by John Yeo
“Where did that come from?” Asked, Minnie Mills, when she entered the post-office and handed in the card that had been pushed through her door by the postman.
Elizabeth, the very experienced counter-clerk, scratched her head in curiosity. “We never know. Are you sure you don’t recognise the handwriting? There doesn’t seem to be a visible postmark on the wrapper, it’s all smudged.” Elizabeth had worked in the village post office for twenty years and she knew everyone intimately, she was always very helpful, and rather nosey when it came to other people's post.
“I wonder what it can be, I am not expecting anything and I have never seen that writing before. I have heard there are some dangerous people around who send out letter bombs and parcel bombs, to all and sundry.” Minnie exclaimed with a slight tremor of her normally stiff upper lip. Minnie had just turned 83 years old, the week before, but her mind was very sharp from reading the newspapers and watching television.
Elizabeth smiled in disbelief. “No! Mrs Mills, I don’t think so. Who on earth would want to send a bomb to you? I can call the manager if you like, but I don’t know what he can do. I expect he will call the police, who will then call in the bomb squad.”
Charlie Jones the local odd job man was standing next in the queue, “Come on! Hurry up! I have work to do. Will you get a move on, I will take it outside and open it up if you like!”
“No thank-you very much!” Exclaimed Minnie Mills. “I don’t want your death on my conscience.”
Elizabeth gave him one of her special warning looks, and pressed the bell for the manager, who was in the office at the back of the shop doing his books. Bill Green had been managing this little village office for a couple of years now, having moved from the big city to enjoy life in the country with his family.
“Can I help you?” Bill asked the odd job man, then sold him a first class stamp and showed him the door.
Elizabeth rapidly explained the situation to the astonished manager.
“Well, there is a procedure to follow when we encounter a suspicious package. I have a special number to ring for instructions. Don’t do a thing until I come back.” He rushed into his office to make the call.
He returned in a couple of minutes and announced, “Help is on the way, meanwhile we must put the package in a bucket of water and take it outside, far away from the post office.”
A short time later an unusual looking van arrived with strange aerials on the top and headed straight for the bucket. Some minutes later an army officer entered the post office.
“There is no cause for alarm, this is definitely not an explosive device. We have x-rayed it and we ran a metal detector over it, and there is nothing metallic inside.” He reported, then drove off
to another investigation.
Elizabeth, the counter clerk was very curious, and when everyone had gone, she urged Minnie to open the parcel. “Go on, open it now in case I can help you.”
Minnie gave her an old fashioned look, then said, “No I will take it home now.”
When she got home she gingerly unwrapped her package to discover a rubber Hot-Water Bottle, donated by Age Concern to keep her warm in the winter.
Ahh! That’s nice of them she thought, smiling to herself.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved