With a somber cloud sitting on his heart, Jarrad, a retail assistant in a small suburban book store, stared at an envelope.
Now I should be clear, the envelope wasn't why he was somber. I don't want to give that impression at all. In setting the scene here I need to be clear. Because it could make perfect sense for a letter to give someone negative thought, I myself once felt morose over an envelope. And one time a postcard made me feel forlorn. It was from someone enjoying an exciting adventure that I wasn't getting to enjoy. How cruel, that's not what postcards were invented for. They're supposed to be for excuses to take photos of scantly clad people in front of famous monuments to remind people that beauty is subjective and comes in a variety of forms, and that if you think about it that means that you too are beautiful. So I don't mean at all to underestimate or undervalue the emotional power that a mere mailed selection of paper can wield, just that this was not the case here.
In fact Jarrod was somber because of this conversation he'd just had with a co-worker.
'Hey look, I store at a letter in a store'
'That's not a word you tool'
'Those are so all words'
'No, 'store' isn't'
'Ha ha 'store' isn't a word? Then where are we working?'
'No not that store the other store'
'How can the same word be a word and also not be a word, don't be an idiot'
'You 'stare' at something, you can't 'store' at it'
'It's a different tense, you 'stare' at it in the present, but you 'store' at it in the past'
'No, you 'stared' at it in the past'.
'So you're telling me, that if I go over to the dictionary section which we still have even though people just use their phone dictionaries, that the word 'store' won't be in there?'
'It'll fucking be in there, but it won't have the definition you desire'
'But it'll be in there. I win'
'You weren't even fucking talking past tense by the way, you were currently looking at the letter, present tense'
'Look I was just making a pun for fucks sake, I was trying to be funny, even though the reading of books has entertained billions of people for hundreds of years, and given people some of the most pleasurable experiences of their lives, people these days will actually BRAG that they don't read 'so look how cool I am, I purposely avoid one of the most consistently enjoyable experiences human beings have ever discovered', so no one comes in here anymore, so I'm trying to be funny to pass the fucking time ok'
'You're not funny Jarrod, don't know how you ever thought you were'.
That's why he was somber. Not because of the letter, are we clear? Ok good. So then he opened the envelope.
The envelope contained a letter from his girlfriend saying that she was cheating on him with his best friend and they were pregnant, and the conception had happened in his bed, and that she'd been lying, she actually never washed the sheets, and that she did actually find the mole on his nose off putting, so much so that when she wanted to get out of work she'd just think about that and her boss would always say 'hey Lizza, you look sick, do you want to go home' and that yes all this time he'd been calling her 'Lisa' when her name was actually 'Lizza' and that's why her friends always found him funny, 'because they're laughing at you right in your face'.
Ok, now he was somber for TWO reasons. In fact he may have even been a tad 'miffed'. Jarrod wasn't having such a fun day.
Sadly things were only about to get worse. Deeper in that mail pile was a postcard. From someone enjoying an adventure he was not. Those bastards.