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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)

TITLE: I Carry The Mail
By James Clem


This is the City, Las Vegas, Nevada. I work here, I carry the mail. (Dum De Dum Dum)

Itís 9:05 in the morning. The mail bins are loaded. Iím embarking on my normal route down 3rd Street.

My name is Jack Webber. Itís my job to make sure the mail is delivered through rain, snow, sleet or hail. Although truthfully, none of those are much of a problem in this city.

Itís 9:22 when I make my first stop at Calaveras Apartments. Statues of frogs are everywhere. I grab the top bin and hop down off the truck.

Calaveras is eternally hidden in the shade of towering high rise casinos just two blocks away. Most of the tenants are bar tenders, card dealers, and cocktail waitresses who work the odd hours serving drinks to people who come here with wide-eyed dreams of winning a big jackpot.

Iíve lived in Las Vegas all my life. People call it ďLost Wages,Ē ďthe City of Lights,Ē and ďSin City.Ē Thereís no place like it. Millions of people come here every year. Some little old lady will go home to Pasadena with a check for ten million dollars. Sheíll discover more friends and relatives than she ever knew she had. Others will just go home with their pockets a little lighter.

I donít play the slot machinesÖ or cards or dice. Very few of the locals do as a matter of fact. Sometimes I wish all the tourists that come here would stroll two blocks from the Las Vegas Strip. Beyond all the lights and glitz, people live in the real world, going to school, buying groceries, and picking through the junk mail on Wednesdays. I hate Wednesdays. The advertising circulars double the load I have to deliver, most of which just goes directly from the mailbox to the trash bin. I try not to think about it.

By 10:18, Iím crossing Silver Dollar Boulevard. Iím ahead of schedule and I smile at that. It means I can stop for lunch at Gold Dust Park instead of scarfing it down while Iím driving.

At 10:41, Iím outside the house of Mrs. Ethel Fitzgerald at 6501 West Diamond Street. Iím relieved that Chi Chi is not in the yard. Chihuahuas and wiener dogs are the worst. They run up at me barking their tiny little heads off, and I have to resist a driving urge to pretend theyíre a football and kick a field goal through the front door.

At 11:52 I stop for lunch. I lounge under a Palm tree and set a brown paper bag on the ground in front of me. In Las Vegas, we do tend to make a show out of everything. I wave my hand over the bag, reach in and pull out an apple. Okay, I admit itís not much of a trick, but hey, it helps me get through the day. I repeat the trick, pulling out a ham on rye.

A giggle nearby tells me I have an audience. I spot a little kid, maybe eight years old standing by the monkey bars. Iím chomping away on that apple when I notice the kidís just staring at me, maybe he never knew that mailmen eat, I donít know.

I picked up one sandwich half and suddenly realized the kid is staring at my lunch. I held it out in his direction. He was a bit nervous, but only for a secondÖ he ran up, snatched it out of my hand and took off running like I was going to chase after him.

I saw him race straight over to another kid, his little brother is what I was guessing. I watched as he took that half of a sandwich, broke it in half and shared it with the little fellow.

All of a sudden it clicked that they had nothing to eat. Just two blocks away, rich people were gambling away their excess money, and right here were people who would benefit greatly from those wasted coins. Two little boys sharing half a sandwich knew more about treasure and prosperity than those rich people would ever know.

Jesus once said, ďIt is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.Ē* I reckon he knew what he was talking about.

The older kid waved at me just before the two ran off.

Tomorrow I will bring two sandwiches.

*Matthew 19:24

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This article has been read 1062 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jessica Schmit05/18/06
Fabulous, until the edning. I kinda wished you let the audience discover what happened, instead of being told. I felt that you hit the nail on the head with the topic. And it was such a fun and interesting read. To top it off, very well written!
Lynda Schultz 05/19/06
Dragnet revisited. Good for you. Nice job.
terri tiffany05/21/06
Nice pace...nice writing. I loved the added little details and the way you told the story.
Phyllis Inniss05/22/06
This was a very interesting read. I like the way you set the scene of the rich wasting or winning lots of money, while not too far off there were hungry kids sharing a sandwich. A nice touch at the end when you said tomorrow you would bring two sandwiches.
Maxx .05/23/06
This was actually a pretty good thing. I was really worried at the Dum-da-dum-dum part.... coulda done without that. And I think a couple fewer entries would have strengthened it a little. But aside from that, I enjoyed the read. This was a polished and fun piece!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/24/06
This was a good story and it was well written. I liked the "tomorrow I'll bring 2 sandwiches" line. It was a soft touch of hope without a miraculous "taking them home and adopting them" Polyanna feel. Good job.
dub W05/24/06
This was really pretty good stuff; in contrast to others, I liked the ending.
One of my sons worked in Vegas for two years - for Sears - the only time he went to the strip was when folks visited and he dropped them off.
Jan Ackerson 05/24/06
I really liked the gentle wit in this piece.
Beth Muehlhausen05/24/06
This is easy to read and fun to read! A mailman feels like a benevolent public servant....someone I'd like to listen to.

It seems you switch verb tense in the paragraph beginning, "I picked up one sandwich..." which threw me a little bit.

I like the ending - the compassion and hope that can come with a couple of sandwiches. :-)

darlene hight05/25/06
This is a great entry! I tend to agree that the end was a bit of a let down (not the message) but up until then the reader was allowed to experience the events.I did ,however, feel that the last line was perfect! "Tommorow I will bring two sandwiches"
Amy Michelle Wiley 05/26/06
I could totally hear the voice on the old Dragnet radio shows when I read this! How fun! Good job.