The job itself wasn’t that bad. It was a bunch of little tasks that had to be done in a certain order. The mailboxes stared at her in a cluster against the wall. They reminded her of human cells, in a staggering organic shape, but each individual box the same size as the next.
The place was stuck in the ’60’s, so she started dressing that way, wearing pearls and bright lipstick and dresses that were a little snug in the rear. She got hit on all day, but with weird archaic phrases that struck her as cute.
Her second day, Mike had her try to sleuth out a mailbox (PMB) for a customer who kept retrieving mail that the PO sent back to them. She checked the card file, a few notebooks, then physically went through each row of boxes until she found his name: “Michael MERTZ/ Aquatic Supply.” The box was grotesquely stuffed, with rolls of magazine sagging into a coronet’s bell. How she did not notice it, she didn’t know, unless maybe because the digits were completely covered up. “Found it,”she said, “and it’s super-full.”
Mike squinted and sighed,”Oh, God. Bless him.”
She later learned it was very common to have customers pass on…that maybe there would be five a year. The misfits of society preferred them over the regular post: the musicians, artists, drug dealers, homeless, vets, fourth-generation port folks, the ones who operated industry on the river. Mike said he stopped coming to work for awhile.
On her last day she wore a t-shirt and jeans that were maybe too tight. The regulars who stopped in seemed to have pinched faces, large thighs and limbs. They barely spoke to her, stood in front of the copier catching the strange green glow.
She put up the final poster behind the front door- a gorgeous thing a color between marigold and butter, with artwork like ink cobwebs that swirled you down and off the page.
“Why is the door half closed?” A regular complained.
“Oh,” Mike said, “the girl’s trying to do the fliers, on a day so hot we can hardly breathe.”