The Strangest Thing

News: the rewrite on my book is done. Which should in theory mean flags in the streets, a day of national celebration and a letter from the Queen, but what it actually means is a general sense of “Oh blimey, what the hell do I do now?” Combine this with my general habit of getting somewhat downcast once any major project is finished, and I could easily have gotten hopelessly miserable last night – but instead, I headed straight into town and watched Drag Me To Hell at the cinema. Had a fantastic time, although it’s a gleefully odd movie – it’s almost a fantastically well-crafted grim and doomy old-school horror movie in the vein of Night of the Demon, but with lots of Raimi’s patented cartoony ultraviolence and viscera sandwiched in. It’s easy to tell that he’s been missing this kind of thing – there are moments in the film that certainly get close to the demonic energy of Evil Dead 2, and the impression is that of a director letting his hair down and really having fun. The only trouble is that the cartoony stuff really doesn’t sit well with the rest of the story – it’d be rather like interrupting Evil Dead 2 every ten minutes to try and deal with Ash’s psychology or background. Evil Dead 2 works so well because it’s an unashamed cartoon, and here it’s bolted to a story of slow-burning menace and dread, meaning it’s a bit bizarre when we’re suddenly in the realm of bonkers Evil Dead-style seances and seeing how many horrible liquids can be thrown all over Alison Lohman. But it’s far more exciting and enjoyable than any of the bland PG-13 horrors that have come our way, and far more interesting than yet another exercise in Torture Porn.

This morning – well, this morning I discovered that while most Postmen may be fine upstanding fellows, there’s at least a couple who are bold-faced liars. Last week, I came home from a walk in the park to see a postman outside my front door, in the proces of doing something with a parcel. Now, I presumed he was filling out one of those “Sorry you weren’t in” cards, and rushed up to take possession of the parcel, which it turned out was for Anna. Thanks were said, and I went inside to find more envelopes waiting on the doormat – and a “Sorry you weren’t in” card with my name on it. There were some parcels I was expecting (although I wasn’t expecting them quite this quickly) so I immediately rushed along to the postman who was only a few doors away and asked about the relevant parcel – and he looked at me and said something along the lines of “Oh, that was for the one I gave you.” At this point, I figured “Oh – how annoying” and went back home. I’m very English, and it’s very easy when given an explanation like that to think “Well, I guess that explains it…” and it’s only until later that thoughts like “Yes, but why would he have written my name on it?” came to mind. It was odd, but I didn’t really figure anymore about it. Anyway, one of my parcels turned up the day after, and another one the day after that, so all appeared to be well. All that was left was the biggest parcel, the one from Amazon.co.uk.

By the time it got to Wednesday, I was thinking “Hmm…” because they can sometimes be late, but they don’t normally take this long. By the time it got to Friday I was thinking “Grrr…”, and my thoughts returned to that card. Thankfully, I’d been sensible and not thrown it away. The Sorting Office where parcel pick-ups happen is a good twenty-five minute walk from my house, and it’s often a place where you’re greeted with a truly terrifying queue, so it wasn’t something I was relishing, especially when there was every chance that it was just a mistake and that I’d go there and be greeted by a “Huh?” when I presented the card. Anyhow, as I’d gotten into the habit of waking up very early, the idea occurred that I could head along there early – especially as it’s open at 7AM. So, this morning I did that very thing, walking through the rainy streets of Manchester, figuring I was wasting my time, I got to the office… and moments later the parcel was in my hand. The bugger lied. I’ve encountered this once before – Postmen on our round do occasionally seem to like the idea of leaving the heavier parcels in the van and posting “Sorry you weren’t in” cards through the door without actually knocking first. I’m glad I got the package, and I didn’t need it urgently – but rather unhappy that it sat in an office for a whole week when it didn’t need to.

And now, having vented, I shall sit in a corner and read some more Jack Kirby comics. Hurrah!

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