Saturday 16 June 2018

'The Satchel Weighs Heavy' by A.J. Walker

It started on a single mailbox in small town Illinois. It had made the mailman smile when he’d first seen it, though for weeks after he thought nothing of it. Somebody posted a picture of the graffiti on the internet of it - oh the irony; the killer of the letter! It went viral, exploding all over the net “Send Someone A Love Letter” was now being posted on billboards, on the sides of buildings, spray painted on the underground and well, of course, stencilled on the sides of post boxes from NY to LA, London and Paris, Beijing and all points in between. Ad campaigns for perfume and pizza had taken the slogan and people in Milwaukee, LA and Chicago were hurriedly trying to TradeMark it through the courts.

The upshot of it was a fad for sending letters - in the post, not as an email attachment. And Billy thought it was wonderful. It was probably Billy who’d first seen the painted slogan when he’d been emptying that mailbox on that Monday evening. It made him feel proud now to be linked by association – at least in his head – to the love letter craze.

Now when he was on his delivery route his satchel weighed heavy with possibilities. Each push of the envelope through the letter box could be changing lives. Not like a bill, a pizza offer or an eviction notice: he was carrying love around with him. He puffed out his chest and felt six inches taller with the responsibility. His job was now important and he’d swear people had actually begun to wait for him to call around to see if they were getting deliveries from new or old loves.

It was a small town and today he found a hand written letter addressed simply to ‘Billy the Mailman’ and SWALK had been scrawled on the back in red crayon – or more likely sticky lipstick. He delivered it to his house before continuing on his route. Maybe he’d read it later. But he’d probably just add it to the pile.

WC 343

Slightly amended from FlashDogs ‘FlashFeed - 1.9’ (7 December 2017)

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