I was minding my own business when the intercom starts buzzing. This is rare. Actually it would only happen when there was some package or registered letter. There was a donkey on the video screen.
“It’s the mail”, said a voice I knew quite well, but I could only see the donkey’s head nodding. I pressed the button to open the door and went to the bathroom to look at myself by the mirror. There was no donkey looking back at me. One doesn’t know how far hallucinations can go.
After throwing some water to my face I opened the door and stared at the elevators. One of them had the light flashing. This was not Carnival nor Halloween, There was no movement on the extinction and procreation of donkeys right now. Either way, besides donating a few euros there was nothing I could do.
The door of the elevator opened. There was a donkey and the mailman in it.
“Mr Gilberto Inácio?”
“You know very well it’s me. I offered you a coffee last week at Mendes.”
“I wasn’t asking for your name. I was just wondering whether you were expecting a donkey.” Man and beast walked the aisle, as elegantly as possible, hooves echoing on every walls like the rattle of a machine gun. “This donkey is yours. Please sign here,”
“This is a mistake. I’m not signing that.”
“Do it as you please. I’ll follow the protocol.”
“Do you have a protocol for delivering donkeys?”
“To farm animals in general, yes.”
“This isn’t a farm.”
“According to protocol, once you’re home to receive the package, this is donkey’s wonderland.”
“I will not sign and I will not keep the donkey with me.”
“Very well. I’ll leave the donkey here and flip the receipt under your door. Have a nice day.”
“Wait a minute! What would you do if I weren’t home?”
“We knew you were home.”
“How would you know that?”
The mailman and the donkey looked at me in the eye.
“We are the post offices. We know everything about everybody.”
I felt a chill and got angry.
“How come you leave acknowledgment receipts to withdraw packages on the post office if you know when I’m home?”
“Sometimes we want you to go there.”
“To be checked out.”
“Of course. We can’t check out clients and let them know that. It would contaminate our files with wrong data. So we make you go there and check you out while you collect your package.”
“Check me out for what?”
The mailman shrugged his shoulders.
“Someone above you, I suppose.”
“Oh, my chief knows nothing. He just runs things.”
“And above your chief?”
“Who knows? That’s nothing of my business.”
I swear to you the donkey was laughing at me.
“I’m not keeping this donkey.”
“I will follow protocol.”
“No, you won’t.”
“One thousand euros fine says you will.”
I was chocked. I considered he was bluffing, but his eyes showed me otherwise. And the donkey’s.
“I must add”, the mailman hushed, “the fine for not signing the receipt is two hundred fifty.” Again, no bluffing in his eyes and the donkey showing its teeth.
“Give me that.”
He handed me the board with the receipt attached for me to sign. I carefully read it. I knew the sender. Too well. It was all explained.
“Have a nice day.” Now the mailman was handing me the rope of the donkey, before turning his back while whistling The Beatles’ She Loves You.
“Hey! Isn’t there any letter?”
“Not even a note?”
“Zip. Only the donkey.”
He disappeared in the elevator, leaving me with the package from my ex-wife.”
Saturday, August 21st 2021