Monday, June 25, 2012

Lightening Flashes: Crumbs

I've been out of town for the weekend, and very busy in general, so to get back into the swing of words, I'm participating in this month's Lightening Snippets at Scribblings of My Pen and Tappings of My Keyboard. This event is basically a flash-fiction challenge. The Anne-girl assigns us a picture and challenges us to write a section that sounds to have been pulled out of the center of a larger story. Good practice and all that, right?

     Postcards were a marvelous invention. Some folk said they were the spawn of gossips and busybodies, but Harrison Jarvis thought of them as a godsend. Things weren't half as interesting in the Post Office as people thought; "Uncle Harry, tell us the news," the little Chirping Ones always said.
    Harrison Jarvis chuckled and slit the string holding together the day's mail with his rusty pocket-knife. Silly little Chirping Ones--silly little nephews and nieces who were good for nothing but stealing a man's heart out of his chest. No, the life of a post-master was ironically empty of crumbs to feed The Chirping Ones. Important correspondence, intrigues and scandals might slide through Mr. Jarvis' hands each moment of the day and he'd never know--people took such care sealing their letters. More's the pity.
    Mr. Jarvis shook his head and shuffled the drab mail into the worn, gray boxes. Seed catalogs for all the farming folk, and a package of Ginger's Optimistic Hair Dye for Mrs. Farquaharson. She bought it every six-month just as her hair was beginning to show indisputable signs of graying. Mr. Jarvis chucked the package into Mrs. Farquaharson's box and whistled an aimless tune. No. Not so much as a poppyseed to feed The Chirping Ones this evening. Pity, that. Mr. Jarvis took his duty as Uncle Harry warmly--he hated seeing the faces of The Chirping Ones turned away with reproof when he hadn't anything to feed them. But such was the life of a mailman in the United States Post Office. Privacy--bah. What the world needed was a few more tid-bits.
    But what was that? Mr. Jarvis' old heart beat a bit harder beneath his pocket-watch--beat nearly as fast as it had the day the Mayor had got a letter from the Governor--no, Mr. Jarvis' eyes had not deceived him. He pulled a slim post-card from the bottom of the mail-stack. The corners of his mouth crooked up into a leather-creased smile. A post-card, smelling of expensive cologne. The address written in a dashing, manly hand to one Miss Beatrice Lochlea--the beautiful Miss Beatrice who had a beau for every day of the week. Mr. Jarvis' keen and practiced eye scanned the small card, taking in  the few tender lines: love...eternal affection...Paris next spring...
    Oh yes. The Chirping Ones would be happy tonight.