Getting the Mail

by Margaret Ruehle

It was supposed to be easy. It was the simple everyday task of getting the mail out of the mailbox. One day, however, getting the mail was not so easy for a boy named Jack. One morning he walked outside his house and down the driveway to get his mail. It was snowy and cold that morning and he put his hand in the mailbox. When he did so his hand felt really warm. He thought that was really strange. He took his hand out and looked in the mailbox to see what was creating the warmth. Just as he was about to look inside, a blazing fire thrust out of the mailbox along with a talking cat.

"Sorry about that." The cat said as he looked at Jack. "I couldn't keep the fire under control again. Where is that Hal? Man. Hal!"

As the cat was looking for Hal the mailbox flashed and a man dressed in medieval knights clothing popped out. He was riding on a horse.

"Wherefore art thou Harold?" The knight yelled and then he rushed up to Jack. "Wherefore art Harold?" the knight asked. Jack just looked at him.

The cat came over and grabbed Jack from behind. "Maybe you could help me tend the fire. You look like a human."

The knight grabbed Jack from the other side. "Thou musteth help me find Harold."

Jack was being pulled from both directions when suddenly the mailbox flashed again. This time one of those flying dinosaurs came out and grabbed Jack by the hair. It didn't say anything, but totally un-human sounds. Now poor Jack was being pulled from three directions. "Thou musteth help me find Harold!"

"You need to help me with the fire!"


Another flash came from the mailbox. A guy dressed in a disco suit came out.

"What happened to the music?" He went up to the knight and hit his suit. The knight still holding his grip on Jack turned around and looked at disco man. He stuck his javelin at him and said, "Dost thou knoweth where Harold is?" Disco man just looked at him and said, "What?!!!!"

The dinosaur bird flew up and they all went flying. Jack screamed. The knight started jabbing his javelin everywhere with Disco man hanging off it. Another flash came from the mailbox. Jack could see a bear below. The bear started eating his bike. He didn't know what to do as he was floating in mid air. The cat held his grip screaming the whole time about how Hal should've just done the fire himself and that he wished man hadn't taught cats to talk and make fires. The knight just kept trying to hit the dinosaur with his javelin while Disco man started to do disco moves because he decided he couldn't do anything else. Meanwhile the bear just chomped away at one of the tires of Jacks bike. The dinosaur landed and let go of Jack. It smashed the kitchen window with it's wing and then it tried to eat the car parked in the driveway. It didn't succeed in actually consuming the car but it did put dents in the car and all the windows broke and it managed to turn on the left blinker and the car alarm. Jack was still being pulled from both sides by the cat and the knight. Finally Jack tried to take control of the situation.

"I don't know where Harold is and I'm not allowed to play with fire!" The cat let go and stared at him. The knight didn't let go. He didn't understand. "Harold is where?"

Jack realized he had to try to speak like the knight in order for the knight to understand him. "I knowest not."

"Thou knowest not. Well if thou seest him tellest me right away. I shall now goest and preparest our supper." The knight went straight for the bear who started to run away with a tire in his mouth.

The cat just looked at him. "You don't know how to make a fire? But you are certainly old enough to know how. You're parents must not know the code for knowing how to make fires. We don't live in the 21st century anymore. This is the year 65,000,000 AD."

"No it's not." Jack said. "This is the year 2005."

"Oh. I must have gotten myself stuck in one of those weird time holes. Hal told me about those."

Suddenly the dinosaur bird squawked and picked up what was left of the bike and disappeared with a flash of light. The cat hissed and was enveloped with a flash of light. Disco man just kept on dancing and the knight and bear came flying back. Jack was enveloped and they all ended up on the moon. They all had astronaut suits on and a man was walking across the moon with an American flag. "One small step for man, One giant leap for mankind." Then there was another flash of light and they were all in a crowd of people. There were knights in the middle having a joust and the knight that had shown up in Jack's yard found Harold. There was yet another flash of light. The cat ran over to a man and yelled at him. "Hal, you need to tend the fire now." Another light flash came and they were in a building and there were disco balls and music. Disco man began dancing. More light flashed. There were dinosaurs all over and the flying dinosaur flew away. There was another flash and Jack and the bear were in a forest and the bear walked away towards a creek with jumping fish. One last flash of light came and Jack was back in his yard with a wrecked alarming car and no bike.

Jack stood dumbfounded. All he had wanted was to get the mail.

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