Ernest Hemingway Receives a Package from Amazon

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The man came to the door. I hadn’t been out of bed yet, but I was awake. When I heard the bell, I lit the lamp and got dressed. He rang again and I stumped to the door.

The sunlight was blinding. Too much wine. I couldn’t see his face, just the bill of his cap. He pushed the clipboard at me and said how I had to sign for something or other. I signed.

The package was small and it could have been anything inside. I didn’t remember what I had ordered. It was too early. I handed him back his clipboard and he looked down at my leg.

“Say, how did you hurt your leg?”

We were done but he wouldn’t leave. I looked at this face with the blinding light behind it.

“In the war.”

“Oh. Thank you for your service, sir.”

I didn’t answer. I didn’t care. I wanted a bath. I wanted him to go away so I could open the box and then take a bath in deep water.

I looked at him. He went away and I shut the door.

In the kitchen, I ripped the box open. Inside, a series of plastic bags full of air. Underneath them, a white packing slip. The paper said two sets of whiskey stones. I pulled the sheet out and looked into the box. There was one set in there.

“What the hell, Amazon,” I said. “What the hell.”

I threw the handful of stones into the freezer. It is very important to learn to handle disappointment gracefully. I would send an email to their complaint department. I should have refused the package. Known it by weight. Anyway, I went to my bar and made a whiskey and soda. Drank it warm. Thought of the package man and his blinding face.

I got into the bath and turned on the water. The water was hot and good.

“No one should be alone in the bath without a cold whiskey,” I thought.

I listened underwater. I heard the faucet dripping and nothing else.

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