“Can’t a girl get forty winks in the middle of the afternoon” grumbled Kay as she slid off the couch to the floor then levered herself up, leaning on the little side table. Her knees weren’t trustworthy. She rubbed her eyes.
No one ever came to visit without calling first. No one ever rang her door bell without warning except for FedEx, exceptionally, yesterday, with a gift basket in a large clean cardboard box.
Kay, being somewhat warped in her priorities, extolled the virtues of a cardboard box big enough to transport mid-sized paintings and this one would do just fine. But who would send her a gift basket? It must be for someone else!
There, tucked in voluminous folds of cellophane wrapping, was a tiny card on a stick, “Thanks for allowing me to list your home.” So it was for her after all. “Bloody gift baskets,” she thought, “Waste of money. Why don’t they ask what you want first. I’d rather have had flowers.”
Still grumbling and half asleep, Kay hurried to the front door and looked out the window. An affable man in his early sixties, and to her surprise, stood holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a cut glass vase.
With no heed for security, Kay opened the door wide and the screen door too. Feeling a bit incredulous, she stuttered, “For me?”
In the back of her head another conversation was going on. It went this way:
“Are you crazy? You don’t know who this man is. You’ve never seen him before. What makes you think that a man with grey hair slicked back over his pate wearing glasses from the ‘Eighties is a good man without evil intent? You know you should never open the door to strangers.” This message, oft heard, came with her mother’s voice. She, in her latter years, was constantly morphing ordinary, gentle people into burglars and kidnappers.
“This is 12649 on 119th? he asked, though it was evidence in itself, since he was standing under the house numbering.
“Yes, but who would send me flowers?”
“Kramer?” he continued.
“No, Karer,” Kay answered.
“It’s so close,” she said, now a bit bewildered. “Let’s see”, she asked, extending her hand for the gift card that was now in his hands, that he was turning over and back again to see if there was a clue on it as to this beautiful bouquet’s true destination.
“Ha ha,” chuckled Kay, kabbitzing. “It’s okay, you can leave it with me.”
“I guess I have to call the office,” he rejoined, not sure in his duty, but laughing. “I don’t think I can leave it with you. I’ll have to find out….” and he pulled out his cell phone to ring up the florist’s shop.
“And I was thinking house invasion” continued on Kay. “You don’t have an AK 70 or a Kalishnikov in your pocket do you? What a great way to gain entry to a home. Nobody would suspect that a nice looking man with a bouquet would do any harm. See? I just opened the door, no problem.”
“That’s right,” he says. “It’s a great terrorist ploy.”
He snapped the phone shut. There had been no response. He took the gift card again and tested the seal on the envelope. It gave slightly on one corner, then ripped. No matter what, he was going to have get a new envelope for the card, so he finished the tear to the end and extracted the message.
To Karen and Jeffrey, it read, Deepest sympathies from all the gang.
“Deepest sympathies!” exclaimed Kay as she recoiled a foot.
“I don’t know of any Karens or Jeffreys. There’s no one here by that name. I think you had better take those flowers with you. I don’t need any deepest-sympathies here.”
He laughed and without a word, turned down the stairs, back to the sidewalk and his truck.