Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Scavenger hunt!

Today in my mailbox was a key. Strange. The fob had little tiny print, the type I have trouble with when using my contacts, but I soldiered on. There was also a US Postal Service note saying they'd left a parcel. Presumably this had something to do with the key, as there was no package in front of my door. The key fob said that it would fit into the lock, which would then capture the key, leaving the box unlocked. There was a great big '1' on the other side.

Okay. So somewhere there must be a USPS box where the key fit. But I didn't know where it was. I thought I'd seen one somewhere around. I decided it must either be near the leasing office or near the entrance to the complex. I thought there was a blue mail box near the entrance at the kerb; maybe it would be near that.  I decided to check there first, since it wasn't out of the way much in my walk to the leasing office. Turns out there is no outgoing mail box at all, and I've obviously hallucinated one in the past. There was--on the side I almost never go by--a grey box near the office containing four compartments with the familiar eagle logo on it. One was labelled '1'.

I inserted the key, which was indeed captured, but unlocked the box. Some helpful soul had even drawn arrows to indicate the direction to unlock it. Inside was what I expected, a package from a Paperback Swap member with a book inside. I have two on order; this one was 100 Hair-Raising Little Horror Stories, edited by Al Sarrantonio and Martin Greenberg. It was a withdrawn junior high school library book, and in nice shape. Stories include those by Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft, Manley Wade Wellman, Rudyard Kipling, Stephen Crane, Fritz Leiber, Ramsey Campbell, Ambrose Bierce, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain (and here it's his birthday), Saki, and a host of others I don't recognise as well. I'm quite pleased. This should keep me in stead for quite some time, along with my Lovecraft collection, for having the wits scared out of me. I love classic horror, things like 'The Tell-Tale Heart', 'The Monkey's Paw', and 'The Dunwich Horror'.

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