The man in the mailbox lived all the way in the back, in the dark recesses where the sunlight never seemed to reach. He left my bills alone, but chewed up my good mail, like my Ladies’ Home Journal and mail order porn catalogs. He had to go, but he sat well entrenched in a paper nest like a gigantic wasp. He was a nasty, hairy little thing. I couldn’t stomach grabbing him with my bare hands. I contemplated bug spray, just to smoke him out. Darren, my mailman caught me in the act.
“Got a mailbox man, do ya?” he asked.
“You know I do, Darren, you’ve been feeding him for the last two weeks.”
“You know, the U.S. Postal Service can remove your mailbox man for just $13.97.”
“Really? It won’t hurt him will it?”
“Not nearly as much as that bug spray.”
“I didn’t know what else to do! Look if you can remove him, that would be fantastic.”
“Righto.” He pulled a spray bottle out of his vehicle and spritzed some weird smelling chemical inside the mailbox. After a minute, he went in with some tongs and pulled the mini-monster out, nest and all.
“What’s going to happen to him?” I asked.
“He’s going to be released on a big farm owned by the federal government where he’ll be able to run free with others of his kind. After he’s been neutered of course.”
“Really? Can I come visit him?”
“No. That’s just a story we tell people to make them feel better. We actually gather up the critters and feed them to the poor. Do you need any stamps today?”
“You want to keep him?” he asked, sticking the nest in my face. I jumped backward. It was one thing to visit it on a farm in the light of day. Would I really want that creepy-crawly inside my house in the dead of night?
“Mmmmm . . . no. Do they at least knock them out before they kill them?”
“No, they boil them alive, like lobsters. I hear it’s excruciating. Wanna save him?”
“Mmmmmmm . . . no. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize to me. Apologize to him.”
“No, no. Just get him away from me, please.”
“Suit yourself. That’ll be $13.97.” He threw the mailbox man into a sack. I got my checkbook. I tried not to think about the fate of little guy after Darren left. My catalogs helped take my mind off of things.