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Postal Customers from Hell Version 3.0 - Arkham Asylum Escapees
Arkham Asylum Jailbreak - All in a Day's Work
In the DC Comics Universe, the Arkham Asylum for the criminally insane is a psychiatric institution that incarcerates the baddest of the bad. Most of Batman's most memorable foes have been housed there, and to say that these antagonists of the Caped Crusader were mentally unstable would be an understatement that would make even Captain Obvious curl up his eyebrows at you.
Unfortunately, the inmates of the Asylum often get the upper hand on the staff, who have often descended into madness themselves. It is not surprising, therefore, when every once in a while one of the completely loony prison guards leaves the gate propped open and dangerous crazies like the Joker, Riddler, and Two-Face come slithering down the hill to sneak back into the city limits of Gotham once more. Even though you might think that revenge upon the Dark Knight might be their first order of business, this is not often the case. As any American Letter Carrier of three months or more in service will tell you, it is the postal employee that is usually first on the firing line against the mentally deranged, and once they've worked over your mailman or mail-lady they usually don't have the strength left to deal with Batman and straggle back to Arkham voluntarily.
So here is a short list of two of the most notable lunatics that have gotten loose from your local mental institutions and have turned up on the streets of America to antagonize the men and women who deliver your mail . From my place among the ranks of those who wear Postal Blue I encounter the criminally insane on a near-daily basis, so I will regale you here with a couple of my own encounters, taken from the now declassified back pages of the Arkham files.
Blame the Pope
Postal Customer 3.1 - All Roads Lead to Rome
If you routinely shop your local haberdashery for shiny aluminum foil hats that are designed to block the evil thought control waves being beamed at the Earth from the inner planets of Alpha Centauri, then the Pope-Postmaster conspiracy might be just the thing you need to ensure free food and lodging for life at your favorite state controlled mental health care facility. Indeed this is such a refreshingly unique flavor of insanity that only the wacky article I wrote about it a month or so ago shows up on the search engines. One would think that basically owning this search term might turn out to be a free-lancing gold mine for me, but the problem is that there is only one person on the Earth who regularly searches for it.
I met Mr. ARLTR (All Roads Lead to Rome) quite by chance one day when he pulled a Harry Houdini and managed to unbuckle himself from his straight jacket. When I walked up to his mailbox I found him leaning against his truck, which was parked on the lawn, from where he was nodding at me in a very knowing fashion, a suspicious expression leaking out from beneath his bushy eyebrows.
"So I heard you guys are going to launch the revolution," Mr. ARLTR told me. Since I had never met him before, this seemed a peculiar way to begin our relationship.
Assuming that this was an insider mailman joke that must be in reference to something he read in the papers, I gave Mr. ARLTR a polite courtesy laugh and threw his letters in the mailbox. But Mr. ALRLTR was not laughing, and he was not finished yet. He went on to tell me that the Postmaster General was the most powerful man in the country, and I guess by association we postal workers of America were all blindly lined up in the ranks behind him, awaiting his order to launch the uprising that would give him total control.
I assured Mr. ARLTR that letter carriers are not fond of this present postmaster who is closing post offices and processing plants all over the country, eliminating jobs, and doing his best to get rid of Saturday delivery. But he evidently did not hear me, did not care, or both,
"The Postmaster is in league with the Pope," he told me. When I looked confused he went on to explain "Haven't you ever heard that expression All roads lead to Rome?" Then he nodded even more deeply, as if he had just unleashed the blockbuster bomb of argument enders.
Sometimes when cast adrift in the swirling tsunami of mental turmoil people will clutch desperately onto an old adage like this as if it were a florescent orange life ring. Then they won't let go of it, no matter what, because it brings a measure of stability into their muddled world. To Mr. ARLTR the saying "All roads lead to Rome" explained everything that was wrong on the planet, and I guess he expected me to blindly go along with it as well.
But truth is I had not heard about this revolution. Apparently I missed that stand-up talk on the workroom floor. I didn't know who it would benefit, or what specific role the Pope, acting in accordance with the Postmaster, was going to play in the upcoming struggle. Maybe the two men were really one and the same, or were perhaps interchangeable. Could it be that the Postmaster might be saying holy mass in St. Peters next Sunday while the Pope was giving testimony in front of the Postal Rates Commission? I was a little befuddled, and a nervous laugh escaped me as I began to retreat cautiously from Mr. ARLTR's property.
That was a mistake. "I'm going to sick my dog on you," he said, and the growl in his voice told me he wasn't joking.
The reason I think I've lived to the ripe old age of 50 is because I've learned that you can't subdue craziness, and the best thing to do is just run from it. After I scurried back to the mail truck, however, I noticed that one of Mr. ARLTR's outgoing letters was missing a stamp. I probably would have just thrown it in with the outgoing mail anyway and gone on my way, not wanting to take my chances on another volatile encounter, but when I looked down the street toward the cul de sac where he lived I saw that his truck was gone.
The little wheels in my own rather off kilter head began to spin madly as I thought of a devious trick to play on Mr. ARLTR, who I was sort of angry with now that he had threatened to snuff out this particular revolutionary soldier via dog mauling.
With my own little lunatic's grin I wrote the letters PSP next to the stampless space in the upper right hand corner of the letter, which in the secret code of the revolution stood for POPE SAYS PAY. I then dumped the letter back in Mr. ARLTR's mailbox and drove away quickly before the hounds were unleashed.
I'm sure he's still wracking his brain over that one, and it probably hasn't done much to calm his fears about the upcoming revolution. Meanwhile, in the halls the Vatican, or perhaps behind the secret doors of Postal HQ at 1 L'enfant Plaza, Pope Francis and PMG Donahoe continue to conspire and connive while their private blue clad army lies eagerly in wait.
Another satisfied postal customer?
Postal Customer 3.2 - Mommie Dearest
Motherhood is not an easy job, I'll give you that. Mothers spend countless hours losing sleep walking the floor with a sick child or sacrificing their own well being to make sure their children are properly fed or otherwise cared for, and this extra self sacrifice probably totals into months or years over the course of a child's upbringing. Most mothers deserve medals, that's for certain.
But some Mothers probably should have never been given the job in the first place, because a handful become so insanely obsessive and possessive about their kids that Joan Crawford routinely calls them for tips on how to correctly administer "tough love." A few of our more notorious letter carrier harassing Arkham escapees fall into this category.
As a case in point, a couple of weeks ago now I went to a trailer on one of my routes to have a signature confirmation package signed for. A man who was approximately 45 to 50 years old, roughly my age, answered the door. The package turned out to be for him so I asked him to sign for it. All standard procedure.
"I better tell my Mom," he answered sheepishly, a comment that sort of jolted me to attention a little bit, because up until that point everything had been strictly routine. I could tell the man was perhaps a little bit slow on the uptake, but I've turned mail over to adults who were definitely farther out there in outer space than he was and I really didn't have time for this nonsense.
"Why do you need to get your Mom?" I asked, perhaps a bit impatiently. "The package is for you. You can sign for it."
Looking around on all sides for signs of trouble, he then proceeded to put his signature on the slip in stealthy, conspiratorial fashion, as if he had never dared to take such a great risk before. Glancing at the signature as I took it from him, I observed that it was very neatly written out, definitely not the illegible scrawl that one might expect from a mentally incompetent person.
I went back to the vehicle, tucked away the slip, and thought nothing more about it as I went on my way.
As I was leaving the trailer park about an hour and a half later a red van pulled up quickly alongside me. It turned out to be the field trip bus used by those Arkham inmates whose good behavior is rewarded with an excursion to the museum or the zoo. In the passenger's side of the van was that same man who had signed for his own package earlier, and in the driver's seat was the mother from hell.
"Mommie Dearest" got out of the van and rushed toward me with that ticking time bomb of a package in her hand. As she reached the driver's side of my postal vehicle she pointed a stern finger at the label on the mail piece. "What does that say? What does that say?" she then shouted, as if she were scolding a capricious five year old for throwing his tippy cup of milk against the wall instead of a fifty year old Mailman who was just trying to dodge the crazies and make it home alive one more time.
I shrugged my shoulders and stated the obvious. "It says signature confirmation."
"Well, he is not authorized to sign for these," Mommie Dearest growled, as if there was some sort of hidden encoded message in the Signature Confirmation bar code that would obviously clue me in to this esoteric knowledge.
"How am I supposed to know that?" I asked. After the fact, I thought of a few better things I could have amended to this question, like "Do you have a court order that verifies he can't sign because the mail is addressed to him and belongs to him?" or: "Did they do budget cuts over at the loony bin again which is why you're out running loose when you're obviously not cured?" But as usually happens in the heat of battle I found myself temporarily tongue tied.
"Well next time ask," she said, and feeling pretty satisfied with herself for having clearly pointed out what was only obvious in her own fantasy world, "Mommie Dearest" got back in the Arkham Asylum joy van and drove off before I could say anything else.
Going back to the station I shared this weird encounter with other letter carriers, a few of them who had met this darling "Mommie Dearest" in the past. They agreed that she was indeed a piece of work, and told me her claim was that her son had the mentality of a five year old and was unable to do anything for himself.
I wondered if this was true, or if it was just a story that "Mommie Dearest" had concocted and force fed down the throat of her son to convince him that he would never survive in the cruel world on his own; all done in a desperate effort to forestall the miserable, friendless loneliness her charming personality would undoubtedly condemn her to if her son ever stood on his own feet and left home.
I was also told that "Mommie Dearest" was "terminal" and could go any minute, but when I queried about this further it turns out she's been "terminal" for about twenty years now, and this is probably just another sob story invented to keep her "boy" at home. From my brief experience, I judge "Mommie Dearest" to be plenty healthy, because she is about as feisty and unapproachable as a wolverine with its leg stuck in a trap.
The real victim of Mommy Dearest's insane rampage is not me but her son, who will never get any happiness out of life as long as she walks the earth. In this vein, a few of my coworkers and I have been plotting among ourselves to bust this poor guy out and take him across the state line. We're thinking he might enjoy a little place over there where there are plenty of nice ladies who definitely will not treat him like a five year old.