Return To Sender Back

As Ulysses P. Smith careened off the top of the frozen waterfall, holding an unopened letter in one hand and a single, broken ski pole in the other, he reflected on the circumstances which had landed him in his current position, fifty feet above the side of a snowy mountain and facing the imminent prospect of an unfriendly meeting with the frozen ground below.


            Only a few hours prior, he had been quite content in his beloved post office, sticking stamps and sorting the outgoing mail, when he noticed a disturbance at the counter. A strange looking character with long hair and what appeared to be a parachute strapped to his back was waving a letter at Frank, the Customer Service rep, who was looking rather flustered. Ulysses stepped in to relieve him.


            “Hello. What seems to be the problem?” The man with the letter scratched his chin and frowned.


            “It’s just a simple question I’ve got here. Do you guys send?” Considering that the name of Ulysses’ business, ‘Mail Senders United’ was printed in large letters on the outside of the building and again directly behind the counter, he thought the question more on the asinine side of simple. He responded slowly, clearly doubting the soundness of this man’s mental state.


            “Of course. We send mail, receive mail, you name it.” The customer rolled his eyes and smiled a little, seemingly amused at the response.


“I know you send mail, man, but do you mailmen send?” Now Ulysses was confused. He looked to Frank, who only shrugged. When they both said nothing, the customer decided it was time to elaborate.


“Look, I’ve got this letter here for my buddy Steve, Steve Sender. And it’s gonna take a true sender to send this to Sender, if you catch my drift. He’s a little off the grid. I’d do it myself but I’ve got a date with a canyon that I don’t wanna miss.” He gestured at the parachute, as if it were a perfectly respectable excuse. “So what I’m wondering is, do any of you mailmen actually get personally sendy? You know, send it; stick the line, take the plunge, push the limits?”


Ulysses did not know, nor did he catch any kind of drift besides the implication that he was not a “true sender”, whatever that meant. He resented this – his family had delivered mail for generations, and a personal delivery was nothing terribly unusual, if the circumstances required, even if the location was “a little off grid”. There was nothing Ulysses P. Smith couldn’t send. He told the stranger as much, and this seemed to satisfy him.


“Awesome, thanks man. Here’s the directions to Steve’s place.” He handed Ulysses a list of directions and ran out the door.


Despite the elaborate and rather extraordinary nature of the directions, Ulysses was determined to send this letter and uphold his reputation. He followed them faithfully even when they led him up a mountainside, growing more determined all the while. Finally, he found himself facing a battered pair of skis at the top of a steep slope, staring at the final instruction: “Put on the skis. Point downhill. Send the cliff.” He steeled his nerves, finally comprehending the stranger’s words and resigning himself to his fate. He put the skis on, pointed downhill, and sent himself off the edge of the frozen falls.


Later that day, Steve Sender opened the letter he found in his mailbox. It read simply:

“Sup Steve.

P.S. Hope the mailman can send it.”

            And in the end, Ulysses did send – the letter and the cliff – and lived up to his reputation, a reliable sender through and through.