Brian had left work early (well early for him, at least) and pulled up to the parking area behind the loft at 5:00 pm. He was in a good mood and somewhat more relaxed than was usual for him at the end of a long workday. This afternoon he had successfully signed a new client which was potentially worth more than $20 million - a large grocery store outlet chain - and was therefore celebrating by allowing himself, as well as the rest of his staff, the rare early night.
He grabbed his mail out of the box, as was his usual habit, as soon as he entered the building and scanned through the stack as he stood in the lobby in front of the array of resident mailboxes. As he was standing there, he heard a noise resembling the metallic clank the mailbox door made when it was closed. At the same time he happened to glimpse a flash of motion out of the corner of his eye. He promptly raised his vision to stare at the loft's mailbox and noted that there was something new in the box he had just emptied. Peeking through the small glass window he noted that the mail room behind was dark and there was no sign of movement in the small space. He once again opened the box and pulled out the new letter, noting a familiar sheet of cream-colored stationary with his own handwriting on the outside of the fold.
Ignoring the other letters and mailings in his hand, he unfolded the new note and read the short response that had been written on the back of his previous letter. As he read, he became more and more perplexed. "What the FUCK!" he sputtered to the empty lobby. Pulling a pen out of his briefcase, which was still resting on the floor by his feet, he immediately penned an incredulous reply:
-Taylor - how the fuck did you do that? I came home from work and as always got my mail as soon as I entered the building. Then, as I stood there sorting the crap, I heard the mailbox door clink shut. When I looked at the box, your note was THERE. I SWEAR it wasn't there 15 seconds earlier . . . . FUCK. What the hell is going on? I didn't lease my loft. I don't have a 'property management company' and I don't know anyone named 'Pamela'. Why are you fucking with me like this? Kinney
Justin had been standing in front of the mailboxes, completely dumbfounded for more than 15 minutes now. He could swear that the note he had put in the box had disappeared right before his eyes. Was he losing it? Was this some kind of dream or hallucination? He had been through enough therapy in the past year that he didn't think he was crazy (at least not THIS crazy) - and if he was, wouldn't the doctor have said something by now? He simply did not know how to react to the phenomenon, so he just stood there, rooted to the spot, waiting for an explanation to materialize.
His persistence finally paid off though. As he continued to stare at the now empty mailbox, there was a metallic clanking sound and literally before his eyes, the letter reappeared in the box in front of him. He didn't know what to do, so he did the only reasonable thing - he opened the box and retrieved the letter.
Penned below his last entry, there was a response from Kinney. He read it with an incredulous look in his eyes. Can this really be happening? 'At least I'm not alone in being crazy,' he thought, 'since apparently my landlord is seeing the same hallucinations'. Trying not to think about it too much, he grabbed the pen he'd stashed behind his ear back up in the loft and sat down on the linoleum floor of the lobby to scrawl his own reply.
-August 6 , 5:18 pm
I'm not fucking with you! You're the one fucking with me, I think. I did lease the loft! I do live here! And, I have no idea what's up with the god damned mail box. I just put my last note to you in there and before I could even turn around to say hello to another tenant who had entered the building at that moment, it simply disappeared. Then, while I stood staring at the box, your note was just THERE! It just materialized in front of my fucking eyes. I'm going to put this note back in the mailbox and stand RIGHT HERE watching it until I figure out exactly how you're doing this. JT
Justin shoved the note into the box, clanged the door shut and fixed his eyes on the mysterious box, trying not to blink.
Brian hadn't moved from his spot in front of the mailboxes after depositing his last reply. He could not believe what he had seen. If it happened again, he was determined to catch the person responsible and figure out how this 'magic trick' was being perpetrated.
Not more than a few minutes later, there was another clank and, as he watched, a letter materialized in the box he swore he hadn't taken his eyes off of. He shoved his key in the lock, pulled the box's door back as quickly as possible and yanked out the paper inside. The now familiar sheet of stationary had a new entry on it, which he read with growing amazement.
As quickly as he could, he applied pen to paper in reply to Taylor's latest response. Brian then shoved the letter back in the remarkable magic mailbox and flipped the door closed as fast as he could.
Justin again watched as the unbelievable occurred right before his eyes. The sheet of stationary reappeared in the box without any indication of how it had arrived there. He again opened the box, retrieved the letter and eagerly perused the added content.
-August 6, 5:20 pm
This isn't happening! I must have got some bad E from that pig Anita last night. I swear that I just saw my last note disappear and your note reappear in the mailbox right in front of my eyes. I am standing right here in front of the box. Nobody came near it. I didn't even blink. I swear! The fucking paper just appeared out of nowhere. BK
-I'm standing right here in front of the mailbox too . . . And I just saw the same thing? This is impossible! We can't both be standing in the same place, at the same time and not see each other, can we . . . ? JT
-When, exactly, are you standing there? B.
-What's the date there? B.
-August 6, 2001, of course! J.
-2001? Are you sure? B.
-Yeah . . . 2001. Are you saying it's NOT 2001 for you? J.
-Unless I'm due for a padded room at the local sanitarium, I think it's still 1999 where I am. B.
-You can say that again! B.
-I don't know what to think. This is so giving me a headache! I'm gonna go lay down for a while. If you come up with a plausible explanation for how our mail seems able to defy the laws of physics, let me know! You obviously know where to reach me. Goodnight. Justin.