The gun comes on a Tuesday.
I’m not in to receive it of course. Oh no, so the Postman leaves a card instructing me to go to the nearest sorting office to collect it. Except, I can only collect it between 9am and 5pm weekdays.
Like most of the working population I am actually at work at that time so the earliest I can collect it is Saturday. This is no good because I know I will be fretting for the rest of the week. I desperately need that gun so I can feel safe again.
What if they come back before then? They might have a schedule to work to.
Tuesday: Collect menacing money from the Chinese Takeaway.
Wednesday: Door patrol at the illegal cockfight at the docks.
Thursday: Visit mutha in the nursing home.
Friday: Beat that shit Ged to death for unspecified reasons.
That gun is doing me no good sitting on a shelf in a sorting office. If I wait until Saturday, I could already have had both my arms and legs broken and my genitalia separated from my body and stuck in the fridge cooler with the half cucumber. This would not only be horrifically painful, but also present an intimidating size comparison.
No good at all. I need that gun right now.
Weighing up my options, I can clearly see there really is only one thing for it; it’s drastic and potentially dangerous but I think the circumstances call for it. I’m going to have to chuck a sickie.
The classic mistake that most people make when calling in sick is to over egg it with the sick voice. Nothing gives it away more, especially if the ailment you are claiming to be suffering from is not actually related to your voice, such as a stubbed toe. So, go easy.
Here is my sick call; you may want to take notes.
“Hi, it’s Ged.”
“Hi Ged, how are you?”
“As it happens I’m a bit poorly Helen (Receptionist), how are you doing?”
“Oh I’m okay, sorry you’re not well, did you want to speak to Anthony?”
“Yeah, I better had.”
“Okay hold on transferring you now, hope you feel better soon?”
“Hi Anthony Mann.”
“Hi Anthony this is Ged”
“Ged what’s up?”
“I’m feeling really shit today boss, I got up and ready and got half way to work but I had to go back, I feel that terrible.”
“Right, well I’m a bit sort staffed today…”
“Yeah I know, I I’m so sorry that I’m totally letting you down, I know that.”
“No you’re not letting me down, you can’t help being ill. Do you think you’ll be back in tomorrow?”
“God I hope so, I’ve got so much to do, I hate just sitting here on my arse feeling like crap when I know there’s so much to do.”
“Okay, look, if you feel bad tomorrow give me a call and let me know.”
“Okay, thanks Anthony, and again sorry for letting you down.”
“Get better Ged, Bye.”
There you go, textbook.
I hope you noted what I did there. I managed to get the boss to assume I would not be in the following day. That is two days of my life I have taken back.
I hope the collection at the Post Office will guarantee I can keep them.
Naturally, it is not as simple as actually just going to pick the bloody thing up. Unlike the fifty million other times I’ve collect packages and oversized envelopes from there, this time the man behind the counter wants some ID.
“But you’ve never asked for ID before?” I protest.
“I always do.” The man says, unwavering.
“I meant generally you,” I say attempting to combat his pedantry, “The Post Office has never asked for ID before, not once, and I’ve collected dozens of parcels from here.”
The man behind the counter looks away and starts to shuffle his collection cards. As far as he’s concerned this conversation is over, and he caps it with a classic.
“It is our policy.”
“Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t know you had a policy, I just thought it was random rules plucked from the air according to whoever is on duty.” I say.
To be honest that’s a lie, I didn’t say that, I thought it later in the car. In fact, I just stay silent and look at him, silently judging him.
This obviously does not work at all, clearly he’s been silently judged by better folk than I.
“Now if you can supply some ID, a drivers licence or a bill with your name on it…”
“So I can use a bill as ID?”
“Yes.” he confirms.
“What sense does that make?”
“What?” he says in a clipped tone that threatens to cut itself of at the T
“Well, I assume the reason for requiring ID is that I could possibly have stolen this collection card.”
“That’s right.” He confirms.
I half laugh, “Couldn’t I just as easily have stolen a bill from the same address? It doesn’t have my photo on it to prove I am who I say I am.”
He’s heard it all before this man, my pathetic protest is like arrows fired against a Bradley assault vehicle.
“When you come back with identification you can collect your parcel.”
With that he closes the hatch shut and walks away.
Perfect. Now I have to get back across town, which will take the best part of an hour, then get back here and then home again.
I have this overriding sense of dread that I may get spotted by anyone of my colleagues who will take great delight in reporting my apparent miracle recovery to The Mann.
It takes more than two hours to get back to the Sorting Office due to every road in town seemingly being dug up for ‘essential’ road maintenance. Not that you ever actually see any working being carried out of course; oh no, just traffic cones and traffic lights surrounding a series of big holes.
When I eventually I do get back to the sorting office it is a different guy who opens the hatch door.
“Yes?” he says in a far more friendly tone.
“Can I collect this please?”
I pass him the card and start to fish my driver’s licence out of my wallet when he vanishes out back.
It is at this point that I begin to panic. I hadn’t considered it before, I’m importing illegal firearms into the country. I’m no expert but I can only imagine that I can get into big trouble for that. What if he is gone out back with card to alert the police, they may be on their way here right…
“Here you go.” The man says as he pushes a shoebox-sized parcel toward me.
“Oh, don’t you need my ID?” I ask as innocently as possible.
“Nah, it’s alright, you’ve got an honest face.”
With that, he shuts the hatch.
Always the victim, be it of love, of crime and now most insidious of all, jobs worth bureaucracy.
Still got the gun.
When I get it home and unpacked I can’t help holding it all the time. Feeling the weight, gripping it in my hand, pointing it at a series of inanimate objects around my flat as if they were my bitterest enemies.
The gun is so cold and lifeless, yet the power it can potentially give me…
They call it gun fetishism, the love, and sexualising of the gun. Not that I was doing anything sexual with the gun you understand.
Just stroking its barrel occasionally.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Posted by Herge Smith at 12:49 pm