|The Mage Sister||
This is actually a true story, but it's funny – well, I think it's funny.... sort of, anyway. I had ordered some books from the UK - the later books in the Skullduggery Pleasant series. You can't get them in the US because they don't have US imprint versions. It took some time for them to arrive, having to come from the other side of the planet. Not exactly months, you understand, but not at all like ordering from Amazon and getting it next week.
Anyway, I first got notice that my Skullduggery books had arrived via a notice from the post office that I had a parcel that required my signature. I thought, ‘That’s funny. Why didn’t they just plunk it on my porch like they usually do?’ I’ve never had to sign for a package before, whether it required a signature or not! This is Pokey Oaks, Iowa, for goodness sake! And the PO is only open when I’m at work, except on Saturdays for a very brief time. That Saturday I was attending a writer’s conference, so I was a bit put out.
I called my sis and asked if she would pick it up for me if she was going that way, promising to call the PO and let them know. She had no trouble picking the package up, and I got a rather cryptic email from her telling me that she had it, and “What a package, I tell you!” “???,” said Jeannie. “Is it heavy?” It was only six paperback books! How heavy could it be? ‘Nope’, said Sis, and nothing more. Hmmmm. So I promised to pick it up after work that afternoon. When I arrived to pick up this mysterious package, Sis went to her workroom, got the package and plunked it on the kitchen table in front of me.
At first, I couldn’t tell what I was looking at! It was a misshapen pile of fabric that in no way resembled books. My first impression was that they had put the books in a shopping bag and mailed it. But there’s no possible way they would have traveled safely from the UK to the US that way! I took a closer look and realized that the fabric had ‘Royal Airmail, Great Britain’ emblazoned on it. It’s a mail bag from the UK! They had zip tied the package inside it, with a destination tag on it and just delivered it that way!
Now, I’m fairly certain that the person half a planet away who put my package of books in that bag likely expected that someone along the way would take it out of the bag at some point before being delivered. Why that didn’t happen, I have no guess, but then again, what do I know about International Postal procedures, right? But it certainly caused some major head-scratching, let me tell you!
The post mistress was a little put out. In her 30+ years as post mistress, evidently she’s never seen anything like it. Well, neither have I, truth be told, and I’ve ordered lots of things from the UK before.
The post mistress wondered what I’d be getting from the UK, so my sis filled her in on the story – that you can’t get those particular books here in the US. So today, my little corner of Iowa is all atwitter with the gossip that the crazy lady who bought that big house for just her and her dog reads weird books from England about skeletons and dead detectives.
You know, when I ordered my precious Skullduggery books, I didn’t expect they would make an entrance with trumpets blaring – I figured they’d be quietly placed on my front porch, and no one would be the wiser! Dad gum it, UK! I don’t need help in making my neighbors think I'm weird! They already think that!
Oh look! It’s a British nail in my coffin of weirdness! How elegant! By the way, if you want your mail bag back, you’re gonna have to tell me where to send it. The PO folks here certainly won’t know what to do with it!