The following is a true story.
Names and dates have been changed
to protect the innocent.
I’m checking our mailbox one afternoon when Mini, popping unexpectedly out of my pocket, notices the FredEx package tossed haphazardly onto the hood of Mom’s Prius.
“Hey,” he says, pointing. “When did the paperboy start delivering mail?”
I walk over to the car and pick up the package. It’s soft and lumpy, and is addressed to me, with a sunshine logo as the return address. Retreating back inside my parents’ house, I drop off the obligatory junk mail in the front hall, then seat myself at the kitchen table. I turn the package over in my hands, curious but also cautious.
“Are chain letters still a thing?” Mini asks, working his way onto the tabletop.
I shrug. “I don’t know.”
“Who’d send me a severed finger?”
“Maybe your dad gambled with the wrong crew, and he’s been kidnapped, and this is a ransom note threatening to send a finger for every day you don’t pay the million-dollar ransom.”
I put the package on the table.
“You’re not going to open it?” Mini asks.
I glare at him. “Suddenly I’ve lost interest.”
Mini scoffs. “Give it here.” He grabs the package, rips it open to reveal a burlap satchel inside. There’s a handwritten, jasmine-scented card attached:
This is my absolute FAVORITE loincloth! ~From Milda with Love
Opening the satchel, Mini pulls out a fancy-looking embroidered loincloth. He sets it down, studies it, dumbfounded. “Who’s Milda?”
It’s rare, but my clients do sometimes send me thank-you gifts for doing their Web sites. I’ll be darned if I know who Milda is, though. “Your guess is as good as mine.” I look at the card again. There’s a Web address for “Milda’s of Portland” at the very bottom—and suddenly it makes a little more sense. “Wait, Milda’s is a fashion boutique. I’ve seen their booths at Spendco. This is some kind of free-sample ad campaign.”
“Okay, first contact with people you’ve never met shouldn’t involve the sending or receiving of crotch-rags via postal mail.”
“Yeah. If anything, it’s made me not want to do business with them.”
Glances again at the loincloth.
“So…” he says, “are you going to try it on or what?”
Thanks for reading!