The Dog Deliverer

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Four legged people don’t need a truck.

Submitted: August 13, 2015

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Submitted: August 13, 2015

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When my father was a young man he and some other guys chased the Japanese military across the Pacific Ocean.  He came back with a bunch of stories, some of which I had a hard time believing.  He was a kidder and a leg-puller.

So I assumed he had made up the story about the secret island.

According to him, after the fighting was done on Tarawa, the ship that was to carry him and his men to the next battle had engine troubles.  New parts had to be flown in and it would be two days before they would be underway.  The men were given shore leave.  Early the next morning, my father took a walk around the bay and came across a small boat.  He decided to take a spin around the shoreline.  He’d pulled on a few oars on the college rowing team.

He didn’t count on the storm that blew him out of the bay into the open ocean.  Sudden storms like that didn’t happen on the lakes in upstate New York.  But he was young and strong, and he managed to keep the tiny craft upright until…

He somehow crawled up on a beach.  The storm was over, the sun was out.  He rolled onto his back and spit sand out of his mouth.  The boat was nowhere to be seen.  What he heard though, was the laughter of young children, coming toward him.

Within a few minutes, he was in the center of a tropical village, surrounded by people in all manner of colorful clothing.  Old women were pushing each other out of the way to offer him food.  A man offered him a pipe with something that didn’t look or smell like tobacco.  He couldn’t tell for sure, since no one spoke English, but he got the feeling the head honcho was considering him as a potential husband for his daughter.  Things were happening kind of fast.

It took a while to sort things out, but after a meal and a few rounds with the peace pipe, he managed to get his message across to his new friends.  Sign language and drawing in the sand with the tip of a stick are universally understood.  The next day, three slender, brown skinned men and my father set out in a much more seaworthy vessel, and my father was delivered back to the U.S. Army.

Fast forward forty years.  My father had been retired from the army for twenty years, and had retired from his cushy government contractor job the year before.  When he told me the secret island story for the umpteenth time, I called him out.  I said, “If your secret island exists, why don’t we visit it?”  I didn’t expect him to say, “How fast can you get a passport and your bags packed?”

This time my father made his way to the secret island on a small but comfortable ferry boat.  He had a couple of suitcases, no oars.  And me.

The island had changed a lot since his last visit.  The immune system that protects us from infectious diseases is useless against technology.  Almost everyone wore western style clothes, many of the young folk spoke English.  They still lived in the same thatch huts, although some now had electricity and plumbing. 

But after dark, they put away all the modern trappings and assumed the traditional.  Everything became familiar to my dad again.  It was something I’d never seen or experienced before.  We partied like it was 1599.

The children that found my dad were there, middle aged by then.  His long lost potential bride was a grandmother, and I can say that none of the kids look anything like my dad.

That is one amazing island, but the most interesting thing about the whole place is a dog.  The secret island is the only place on the planet that has a dog for a mailman.

The dog’s name in the native language is kawe mera, literally, mailman.  But the kids who spoke English gave him a name that rolled off of my tongue a lot easier.  Maillo.

Maillo the dog deliverer wore a harness that held a briefcase sized leather bag on each flank.  The bags had a slot for each household’s mail.  Each slot was identified by a symbol that the residents selected, and they posted the same symbol on their door.

Many of the symbols were unfamiliar to me.  I was told those were traditional spiritual and mythological icons.  But I didn’t have any trouble recognizing the peace sign and the smiley face.  American culture is everywhere.

A human sorted the mail into the leather pouches, and hooked them to Maillo’s harness.  You could tell Maillo loved his job.  He could hardly stand still long enough for the young lady to get him strapped in, then he was out the door.

He ran from hut to hut with an unusual gait.  I noticed the mail bags did not go up and down much as he went.  He had figured out how to run as fast as he could without bouncing any mail out of the slots.  When he got to each hut, he would turn his head around, nose open the pouch, grab the mail with his teeth, and deposit it through a slot in the door.

Each hut has a box for outgoing mail.  Which explains why I now get birth-feast cards with tooth marks.


© Copyright 2017 Serge Wlodarski. All rights reserved.

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