Flash Friday 29/03/2013: It’s For You
There was a knock on the door. For some reason that he couldn’t quite place, Andy felt that this encounter was not going to be just another occasion.
The postman didn’t give it away. Giving a grand smile, he handed over an electronic device for Andy to sign. “Just slap it right here,” he said. “Don’t worry about being too neat. These newfangled things are a pain to use right.”
“To be honest, I wasn’t actually expecting my keyboard to arrive so soon. If I knew it’d be next-day regardless, I would not have ached over First Class or not.”
“What do you mean, sir?”
“You know, First Class? As in, next-day delivery?”
“No, no. I’m a postman, I know all about that stuff; what I meant was, what’s that about a keyboard?”
Andy lifted his pen from the device, realising that he was about to sign for something and had no clue what it was. “You know, the keyboard? The one you’re delivering?” Andy looked past the postman. “In fact, where IS my package?”
“Why, it’s in the sky, sir. Nowhere else to put it.”
Suspecting a prank, Andy relented and looked into the sky. He gave a loud yelp as his eyes told him — much to his logical brain’s reluctance — that hovering just over Earth was a larger Earth. Rather, what LOOKED like a larger Earth. The oceans were blue, the land was green, but the continents were weird and foreign. Andy stared at it; partly to take in its glory, partly because his body was in such a state of shock that it was the only thing he could do.
“Lovely model if I say so myself, sir.” The postman was admiring is beauty without even seeming mildly phased about the new addition to the Solar System. “One of those new ones with the gravity nullifiers. You could take that planet right up close to your friends, no fear of them slamming together in a gravitational pull. Very nice, very nice.” He looked back to Andy as if he was the crazy one. “Going to sign that, sir?”
“I–er–I mean…” Andy tried to operate his mouth correctly. In such a crucial moment such as to convince a mail man that he didn’t actually own a planet, it didn’t want to co-operate. “Well, I’d hate to say it, but…this isn’t my planet.” He cleared his throat. “Sorry.”
“Not your planet sir?”
“Yes. Not mine. This is, a, uh…an incorrect delivery.”
“Sure you didn’t just order it and forget? Done that many a time, myself.”
“I’m absolutely, positively sure that I have not, at any period of my life, placed an order for a planet to be delivered to my door.” Andy did a quick check of his memory. It felt offended that he even had to check. “Positive.”
“This IS 55 Jacob Street, correct?”
“Yes.” Taking another look at the device, Andy noticed that the address was being displayed as part of the delivery details. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. “Yes, it appears it’s addressed to here.”
“Well then sir, just sign in that little box and we can hand you over your very own Terra.” The postman leant forward with a big smile on his face. “Very nice model, if I say so myself, sir.”
“Well…” Andy swallowed, his mind racing with ways to shift responsibility of an entire planet somewhere else. “Well, I can’t possibly have it. I mean, where am I going to put it? In the under-stairs cupboard?”
“I agree, that would be a less-than-stellar place, sir. That’s why I’d personally recommend Andromeda. Not that far. Still a bit of elbow room. Neighbours are nice.” The postman nodded. “My grandma’s got an ice dwarf over there. Pop over every month or so. Lovely lady, she is. Best tea in all the universe; I’d bet my savings on it.”
“Well, that’s all well and good, but I can’t take this planet.”
“Well, why not?”
“Well…” Andy looked up at the planet again. He pointed to one of the continents. “There, see that? That crack, over there. I can’t accept this package with such blatant delivery damage. It simply cannot do.”
“Sir, that’s a canyon.”
“Well I didn’t order a canyon.” Andy filed the sentence into a recess of his mind, where he stored other sentences he was sure he’d never say ever again. “That must of got there during transit. I want it returned, and the order cancelled.”
The postman’s brow raised. “You ordered a Terra model, all nice with its oceans and gravity nullifiers and Genesis tech, and you decided to cut the corners on the canyons?”
“Yes, that’s right.” Andy nodded. “No canyons. Hate them.”
“Suit yourself.” The postman tore the device out of Andy’s hands as if he were insulted. “Maybe next time you go ordering a planet, you’ll make sure to do a proper job on the features. I’ll be seeing you, then, I suppose.” As the postman walked down the driveway, Andy could hear him muttering to himself about how planet-owners without canyons are wasting valuable galaxy space. Digging into his satchel, the postman brought out another device which he spoke into. With a merciful popping noise, both the planet and the postman vanished into thin air, leaving the feeling of losing one’s mind safe and sound within Andy.
“Better check my bank statements,” he said, closing the door behind him.