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It was a blustery evening in late October when a visitor called by the restaurant after hours, claiming to have a package for a Miss Jeri Katou. He was roughly eight and a half feet tall and had interesting taste in headgear.

Her face white above her checkered pajamas, Jeri had stumbled out the door before her father had a chance to slam it shut and alert the police, or maybe the military. Speechless, he and his wife could only watch as the behemoth handed off a nondescript cardboard box, his demeanor an almost comically polite contrast to his initial bravado.

Complimenting this exchange there was a brief and equally befuddling conversation; something about a delay, computer jargon, some sort of boat ("Ark?") ride, and there was somebody who'd worn themself out, apparently - although that could have been a joke, because Jeri peered into the box and laughed at that, breathlessly. After that the stranger turned to make his exit, but the little girl stopped him just long enough to ask about a letter or a message of some sort, and whether it had gotten wherever it was supposed to go. Red-faced and suddenly tongue tied, their visitor mumbled that it had, and something else that may have been a thank you, but she only smiled.

And then he was off, his great dark wings rattling the wind chimes on the porch, and Jeri went back inside, and there was a ball of snoozing white fuzz in the box, and that night, for once, she slept undisturbed.

 

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