Field Reports

Field Report: Day 435

May 25, 2021

Sergeant K

Day ended with me telling the last customer that it would probably be good for her to see a therapist. I don’t suggest this to many people because I try not to get involved. Unfortunately, Private Ryan still asks people “How are you?” instead of my bypass-the-feelings greeting of “What are we up to?” I feel like saying “we” indicates friendliness and kindness without inviting emotions.

We get enough of that.

When I arrived one day last week, PFC pointed to the table full of stuff and said, “People have been insuring these things for a million dollars and they’re all from dead people.”

“Did you get to hear about the dead people?” I asked already knowing the answer. We always hear about the dead people. Often we then get the rundown of family dynamics among those left behind quickly followed by the “I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this.”

Apparently, Barb, you’re telling me these things because your local small town shipper is just as good as therapy.

I can always tell when Private Ryan is annoyed by me because he’ll tell these individuals that I used to be a therapist.

That’s fine. I’ll just tell the two people who apparently have begun a sex toy business with quite frequent dildo-shaped padded mailer shipments that he is interested to know everything about them.

Eye for an eye, bud.

Had a man come in and ask to ship something to have it arrive somewhere tomorrow. I said, “Sure,” and asked for his last name. He looked at me, acting a little jumpy, holding the box that said “Perishable” on it and said, “What?”

I said, “Your last name? Or who is it coming from?” thinking it was from a business or something similar. He pulled what looked like a business card out of his pocket and looked at it and looked at me. At that point, he was a little sweaty and his eyes were darting around. He grabbed the box and said, “Just a sec. I gotta go check something.”

Then we watched him walk/run to his car, get in, and drive away.

And now I really only want to know what was in the box. Like – I want to track the guy down and beg him to tell me, obviously promising to not turn him in for whatever bomb, alcohol, or vibrator laid within.

Late in the day, the Happiest Man Alive stopped in. He had a 2008-esque Bluetooth earpiece sticking out of his ear and a “Don’t Tread On Me” shirt on.

And if there’s one thing about the “Don’t Tread On Me” people, it is their characteristic of being overtly friendly, chipper old chaps.

He came in and wanted to know “How many stamps” these two envelopes were. They weighed 5.3 and 3.4 ounces respectively. Figure one stamp per ounce so I said 6 and 4 for each. He gruffly argued with me and then asked if we sold stamps.

I said, “Sure. How many do you want?”

“How many do I need?” he asked.

“Ten,” I replied. “Six for the one, four for the other.” He gave me such a glaring look that I actually questioned if I had added 6+4 incorrectly.

“But you said the one was 3 ounces.”

“It’s 3.4 ounces. So you’d need a fourth one.”

The walking Hrrmph of a human rolled his eyes and said he’d, “Go elsewhere” for those. Then he asked if I had a bubble envelope for this small thing, which he set on the counter.

I didn’t even want to bother going to get one because I knew he’d complain about it and not buy it but I did anyway. “I need a smaller one,” he said.

“We don’t have smaller,” I said and he then audibly sighed in the way a disappointed father whose son had just been convicted of murder might sigh. He aggressively grabbed his small object and began marching toward the door.

At this same moment, Private Ryan had begun a phone call and I think he semi-laughed at something the person he was speaking to said. I had gone back to studying my fantasy baseball team.

Mr. Hrrmph spun around, seemingly convinced we were laughing at him. And while it is true that I laugh at people who seem wildly and outrageously angry about bubble envelopes, I didn’t care. I looked up and I knew he was thinking about marching back toward us to, presumably, tell us we were assholes and that we would have the right sized bubble mailers if we’d only fought in Vietnam.

Then he decided we were such massive disappointments that he just went back out to his car and I could actually see him begin complaining to the woman in the car about our ineptitude. You have to be pretty dramatic for others to SEE you bitching. Then he peeled out of our parking lot, speeding away from all that is wrong with America.

Just another satisfied customer, really.

A guy came in with a box to send to Mexico. It was taped shut and pretty large and these are always a little scary in that we need an itemized list of everything in it to go international.

I told him that and he said, “Sweet. They are two iRobot roombas.”

I got it all organized and then called for a Great Rate which can significantly lower the cost depending on the day. I got lucky it was that day.

The man said he wanted to have the recipient sign for it and I hit a glitch in the computer. Private Ryan had just come back from a errand but hadn’t come in the store yet. I sent PFC to go grab him to help me figure it out.

He comes inside and before I could explain the glitch, the nice man started telling him how great my customer service was and how impressed he had been with what I’d done.

Private Ryan smiled and said, “Oh thanks for that. She’s pretty great.”

And then he turned around to go back out and unload his truck.

“Um, hey,” I said. “I actually need your help with something.”

“Oh!” he said. “What’s up?”

“Did you actually think I sent PFC out to get you so you could come in and hear this guy say nice things about me?” I said to him, laughing. “I appreciate the compliment but I’d just make you watch the security footage later to hear it.”

Also: On the commercial invoice, I wrote that he was shipping two “iRobot rhombus” because I apparently memorized exactly one thing about geometry.

I’ve begun writing a mystery novel and this means that I have to create an outline. While I’m sure it appears that I meticulously organize these Field Reports, I’ve never outlined a single story in my life. So I have the setting and the characters and the “mystery” itself.

I’m doing the James Patterson Masterclass and I reached the lesson where I need to outline four chapters before moving on.

I have three chapters done. If any of you know why the antagonist in my story has done what they’ve done, could you let me know? That’d be great. Thanks.

Colonel C

Began weeding my garden last night after I mowed the backyard which had gotten tall enough to hide our dogs from us. Thought I picked up all the dog toys from the grass. Definitely missed one. So now there are shards of a stuffed animal all over the backyard.

I just hope none of the dogs saw since we tell them all the time that exactly zero dogs are ever sucked up in vacuum cleaners each year so they need not run, peeing all the way, through the house away from it anymore.

Also realized the dogs respond to any combination of words/noises I make to bring them inside. The other day, I opened the door and said, “Oop id dee doop dee” to them and they came flying in. Sergeant said, “I like to think they’re out there and you do that and they’re like, ‘Oh shit. Mom just oop id dee doop dee’d us. We gotta go!'”

I hope so, too.

2 thoughts on “Field Report: Day 435”

  1. So off the top of my head… your protagonist did what they did in a misguided effort to protect the memory of Dr. Suess, or perhaps they had been slipped a bunch of mushrooms before they went to a hypnotist for a past life regression resulting in them becoming convinced that one of the local parishioners was responsible for them being tortured and executed as a witch during the Scottish Witch trials and they needed to play karma’s little helper and exact revenge… or maybe their a werwolf that doesn’t actually shapeshift into a beast but just becomes their shadow self during for an hour at the exact timing of the new moon.

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