Our dear friend EmBee was terrorized again overnight.
I noticed on my way home this afternoon, after dropping The Pony at his Grandma's house to spend the night. I was not really looking for a crime scene. I was checking out all the mailboxes to see if I could ascertain whether the mail had been delivered yet. Folks in town complain to the Hillmomba Daily News that their bills are still being pushed through their mail slots at 9:00 p.m., by carriers wearing headlamps. As I got closer to the Mansion turnoff, I observed the pristine mailboxes of yesterday listing awkwardly. The very mailboxes I had commented about to The Pony several days ago. "You know, these mailboxes won't look this way by the end of the week. Two weeks off for Christmas vacation? The kids will be restless and turn to bashing." Am I psychic, or what?
The most disturbing sight was the newest house on the road, the one with the long driveway, which used to have a mailbox receptacle built like a brick sh--like a brick outhouse. It was actually made of brick, a pretty little thing, brick-enclosed support post, brick U-topped enclosure for the metal mailbox. Now it was crushed. No more U top. The bricks lay askew on the gravel, the metal dome of the crushed mailbox exposed. What hath thugs wrought?
I coasted down the hill toward our mailbox row. There she was. Our dear EmBee. She was whole! Sitting a bit sideways in her broken cubicle, but intact. Even her door was closed primly. Not so her cohorts. Because the thugs could not gain access for proper bashing, due to the individual wood apartments in which our mailboxes reside...they had wrenched the doors open and bent them down under. Not to Australia. Under the wooden floor of the apartments. Oh! The boxmanity!
I pulled the mail from EmBee and patted her on her thick green metal skin. There, there, dear. After stashing the mail in T-Hoe, who was parked in the blacktop roadway proper, I decided to take a photo. Unfortunately, I can't show it, as some addresses are evident. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom ain't havin' no stalker knock on her door.
My smart phone played dumb, and refused to acknowledge the touch of my cold, cold fingertip. I struggled to open the camera feature. What's that? The sound of car wheels on a gravel road. This won't do. What if somebody thinks I'm the one who crushed federal property? Or that I'm stealing mail. Somebody's Clearasil, perhaps. Or two boxes of just-published books. Still. I wanted that photo. The approaching auto stopped. The occupants got out. It was our down-the-hill neighbors. "Look! Look what they've done again!"
"Why do people have to be so destructive? What's a mailbox cost these days, twenty dollars? Even if you have to replace it a couple of times a year, that adds up. Is ours all right? Yeah. Just the door."
"You need to get Farmer H to make you one like ours. Not a scratch."
"Yeah. Farmer H said that one is gonna last. That'll send a vibration up some thug's arm! Hey! Is that our paper, or the free ones?" Mr. Neighbor climbed behind the mailbox apartment house, on the giant rip rap rocks put there by the county highway department due to flooding. "Do you want a free paper?"
"No thanks. You should see the brick mailbox over the hill. They knocked the crap out of it. A bat alone could not do that. They must have used a hammer."
"That guy should prosecute. I wish they could catch these thugs. You'd think the mail carrier would report it. He knows the boxes weren't like this yesterday."
"Yeah. But it's probably half his route."
"I know a guy who used a backhoe and put in a concrete pier. Then he enclosed the post and his mailbox in concrete. And you know what the postmaster told him? 'If somebody runs into that and is injured, YOU are liable.' Yeah. You can't catch a break these days."
"I know. I've tried to turn in kids who bragged about mailbox thuggery. The first post office said the act occurred in another county. So I called them, and gave the names of the people who had poopy underwear stuffed in their box, and the name of the pooper. The post office said I would have to fill out a report. I didn't have time to drive over there and deal with it. You'd think they could have investigated. It's a federal crime, you know. And you can't even set up a game camera, because every car that drives by will trigger it."
"I've thought about putting a red light up in that tree. A red light that shines on the mailboxes. You can bet that they'll see a red light as they come down the hill, and think twice about messing with these mailboxes."
"Yeah. That might work. Let Farmer H know if you need any help."
Neighbors helping neighbors. Hillmomba Crime Watch. These neighbors are more mellow than the ones who would suggest sitting in a truck with a shotgun on Friday and Saturday nights.