Lucky Courier

“Damn!” said Sophie to herself and then thought, I hate it when that happens. She picked up the phone and dialled a number. “Hello, it’s Sophie here from Lucerne Village Hall. I seem to have missed a delivery. I was here all morning; how did that happen?”

“Hello Sophie. This is Daphne from the Customer Services Team. I am sorry about your delivery. We’ve had a few problems this morning. Shall I reschedule it for this afternoon?”

“That would be great. If I’m not in my office, the courier can leave it at the reception desk in the other building. That’s always manned.”

She had considered saying, wo-manned but that would sound stupid.

The courier came again two hours later. There was a single fingernail tap on her window, and then a happy face, brown, but more golden in hue than his uniform. She motioned for him to enter, and he bounded in with a small, heavy parcel. She hadn’t been expecting anything. Was it a present from someone? Sophie liked surprises.

“Good afternoon, Miss Walker. I am sorry about before. I am new to this area and didn’t know that other building was related to yours. How many of these buildings are village offices? Oh, all of them around the garden? This must be a nice place to work. How long have you worked here? You seem well settled in…”

So much talking, thought Sophie, does he get many deliveries done? Maybe it’s because he’s new and wants to build customer relationships. Mr Chatty. She should ask him something too. “Where were you before this? In a different territory?”

“I am originally from Salistan,” he said.

Uh-oh, thought Sophie. He thinks I’m asking where he’s from. Why do immigrants always assume that’s the question? “I mean your delivery territory.”

“Oh sorry. Before I was working in the New City, but now I am in Lucerne.”

“That must be a big change for you.”

“Oh yes, but I like it. I don’t care about having a big house or big car. I just want a simple life, where I can hold my head up without people pointing. I want to make my family proud.”

Sophie was about to ask if they were still in Salistan, but he continued.

“I almost became rich, you know. At the horse races I said as a joke to someone to bet on a thousand-to-one horse. The woman put a hundred dollars on it, but the bookie closed before I could put my bet on. That horse won! That woman won one hundred thousand dollars! I saw her dancing. I was going to go up and congratulate her but there were so many people crowding around her that I left it. I was happy for her.”

Sophie started saying, “Did you…” but he was off again.

“At the casino once, I did become rich. You know that gambling is forbidden by my religion, but those machines are irresistible. It is only one coin and you never know what may happen. Lady Luck may be on your side. I won the hundred thousand dollar jackpot! It was like the Gambling God gave me what he owed. The bells were ringing, lights were flashing, and coins flooded out. They told me later that was all for show. The real prize was a big cheque for the money. I was married then, and my wife couldn’t stop laughing and laughing. In the car on the way home, we talked about all the things we would do together, but then I saw the look on her face. It said that she didn’t want to do them with me.”

Sophie didn’t know what to say.

He continued, “That’s why I am here in Lucerne working as a courier. Would you please sign for your parcel? I have a good feeling about it, why don’t you see what it contains.”

Sophie’s eyes flashed like lights on a pinball machine. There was a card saying she had won everything she had ever dreamed of. She just had to call a special number, which she did later that day. Immediately her mortgage increased by a hundred thousand dollars, which was transferred to an account in Salistan.

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