On this day :
1884 First roller coaster in America opens, 1738 Patriot printer publisher and postmistress Mary Katharine Goddard born, 1903 Ford Motor Company incorporated, 1862 Union thwarted at the Battle of Secessionville, 1961 Russian ballet star Nureyev defects, 1999 SLA member captured after more than 20 years, 1896 Tsunami ravages Japanese coast, 1958 Leader of Hungarian uprising executed, 1963 First woman in space, 1977 Brezhnev is Soviet president, 1943 Charlie Chaplin marries Oona ONeill, 1904 James Joyce meets his future wife Nora, 1965 Bob Dylan records Like A Rolling Stone, 1890 Alaskan explorer Fred Fickett leaves Army, 1858 Lincoln warns that America is becoming a house divided, 1968 Lee Trevino wins his first US Open, 1961 Kennedy agrees to send instructors to train troops, 1965 More troops to be sent to Vietnam, 1970 Communists isolate Phnom Penh, 1918 Battle of the Piave River, 1940 Marshal Petain becomes premier of occupied France,

Stories

A Tale of Two Packages

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As soon as the doorbell rang, a change came over Mrs. Sharma. She excitedly ran towards the door. I had never seen my aunt so excited about anything; it was as if the excitement of her forty five years had been produced again in an instant. I was sitting, in less excitement, in the main room. The reason I was at her house was to relish the world class lasooni dal she makes.

She appeared in her blue gown. It appeared as if a hippo was splashing in the water when she jumped up. I wondered why she was so excited; my curiosity had been piqued by then. Was it something rare? Or was it something valuable? She rushed towards the door to open it.

The delivery man was a thin person. Thinner than me, he seemed to me like a minnow in front of the hippopotamus that came rushing towards him. My aunt crashed into the poor man. The package in his arms was there no longer. It had long flown into the air and fallen down the window. Mrs. Sharma frantically searched for the package, before I told her it fell down the building. She was down in an instant. I noticed the knocked out man.

Sanjay was a frail man, and certainly not suited to take collisions with large women. I fed him a little dal, and he was revived at once. His first question was, “Where’s the package?” I told him to relax and check his health first, but he didn’t care. “I can’t lose the package! This is not how delivery boys act!” I thought to myself about how that sentence was framed, but then dismissed any thoughts except those for my aunt.

My aunt presently appeared. She said, “I can’t find the package.”

“What? You lost the package?”

“Shut up! It’s your fault I lost it!”

“Please stop shouting.”

“Why did you attack me? I don’t have insurance!”

“Why did you ring the doorbell? It excited me too much!”

“Mm, this dal tastes delightful.”

It wasn’t the time to be consuming a cooked mixture of pulses and spices, but there was not anything else I could do.

Meanwhile, far away hidden from view a fishy man spoke into a walkie talkie.

“Agent Fishy reporting. Where do I receive the package?”

A gruff voice answered, “Floor six.”

“Sir, which building? Hello, hello?”

The line was cut, and the fishy man had no idea what to do. He headed towards the building closest to him.

Sanjay and my aunt were still arguing, when I heard the doorbell ring. A fishy looking man stood outside, and asked me politely, "Do you have the package?"

I did not answer immediately, and he looked at Sanjay.

“Agent Sunday?” Sanjay must have misheard the fishy man, for he responded with a nod. “Yes, I am Sanjay.”

“What? You lost the package?”

The fishy man now changed his attitude. He dragged Sanjay by the hand, not a difficult task considering his weight, and took him away. I shouted out, asking what the package contained, but the delivery boy Sanjay was already gone.

“Okay Sunday, what do you know about the package?”

“Nothing at all, man! I just had to deliver it to Mrs. Sharma!”

The fishy man felt strange. “As the delivery boy, don’t you know what you’re delivering?”

Sanjay decided to spill the beans. “I am just a budding actor! I substituted my friend, the actual delivery man, so that I could learn how to adapt to different roles!”

My aunt was looking out the window in a sad fashion. She still had not told me what the package had in it, but I cared less and drank more dal. Suddenly, she gave a shout to me. I rushed to her, and she pointed down near a tree. A small package was lying underneath, possibly the same one we lost this afternoon. We rushed downstairs.

In the park, a dog, with nothing to do, found a small package. It was small enough to fit in its mouth, so it did what any dog would do: hold it in its mouth. By the time I reached it, there was no way it was going to let it go without a fight. Mrs. Sharma plodded me on to face the dog, but as they say, even a dog is a lion in its neighbourhood. I tried to tell my aunt that the package could not be saved, when Sanjay came rushing forward. He took one good aim and kicked the dog to the curb.

“I shall deliver the package!”

Finally my aunt opened the package. It contained a beautiful solitaire and a letter. My uncle is affiliated with the army, and Mrs. Sharma seems to miss him a lot. That is why the package was so important to her. It would seem the letter was more valuable than the solitaire.

Everything was settled by then. I never saw that fishy man again. Sanjay became a small time actor, getting menial roles in large films. My aunt remained a happy woman. As for me, I just had some more dal and went home, stuffed and tired.

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