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|Posted on January 20, 2013 at 11:50 PM|
This week's word is "package."
The Unopened Box
E. A. Irwin
Barbara didn’t need the incessant ring of the doorbell adding another layer of nuisance to her already harried day. She gritted her teeth, and swallowed an obscenity after banging her hip on the edge of the foyer table she’d tried to avoid when rushing to the front door. A delivery boy, sporting a wide grin upon her opening the door, only heightened her need to scream.
“Wait a minute,” Barbara grabbed her handbag off the table and dug through it with clumsy fingers, “let me give you a tip.” She withdrew a crumpled bill, and jammed it in the boy’s hand in exchange for the package he held.
He slowly smoothed the dollar and offered her another grin. “Thanks, ma’am.”
Barbara scowled at the offending table as she placed the package on it, and then limped toward the washer’s ongoing nagging buzzer. Why couldn’t that have been the repair man instead of some silly kid with an equally goofy smile? She ran her hands through her disheveled hair, and dashed from the foyer, the unopened box evaporating from her thoughts, as her attention honed in on the potential flood in the basement due to the overflowing washer.
She worked throughout the remainder of the day in a state of oblivion. How many chores could she finish in the few hours left before she met her husband for dinner? The telephone jangled a discordant tone, and threatened to splinter the last nerve in Barbara’s brain. Her cries echoed through the empty rooms. “Will this day never end?”
After a quick shower and donning a soft blue dress, Barbara made one last adjustment to her lipstick before hurrying out the door for her much anticipated anniversary dinner. She saw the parcel’s reflection in the foyer mirror, and realized she’d never opened it.
She tore off the paper. Dug inside the package, and extracted an exquisite cloisonné music box. Opening the card, Barbara read these words: “They are playing our song.” She sighed as she wound the key and listened to the tinkling love song.
Her sigh ended in a frown when she looked at her watch. Gathering her purse and coat, she slammed the front door, and ran to her car. As she opened the car door, an explosion rocked her home. She stared in disbelief as the front door shattered and her house blew apart in a violent shower of burning wood and blackened bricks. She’d wanted the day to end. But not this way. Not with her death.
* * *
To this day, the bomb remains an unsolved mystery.
A disconnection of dots.
A delivery from a dyslexic teen.
Received by an inattentive woman.
The intended victim—at the correct address—now under witness protection.
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