Monday, 12 October 2009

MULTIPLY United Friends Challenge #187: Who sent it?????

Sumax's Challenge
A shoebox-size parcel is received in the mail. The handwriting is unknown to the recipient.
Write a short story telling us what the parcel contains, why it was sent, and who sent it?

No free samples or gimmick sales promotions allowed

Donald Grant opened the door to see who was there. It was the postman with a shoebox sized parcel, it was even registered. He signed, closed the door and put the parcel on the table. It was then that the problems began for Donald.

“Who would send me a parcel?” was his first thought. He had a closer look at the box. It had been wrapped carefully in brown packing paper, probably to ensure that it arrived safely and was also bound with string. He scrutinized the handwriting on the box, but was even more left in doubt, he just could not recognise it.

Donald was not used to receiving parcels, especially when they looked so anonymous. Of course, he got the usual rubbish from advertising companies and there was the odd item that he might have ordered, but this parcel was no such thing. It had no sender on it and the address was written in a bright red ink. He shook the parcel and it seemed that something inside was moving. It sounded like a single object, something quite hard.

“Shall I open it? No, I will have some dinner first. No good opening parcels on an empty stomach” and so he prepared a meal. He lived on his own in a small apartment, but he was a very neat person. He hated people that were messy. Just could not envisage that anyone could live somewhere that was not tidy. No, in Donald’s world everything was in its place.

Donald had never married, but this also had its reasons. There was just no woman good enough for his tastes. He had met a few, gone out with them, but he soon noticed that they were not up to his organised standards. All they had to do was open their handbag and Donald could see how untidy the owner was. Generally when the lady had to search for something, perhaps a handkerchief, or her purse he felt sick just looking. No, he must have order in his life.

Another thing that really annoyed him were stains. You think you have found someone on your own level of intelligence and then taking a closer look you find that your date is wearing a blouse with a stain on the sleeve, or even worse on the collar. Such things should not be allowed.

After dinner Donald was just about to have a sleep when the parcel again caught his eye. Still on the table with an inviting shape as if saying “Please open me”, but Donald was tired.

It was soon evening and the parcel was still not opened.

“Donald don’t be silly” he said to himself. It is just a normal cardboard box, although the writing in red ink does look strange.

To take his mind off the unknown parcel, he decided to switch the television on. He just caught the news.

“Typical” he thought “what the human race is coming to” when they were bringing a report about a corpse that had again been discovered sitting on a park bench. It was the fifth found body found over the last six months. The strange thing was that the corpses were all so well organised. They were sitting nicely arranged and there were no clues, just a cut throat, but no blood. It seemed that the murderer had taken time to clean up the place of the crime.

Donald decided to change the television station and watch something more relaxing. He was annoyed but after changing through at least ten stations showing horror and murder, he eventually found something to his taste: a hospital series, showing his favourite nurses and doctors, all such nice clean antiseptic people.

He was getting ready for bed but then decided no, that parcel must be opened. If it was a time bomb it would have exploded some time ago. He removed the parcel to the kitchen and put his special rubber gloves on, after all you never know, perhaps someone was sending him some sort of powder infected with a virus disease. You just cannot trust anyone these days.

He took the scissors and cut the string and then removed the packing paper, folding it neatly, in case he might need it again. He also rolled the string into a ball and placed it in one of the drawers in the kitchen, where other such bundles of string were kept. The parcel was ready to be opened. He lifted the lid.

Now Donald’s problem was that he was one of those so called split personality types. Today he was honest organised Donald, going through his daily routine and keeping everything in order. When he sent himself the parcel containing the Swiss officer's army knife, covered in blood from his last victim, he was not Donald the nice, but his other half, Donald the ripper I suppose you could say. Donald the ripper would have recognised the handwriting on the parcel immediately, but, of course, Donald the nice did not know of the existence of his other half who also had a different style of writing. He was naturally horrified at what he found in the parcel.

When he woke up the next morning he took another look at the knife and cleaned it completely, he even sterilised it, he had to be careful with any evidence that could be found. “That will come in handy this evening” was his last thought. The box was still lying in the kitchen on the table; he just threw it onto the floor, not bothering about the mess

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