A Waffle Paradise Circulation: 97,025,825 Issue: 191 | 21st day of Hunting, Y7
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The Woes of Being a Mail-Ixi


by playmobil_is_my_life

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The houses in front of me were lined up in two rows, facing the street. They were all large and each had a tile roof. Many had those squat lawn gnomes in the yards and long driveways made of cobblestone. Each house was painted a soft or pastel color and all of them matched the one across from them. The grass surrounding the houses was emerald and flowers grew from the front gardens.

      The sweet aroma of springtime wafted through the air. The trees and bushes were all neatly trimmed; not a single branch hung astray. The newly paved road stretched all the way down the street like a black river and Beekadoodles were chirping from trees overhead. It was a cute neighborhood….

      …So cute that I found it nauseating.

      I snorted and adjusted the carrying bag that hung loosely from my shoulder. I was wearing my work clothes-a pale blue shirt with the letters NCPO (Neopia Central Post Office) stitched on the front, and my blue hat to keep the sun from my eyes.

      I was Wishing Well Drive's Mail-Ixi, a position I quite loathed. Walking around the perfect houses delivering mail was not what I called an ideal job. Unfortunately, the residents of Wishing Well Drive needed their mail and I was the one who was hired to deliver it.

      There were sixty-seven houses on Wishing Well Drive, meaning sixty-seven stops to make before I could go home. Sixty-seven houses to visit each day, four hundred and sixty-nine house per week and one thousand eight hundred and seventy six houses before I could get my minimum wage pay check. It was tough and me hating the job only made things worse.

      My name is Paul and I'm a red Ixi. A Mail-Ixi.

      In the first house lived a blue Bori named Penelope. She was about as ditzy as a Neopet who just drank a jug of Achyfi. I pulled out her mail and a brown package from my bag and knocked.

      The door swung open.

      "Peter!" The Bori shrieked her eyes glowing, "How good to see you!"

      "My name is Paul," I said, as calm as I could manage.

      "Oh, and I suppose you've brought the mail?"

      No, I've come to have a cup of tea with you and hear about your stories, I said to myself. "Yes, I have the mail." My teeth were gritted to keep from screaming in frustration. I handed her three envelopes and the brown package.

      "Splendid!" Penelope said, clapping and taking the mail. She looked at the sender's address, "This is from Aunt Gertrude visiting Mystery Island. That little devil, it took her two weeks to send a letter!" She laughed, the noise bouncing off the driveway behind me.

      I slid away, not really wanting to hear about dear Aunt Gertrude and Mystery Island. Penelope was one of those Neopets who I liked to call, rather "flaky". The Bori turned back to me and said,

     "Well, I'll see you tomorrow, Preston!" Before I could answer, she slammed the door.

      "It's PAUL," I roared, but she couldn't hear me. Huffing, I turned out of the driveway and down the sidewalk. The next few houses I got lucky-no one was home, or they just didn't want anything to do with me. For these, I just slip the mail through the slot on the door and start towards the next house.

      To help the time pass, I usually counted the houses once I had delivered their mail: forty-nine houses to go. I paused outside of number 2838, sighing heavily.

     A young spotted Gelert had his front paws up on the windowsill, waiting for me. His tongue hung limply out of his mouth and his tail wagged furiously when he saw me come up the driveway. The Gelert darted from the window and appeared seconds later at the front door.

     "Mail-mail-mail-mail-mail-mail-mail-mail-mail!" he yelled, his staccato voice like a loud drum beating.

     "Whoa, whoa, stay down!" I yelled as he jumped up on me trying to get the mail. I flung the mail towards him and he caught the envelopes in his mouth, but he knocked me over in the process.

     "Bye Mail-Ixi!" the Gelert yelled and trotted into the house. I got up from the ground and brushed myself off. Muttering to myself, I picked up my carrying bag and started back down the street.

     An hour later, the remaining houses had been knocked out, with only one more to go. This house had a very big yard and a beautiful garden. A green Lenny was watering the flowers and when she saw me, she grinned.

     "Hello there, Paul." Her voice was cheery and bright, "Anything for me today?"

     "Yes, a postcard," I said monotonously. I took a step into the lawn, but-

     "Grrrrrrr."

     There was a little Puppyblew tied to the garden fencepost. His little teeth were barred and a low growl made his whole body vibrate. I mumbled a, "Holy Fyora," and tried to take a step closer to the Lenny.

     "Arf, arf, arf, arf!" he barked, and his nose was just a few feet from me. The petpet was straining at the leash, his little eyes red.

     "Ripper, don't be so rude, now," the green Lenny cooed.

     I took a big step forward and quickly handed her the mail. Ripper lunged towards me, but he was a split-second too late. I managed to escape the jaws of Ripper, but tomorrow would be exactly the same horrible day. Not looking back, I walked all the way home.

     ***

     There were some days when I longed to see my small house on Soup Alley. Today was one of those days.

     I turned the knob and stepped into the kitchen. My empty carrying bag slid off my shoulder and I tossed my hat onto the counter. I went into the living room and collapsed into the Kau Print sofa. My little brother Davie came in.

     "Hi Paul, how was your day?"

     "Horrible," I turned my head to look at the green Kacheek. "It couldn't have gone worse."

     "Oh come on," Davie said, leaning on the armrest, "it couldn't have been that bad."

     I moaned dramatically and replied, "First, that Bori got my name wrong twice… again. Today she called me Peter and Preston. She can remember that I'm the Mail-Ixi and her aunt Gertrude is visiting Mystery Island, but she can't remember my name. Next, that frisky Gelert who lives with his owner knocked me down. Then, that Puppyblew called Ripper would have tore me to shreds if he hadn't been on his leash. Yeah, I had a bad day."

     "That's too bad," Davie patted my arm. Then the Kacheek's tone brightened. "Don't worry, I'm sure tomorrow will be better."

     I ended up falling asleep on the couch, wondering if what Davie said was true.

     ***

     "…So next you add just a little bit of chopped onions, it really gives it a nice flavor…"

     I stood in the walkway of Penelope's house, listening to another one of her rambles. So far this wasn't better... it was the same. Everyday the Bori had something new to drag on about. Today was the recipe of something she was cooking on the Faerie Stove.

     "Okay, thank you," I said quickly, slipping away. I turned and continued down the street.

     "All right! See you tomorrow, Percy."

     I winced, not even caring to correct her. The second house that had always given me problems was the spotted Gelert's house. The poor Neopet was always so excited to get the mail for his owner. She may have thought that he was just being polite, but I found it hazardous.

     "Paul the Mail-Ixi!" the Gelert yelled at the front door. He giggled, "I've been waiting for you all day."

     "I'm sure you have," I replied stiffly.

     I handed him the mail, hoping that he wasn't going to start jumping. The Gelert flipped through it with a spotted paw. "Oh my gosh!" he exclaimed."A letter for me! Thanks, Paul, thanks!"

     That got him going. He started yelling and running around me in circles. The Gelert finally darted inside, completely forgetting to close the door behind him.

     Well, that wasn't so bad, I thought.

     Everything was peachy after that. I casually dropped the mail into the slot of the house next to Ripper's. He must have heard me coming because I heard the clinking sound of his leash when I rounded the corner.

     The green Lenny was pulling weeds out of her garden, and Ripper was standing erect, with all of the fur sticking up on his back. It was then I noticed that he wasn't on a chain. The clinking sound I heard was coming from the two metal shovels that the Lenny was holding.

     Ripper growled deep in his throat as I approached her.

     "Good afternoon," she said in her pleasant voice.

     I wanted to run and completely forget about the mail that was supposed to be delivered to her today. But I couldn't. If it wasn't delivered, I would probably get fired. Cautiously, I took a step towards her, just as Ripper took a step towards me.

     I drew in a deep breath, my red hooves shaking and handed the green Lenny the mail. It barely touched her wingtips, but she was able to snatch it up. I grinned to myself, totally content and walked out of the yard.

     I looked back at Ripper, who was now lying down by the chain. That went better than I expected… I thought triumphantly. But all of the sudden-

     "Ouch!" I heard a crunch under my hoof. I looked down and massaged my hoof where I have stepped on something. I picked up the object that was now broken in two. It was a brown Puppyblew bone. From the corner of the house came a growling sound.

     I slowly turned to look over at Ripper. His sharp little teeth were bared.

     "Wait, wait fella, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"

     "Arf, arf, arf, arf, arf!"

     Ripper shot towards me and I darted down the sidewalk. The Puppyblew was gaining on me. Ixis aren't the best runners, but I was moving pretty fast. Behind me, I heard the Lenny's shouts for Ripper to come back.

     As I entered an area with lots of big trees, I desperately tried to watch where I was going, while keeping an eye on Ripper's distance. I slowed to a jog, completely out of breath and felt Ripper nip at my hooves.

     "Ahh!" I yelled as the two of us shot through a clearing. I could see our brown fence some twenty feet ahead. I sprinted towards the fence, totally exhausted and leapt. I landed towards the top of it and felt a stinging sensation in my leg. I swung both of my legs over and landed on the grass. The pain in my left leg was even worse now, from the fall.

     I heard Ripper yapping away at the fence, but there was no way he could get inside. Not really caring if the Lenny was coming to fetch him, I limped into the house.

     ***

     Shortly afterwards, Davie helped me wrap my leg. He said it was probably just a sprain, but I wouldn't be able to go back to work for a week. The Kacheek said not to worry, because he talked to my boss at the Neopia Central Post Office and they were able to replace me with a Meerca for the rest of the week.

     I leaned back on the sofa, my leg propped up on some pillows. It looked a little swollen because of the white bandages, and the pain wasn't so bad. Davie brought me a glass of water and I thanked him.

     "Look at it this way," he said, "at least you'll be taking a week off from being a Mail-Ixi."

     This made me smile: for a whole week no more Penelope forgetting my name, hyperactive Gelerts or extremely fast Puppyblews on my tail. I could spend a total of seven days relaxing on the couch without having to be a Mail-Ixi. It certainly was a good thing!

     The first three days were, perhaps, the best day's I've had since I started being a Mail-Ixi. I read some of my favorite Ixi books and played cards with Davie. Time passed by slowly, from dawn, breakfast, lunch, dinner and night. I thought it was nice that I didn't have to run down to the post office and pick up the mail every morning, or walk around in the heat to deliver it.

     On the sixth day, Davie and I were talking. He said,

     "If you would have showed up at the Bori's door a few days ago, I wonder what she would have called you."

     I couldn't help but laugh, "I don't know. Probably Patrick… or Pedro or something." We both laughed. I continued, "And she'd probably spend an hour telling me about what she saw in Neopia Central this morning, or how her aunt Gertrude is back from Mystery Island."

     There was a pause when I took a sip of water. I leaned back a little further on the Kau Print sofa and said, "I bet the spotted Gelert was surprised when he saw a Meerca coming to deliver the mail. I would've given anything to see the look on his face."

     Davie laughed, "Well, he's always excited to see you. He looks up to you… like I do."

     "I guess," I said, and my tone changed immediately, "but he can be so annoying. Like that Puppyblew." I chuckled, remembering him chasing me down the street and into my own backyard. "Dumb petpet…" I chuckled again, finding the situation funny.

     "Your leg looks better," said Davie, who had unwrapped it the previous night. Concern filled his eyes, "How's it feeling?"

     "Pretty good," I said, standing up to test it. It felt almost back to normal.

     "Maybe you can go back to work tomorrow?"

     "Don't rush me," I answered quickly, "we'll see…"

     ***

     The next day dawned bright and early. I decided to get out of the house and stretch my legs. I ended up walking to the Post Office and picking up my bag of mail for the day.

     I returned home and set the bag on the counter. My light blue shirt was hanging in my closet waiting for me. My small hat was in its usual spot. I put it on and looked at myself in the mirror. A very handsome and happy red Ixi looked back.

     I smiled to myself and left the house.

     A few minutes later, I faced the long strip of Wishing Well Drive, with its sixty-seven houses gleaming in the sun and waiting for me. They all had the same cutesy appearance, freshly trimmed lawns and sweet-smelling flowers.

     I sighed and adjusted the full bag on my shoulder. "It's good to be back."

     There was a little skip to my walk today as I headed up towards Penelope's yellow house. I pulled out her mail and knocked on the door. There was a short pause until it opened.

     "Why, Patrick," she said cheerily, "it's good to have you back! I missed you. Don't get me wrong, that little Meerca came and did well, but it just wasn't the same."

     I nodded and handed her the envelopes, expecting some tedious story about random stuff.

     "Thank you," Penelope took the mail. "Well, I guess I'll just let you go today, I'm sure you want to say hello to many others." I nodded numbly, not believing that she'd let me leave without hearing a story. But she did. I walked away and she called after me, "Take care, Pedro!"

     I could only grin. "See you tomorrow!"

The End

Author's Note: Thanks a million for reading. As always, feedback and comments are appreciated! ~Playmobil_is_my_life           

 
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