Mateo had been working for the USPS for a year. Having completed the Civil Servant Exam and taken various tests that involved sorting and memorization of sequences of numbers, he finally earned a spot as a substitute mail carrier. The job, albeit mind numbing at times, was to his liking. He fancied himself an old soul. An old fashioned young man. At 26, he had a romantic outlook on careers and trades. Mailman. Uniform. Union job. He was part of a brotherhood.
His first gig was in Nob Hill. Uptown, on the southwest side of downtown Portland. With all of the hills and apartment buildings, it was a rigorous route. It seemed like most residences had the same periodicals delivered– The New Yorker, New York Magazine, The Smithsonian, National Geographic, and The Atlantic. Same old shit. They should all get together and share a subscription, he thought. Save him some weight. Worse than the hills and magazines, however, was the fact that no one was ever home. He interacted with not one person, and the proximity to a place to buy lunch kept him brown bagging and pissing in a Sprite bottle it in the official USPS van. Right there in the driver’s seat, he would unzip his requisite gray polyester pants, whip out his penis enough to get the head situated just so at the mouth of the bottle, lift up his ass a bit, and let it all go. The release was a physical relief, exciting even. It made him feel more real.
After three weeks of hill climbing and bottle pissing, he moved to the Woodstock neighborhood to fill in for a carrier who was getting foot surgery. He appreciated the fact that the neighborhood was flat and that all of the houses sat at street level. No magazines, just bills and coupons to deliver.
On his very first day, he encountered a young woman smoking a cigarette on the front stoop of her shotgun shack. She was wearing a gray tank top, and he could see every detail of her nipples rippled under the fabric. She had no bra. What else she was wearing, he did not notice. She stood up to get the mail from him, and he could not take his eyes off of her chest until he turned around and walked away.
The next day, she was in the same place, doing the same thing, and wearing the same tank top. They greeted each other, smiled, and then he moved on to the next house. This happened for several days. Each time he saw her, he recorded a more clear image of her. Green eyes. Striking. Acne stained skin. Unfortunate. Hair the color of nothing. Not brown, not blonde. Just hair colored hair. Wavy and shoulder length. No bangs. Weak chin and a sweet, genuine smile. And of course those tits sitting under that thin fabric.
“Can I show you something?” she asked him on the fifth day. “It’s in here.”
He agreed, and she led him into her house. He looked around. It was cluttered with papers and ceramic coffee cups, but nothing too scary. There was an Indian tapestry that functioned as upholstery for the couch. The carpeted room smelled like nag champa and cat piss.
“Well?” he asked.
“Oh. I wasn’t even thinking you’d say yes. I just wanted to see if you would follow me inside,” she laughed.
“How do you know I am not a killer?” he challenged.
“Maybe you are. We can find out.”
He unclipped his bag, walked over to her, and pulled her hair back hard. She gave a surprised little scream that said fuck me rather than help me. She freed the clasp on his waistband, and his polyester pants fell to the floor. He pushed up her skirt, tore off her panties and fucked her right there by the front window. He lasted less than two minutes, then got his bag and went on with his route.
The day after, she was waiting for him, and he knew he made a mistake. This bitch was going to be hard to shake. She looked at him with desperate green eyes, but he did not return her gaze. He put the envelopes and coupons for fast food in the mailbox and walked away. This non-exchange went on for days, and he wondered when she would give up her stupid behavior. They fucked, and he wasn’t even good. The end.
He was relieved finally one day to see the stoop empty. He climbed the two steps to get to the mailbox, and the crooked white storm door swung open with a loud creak. His face met with a fist, right in the mouth, and he was stunned. Cold called. Next were the ears, boxed out by balled up paws fit for a gorilla. The man had a Santa beard and a bald head, and there was nothing friendly about him that day. The thick silver hoops in his ears shook as he delivered blow after blow. He was battering the mailman’s dome relentlessly. The mailman fell off the stoop and curled instinctively into the fetal position, halfway on the concrete path, halfway on the overgrown weedy grass. The man kicked him so hard in the tailbone, he was sure it was broken.
“Rapist piece of shit. I’m going to bring you so close to death before I call the cops to report you. Piece of shit loser. Child molester. Fucking rapist,” he seethed.
The mailman alternated between yelping in pain and whimpering, depending on the blows delivered. His ribs felt broken, and his organs were on fire. He blacked out and came to a few times, all the while wishing he were dead. He could her the blood seeping out of his ears. Red and blue lights flashed on the grass, and the police pulled the attacker away from the mailman.
“He raped my 15 year old daughter!”
The paramedics put the mailman on a stretcher and loaded him into the back of the ambulance. Pieces of his broken teeth were left on the front lawn.