pale green tissue paper, revealing a small, thin book at the bottom of the box. There was only one word on each page. "Hungry - indeed - is - the - one - who - finds - his - salvation - in - cabbage - and - endive."

Under the book were two envelopes - one containing cabbage seeds and the other, endive seeds. I almost missed the note under the envelopes. It read:

The book, my dear nephew, is for your edification, and the seeds are for your spring garden.
Buniford Romaine

Finally my paws stopped trembling, my long fuzzy ears relaxed as my furry sides shook with laughter. Dear old Uncle Buni! He always was a bit of a philosopher and a practical joker, too.

1 comment:

  1. My heart raced with yours, my curiosity bout jumped out, and then I felt the sweet relief when it was retrieved from the trash can and a perfectly reasonable explanation was mercifully given. You made me smile :-)