When we last convened, Mrs. HM had been called to the front door of the Mansion by the seldom-heard doorbell.
Let the record show that it was 10:30 a.m., that I had only been up for an hour, I was still in blue pajama bottoms sporting golden stars and moons, paired with a white and purple pinstriped short-sleeve button-up shirt, no shoes or socks, with a semi-bad case of bedhead.
Of course I went right to the door and flung it open. In retrospect, this was not a smart move in this isolated area, for a woman of questionable years, not fleet of foot, untrained in the martial arts or weaponry, with her stout husband at locations unknown. While you may think Mrs. HM is a suspicious sort, she has more than once been deemed too trusting.
A young man of early 20s stood on the front porch. A tall stringbean of a young man, in a brown uniform, clutching an electronic gewgaw which he thrust in my direction.
"Uh...I was here yesterday...and I left a box. I need a signature. I was just unloading it, looking around for dogs, and I left it. But I should have gotten a signature. It's really important...if you could do that for me. Uh...and I have to scan the box..."
Well. There I was, sans foundation garments, vulnerable to robbery and mayhem, with a box weighing 50 pounds under my kitchen table, that this kid needed to scan.
"That was a box of wine."
"Oh. I knew it was wine."
"It was supposed to go to Kansas City."
Not that such a fact mattered to Young Brown, because he was only delivering it to the address on the box, not his problem, his being the fact that he'd dumped that box without a signature, maybe because he was afraid of dogs in the dark, maybe because he was running late on his route, and wanted to get home.
"So...can you sign for me? It will save my skin!"
"Sure, I'll sign. On your gadget there?"
"Well...I have to scan the box."
No way was I traipsing him through my living room and kitchen. The less he saw of my Mansion, the better.
"You'll need to come around to the kitchen door. Just go that way, halfway around. You'll see it."
I'm pretty sure he was worried about dogs, but they were over at the Freight Container Garage with Farmer H, I learned later. I'm thinking Young Brown's heart probably skipped a beat when he saw Juno's giant dog house right by the kitchen door. Anyhoo...I let him in to scan the box. Which I left under the kitchen table. No way was I going to drag out a 50-pound box because HE had made a mistake. Though I DID offer him the option of dragging it out himself. But he just leaned over and stuck his scanner in there. Twice.
Good thing I altered that picture in Paint, and didn't actually blot out the bar codes with a marker!
Young Brown then handed me his electronical signing thingy.
"Do you have a pen?"
"Uh. No. I left my stylus out in the truck. Here. Just use your fingernail."
As you might imagine, Mrs. HM's fingernail signature, while not wearing her glasses, was not something that Young Brown could decipher.
"Can you spell your first name for me? And the last?"
Yeah. I saved Young Brown's skin. Or at least his job, maybe. He's been out here before. He's the one who left Genius's gift wallet made of Bison leather, monogrammed, with RFID blocker, from Sharper Image, propped against the front door, last Christmas, when Jack ate 1/3 of it before I got home.
You'd think this kid would have learned something by now, especially since we filed a complaint and tried to get our money back from UPS for their slipshod delivery methods. To no avail, of course. Surely they at least made a mention to him about the incident.
Then again...he DID say I would save his skin by signing. Maybe he's on double-secret probation.