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Signed Sealed Delivered

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Shen Wei stared at the parcel in his hands. Muted yellow packaging and bubble wrap, all concealing something that was only slightly smaller than a breadbox but a good deal heavier than he had expected when he first beheld it sitting amongst bills and junk mail.

 

It was addressed to:

Valued Customer

PO Box 2018

123 Main St. 

Dragon City South

 

The ink had smeared in places, barely legible. But if he learned anything as a professor it was to read the illegible. And while it was the correct PO Box number, this was not Dragon City South. And this most certainly wasn't his package. 

 

He looked up, helpless and confused, at the Postal Worker across from him. She blinked slowly at him with dead eyes and repeated her question.

 

"And what do you expect me to do about it, sir?"

 

Shen Wei took a deep breath.

 

"There's been a mistake-"

 

"That's impossible, sir. Our postal service is highly advanced," she stressed the 'highly', though it didn't give Shen Wei any greater faith in the Dragon City Postal Service.

 

He forced his best supportive-yet-stern-professor smile.

 

"Yes, I am sure it is. But this-" he held aloft the parcel, directing her eye to the address, "-is not mine. The address is all wrong, it says-"

 

"Sir, if it is in your PO Box, it is no longer Postal Service property and is therefore no longer our responsibility," she stated, obviously parroting some unbelievably dull training video.

 

She flicked her eyes behind him and he slowly glanced over his shoulder at the growing line of people. A very small, very old granny stood just behind him, holding a very small, very angry white dog. The granny smiled kindly but the dog was seething, his beady eyes piercing Shen Wei as though to say "get a move on already, weirdo". A baby started crying somewhere further back.

 

Shen Wei turned to the Postal Worker. He was getting desperate.  

 

"Listen, I just...it's not mine."

 

"It is now, sir-"

 

"Please, do I honestly look like the kind of man who would buy this?"

 

"Sir, what you do or do not purchase online is really none of the Postal Service's business-"

 

Before she could finish her spiel, he overturned the parcel, its contents falling with a strange crinkly clatter onto the counter. 

 

The Postal Worker blinked.

 

"Sir, are those-"

 

"Lollipops. Butterscotch Lollipops," Shen Wei stated, poking the cartoonish labels for emphasis, "4 bags. 50 count each. And most importantly, Not Mine."

 

The worker sighed.

 

"Sir, you may be unaware, but opening or intentionally causing damage to another person's mail is considered a jailable offense," she blinked, "Are you admitting to opening another person's mail, sir?"

 

Shen Wei closed his eyes.

 

This was going to be a long day.

 

-----------

 

Zhao Yunlan stared at the open parcel in his hand. Torn yellow packaging had been intricately re-assembled with packing tape, bubble wrap carefully folded, and secured around each bag of lollipops as though they were fine china. 

 

It was addressed to:

 

the intended recipient

PO Box 2018

123 Main St. 

Dragon City SOUTH

 

It was, more importantly, addressed from :

 

the unintended recipient 

PO Box 2018

123 Main St.

Dragon City NORTH

 

Alongside the lollipops was an envelope.

 

Zhao ripped it open, confusion and curiosity instantly heightened by the utterly perfect handwriting and ridiculously formal greeting.

 

To Whom It May Concern,

 

Due to a clerical error within the highly advanced Dragon City Postal Service, the package within which this letter is contained has been incorrectly delivered to me. 

Please accept my most sincere apologies for opening your parcel. I promise I have not partaken of a single piece, though the temptation was considered briefly. 

If it would not be too inconvenient for yourself, please grant me the courtesy of replying to my note. 

Fear not, I am not some perverted man with unsavory intentions. In truth, I am a man, but that is beside the point. 

I merely wish to be assured all 200 limited edition butterscotch lollipops have reached the correct recipient.

I eagerly await your reply.

Sincerely,

2018 Dragon City North

 

Zhao Yunlan blinked.

 

"What the fuck?"

 

-----------

 

Shen Wei hadn't expected a reply, but two days later, sitting in his PO Box amongst bills and junk mail, was a single parcel, postmarked Dragon City South.

 

It was a small envelope package, with a letter inside, alongside a single butterscotch lollipop.

 

The letter appeared to be no more than chicken scratch on a scrap of notebook paper. But its contents were oddly intriguing. 

 

2018 Dragon City North,

Dude. Who even writes like that anymore? Are you a million years old? 

Whatever, thanks for mailing my candy. I ordered it 3 months ago. I could have sworn it was lost at sea somewhere! Tragedy. These are the best things on the planet but they were discontinued in the 90s. 

I know, crazy for an almost 30-year-old dude to be this obsessed with candy, but I'm quitting smoking so my doc recommended it. Weird, right? 

Try one! They're sweet, like you ;)

Thanks again

2018 Dragon City South

P.S. please you have to tell me how old you are. Like legit, are you a vampire?

 

Shen Wei absently twirled the lollipop around in his fingers, its swirly patterned wrapper catching the florescent lights of the post office. 

 

He felt a smile grow on his lips. 

 

"Sweet, huh?"

 

And that’s how it started. Lollipops and Letters.