A Cautionary- and True- Holiday Play
Ellen, the perky heroine
Edna, the seventy-five year old lifelong postal employee
Cliff, the Post Master
All the action takes place at Window Number One in a post office in a small town one hour west of Chicago.
Edna (wearily): Next.
Ellen (very chipper and upbeat): Hi! I was in here a couple of weeks ago and…
Edna (wearily): Yeah, I remember you. You’re the one who wouldn’t insure the package.
Ellen (very chipper and upbeat): Yep. That was me. Heh. Heh. Made a big mistake there. But the thing is that those two candles I was sending to my daughter-in-law in Seattle never made it. Someone stole the package, ripped out its contents, taped it back up and sent it back on its way. It got to my son’s house a week late and it was empty. See? He took photos.
Edna (wearily): Yeah, yeah, Well, it wasn’t insured so there’s nothing I can do about it.
Ellen (very chipper and upbeat): I understand that I can’t be reimbursed for the contents. I get that. All I want is my $13.75 for the original postage back. I have the receipt, see?
Edna (wearily): I can’t help you. You’ll have to go on line and fill out a form.
Ellen (very chipper and upbeat): I came in a week ago and filed a “missing package” claim when I stopped getting updates about the package’s whereabouts. A guy named Todd helped me fill out the request. Is he here today?
Edna (wearily): No. Go on line. Next.
Meanwhile a line of customers bearing Christmas presents is forming behind Ellen. And it’s starting to get longer- and unhappier- with each passing moment.
Ellen (very chipper and upbeat but sweating a little): I tried that already. I couldn’t complete the form because as soon as I filled in the field with the package’s tracking number the screen would freeze. It sent me a message that I couldn’t proceed any farther because the package was not insured. I tried it several times. Look, Todd called me yesterday and asked if it had been delivered. I told him it had been vandalized. He told me to come in and fill out a form. Are you sure he’s not around? I’d like my refund.
Edna (wearily): No. And I can’t help you. I can’t pay it out of my own pocket. Next.
Ellen (still chipper but getting desperate): This is ridiculous. I want my money back.
Edna (wearily): Next.
Ellen (resolute): I’m not moving. What if I didn’t have a computer? What did people do for refunds before there were computers? There MUST be a paper form to fill out. I want that $13.75.
The crowd is growing ugly. Phrases like “stupid tourist” and “cheap moron” are being mumbled.
Ellen (desperate but determined): I’m not leaving without my $13.75. This is an injustice. My gifts never arrived and I demand satisfaction. Don’t you people have an oath about “neither rain nor sleet nor snow” or something? Isn’t there anyone else I can talk to?
Edna (wearily pointing to the man standing immediately next to her behind the glass): Well, I guess I can ask Cliff seeing how you’re holding up the line and all. He’s our postmaster. Cliff, this woman wants a refund and she says she can’t go on line.
Cliff (opening the drawer NEXT to Edna and pulling out a piece of paper from a huge stack): Here. Have her fill this out and then give her the refund.
Edna (wearily shoving the form that has undoubtedly been sitting in that drawer next to her for the last fifty years): Here. Fill this out and I guess I can give you the money right outta this cash drawer.
Ellen (nervously eyeing the enraged crowd): I’ll be real quick.
The curtain falls as angry threats and unflattering epithets are heard throughout the lobby.
And this is a “finis” to my posts for this year, Dear Readers. Taking the holidays off. Wishing you a wonderful holiday and the happiest of New Years.
See you on Sunday, January 14, 2018.