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What if Cluster Mailboxes are Secretly Decepticons?
The beginning of it all...
The other night -- I don't recall if it was a Tuesday or a Wednesday -- I came home to find my wife gone and a note on the table that read:
"Dear, John." (Which is weird, because my name is Irvin.)
"I'm leaving you for the mailman. Don't follow me."
I knew it was a bogus letter the moment I read "mailman". I walked to the living room window and peered out at our 8 Door, Sandstone Cluster Mailbox perched innocently across the street. In the neighborhood park some distance behind, a little red-headed kid named Sammy climbed on the monkey bars. I've never liked Sammy.
I watched the mailbox for about an hour. Some folks came and went, getting their mail. Sammy's mom called him inside for dinner. Everything seemed normal.
But I knew then and there something wasn't right. Looking at the letter again and seeing my wife's scrawl, I suspected the truth...
My cluster mailbox was a Decepticon. And I was determined to prove it.
They convene by night, in the sleepiest rural neighborhoods
To prove to myself that I wasn't one screwdriver shy of a complete Craftsman Tool Set -- you know, the ones you get at Sears for $60 or something crazy cheap -- I decided to explore the different rural neighborhoods in my city.
All the neighborhoods had one thing in common: they had all been built within the past decade, and like any new residential development, they were required to have centralized mail delivery at convenient locations every few blocks.
After sunset, I spotted the first batch of mailboxes in front of a park, just like the ones across from my place. And I'll be downright darned if they weren't all lined up side by side in a phalanx, as if ready to unleash devastation on the unsuspecting homeowners across the street. I sometimes wonder what they were preparing to do, and what they would've done if I hadn't shown up.
Research & Investigation: The Cluster Mailbox was originally named "Deceptibox" by the USPS in 1967
I knew it wouldn't be enough to warn the masses and spread my suspicions, so I resolved to be as tactical as possible.
I went to the local library and got every book on cluster mailboxes and the USPS I could find. Turns out it was mostly boring stuff about regulation changes over the past thirty years or so. Nothing about Decepticons or conspiracies.
I slammed my fists on the table and shouted, "There has to be more!" That's when the librarian told me to leave. "Fine," I said. I felt like a failure as I walked out of the library -- and I began to wonder if maybe I wasn't being paranoid, after all.
That's when Homeless Joe stepped right in front of me, and for no apparent reason at all, said, "Did you know that the Cluster Mailbox was originally named 'Deceptibox' by the USPS in 1967?"
Homeless Joe often frequented the neighborhoods as a trash scavenger but on fortuitous occasions had been known to share nuggets of priceless wisdom with whoever happened to wander across his path.
I looked hard at him. "No," I said. "I had no idea."
He stared at me. "Who the hell are you?" he said. And then he stabbed me in the ribs with a wooden shiv.
I finally learn the truth...
Sixteen months later, I woke up from my coma.
And don't think I didn't have a moment where I thought to myself, "This is just like The Walking Dead. And I'm police officer Rick Grimes, about to look out the window and find that the entire human race has bowed down to the iron fist of the almighty Cluster Mailbox."
But I couldn't get up. Turns out a sixteen-week coma can really immobilize a person -- I'm honestly not sure how officer Grimes did what he did.
That's when Sally, my nurse for the past six months, walked in and found me awake. She was so happy she kissed me square on the mouth. I asked her if the Cluster Mailboxes made her do that, and she just kissed me again.
Turns out Sally had fallen in love with me over the past six months. After I got better, we got married at O'Houlihan's Irish Chapel in Pittsburg. Years later, I finally worked up the courage to tell Sally about my suspicions. I felt like we had been together long enough that I could finally confide in her my crazy and yet unshakable fear.
When I told her, she laughed and said, "Cluster mailboxes aren't Decepticons, you silly goose!" And then, without another word, she kissed me goodnight and turned out the lights for bed. I slept that night like I was back in my coma again. Sally had a way about making crazy things sound, well, crazy, once you heard her say it back to you.
When I woke the next morning, Sally was gone. I found a note on our breakfast table. It began, "Dear John..."
I know it was them. I know it was the Cluster Mailbox Decepticons.