It Came in the Mail Katrina Barnes Macro-Fiction

map It Came in the Mail

by Katrina Barnes

Published in Issue No. 240 ~ May, 2017

“Darn Billy. Told him to stop sending me things,” I said to no one but myself, and the package that I eyed critically.

The package sat on my front porch, strapped to the gills with packing tape. The box itself was about three feet wide and two feet tall. What had that man sent this time?

In an effort to appease my mother I had looked into online dating, intending to use the fact that I’d joined and had an online profile as a way to say, “See mom, there’s still hope.”

I hadn’t taken into account that she’d want details about my date. “Where’d you go? How was the food? Will you see him again?” You see, I was going to make it all up, but then I thought, what could it hurt? Just one date, so that I could have some actual facts to share.

I’ll tell you what it could hurt. My remaining sanity, that’s what.

If I’d known, I’d get Billy out of my weak moment. Out of the need to get approval from my mother about my dating life, I’d have just said no, like the woman used to say about drugs, “Just say no.” I should have, but I didn’t. I went on the date and he showed up grinning at me like he’d won the lottery and I was the ticket. I should have bolted, but I didn’t. I stayed while he stared, and leered and leaned into my personal space.

A very stiff drink helped me through the appetizers, but when he asked what my policy was about sex during the first date, I picked my mouth up off the table, stood and excused myself. I assumed he thought I was going to the restroom.

Knowing there was nothing of the date to salvage, I headed straight for the front door. Once outside, I didn’t walk, I ran and thanked God that Billy wasn’t behind me and that he didn’t know any more about me than what my profile listed.

According to his profile, Billy was a successful lawyer, in his late thirties, never married, and no children. Of course, it also said he was looking for a long-term commitment. What showed up to dinner was a man not in his thirties and my best guess was that he hadn’t been in a while. The suit he wore wasn’t tailored as you might expect a lawyers to be and his white shirt had seen better days, and the kicker was the gold tooth that almost gleamed when he smiled.

You’re probably asking why I didn’t bolt when I first saw him. My only answer is stupid and stubborn. Too stubborn to tell my mom I couldn’t handle a date with someone like Billy, and too stupid to realize it didn’t matter.

When I got home that night, I deleted my profile. I thought I was free and clear until I found the first package. I was so freaked I asked my neighbor Don to open it for me. He burst out laughing at the tons of coupons inside for Dairy Queen Blizzards. The note from Billy, which included his address and phone number, let me know he was thinking of me. It turns out Billy lived on the next block and had been hoping to meet me for some time.

I started to open this latest package and then thought better of it. I picked up the phone and waited for the line to connect. “Hey Don, I got another one.”

“Yeah? I’ll be right over. Can’t wait to see what’s in there this time.”

“Thanks. Hey, Don?” I called out before he could hang up.


“You wanna get a Blizzard after?”

“Absolutely! I’ve been waiting for you to ask.”

As he hung up, I realized I got one good thing out of this whole disaster. I got to know Don better, and he certainly made things look up in my dating life.

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Katrina Barnes lives and works in Seattle, WA and loves to see stories come to life from everyday things. This is her first piece of published fiction.