Just the start…. a third revision resulted in this. I hope you enjoy.
There are three things that happen when you get punched in the back of your head.
One: you literally see stars. And no, I’m not talking about the halo of stars spinning around the cartoon character that just got an anvil dropped on his head. I’m talking about stars behind your eyes. Fireworks exploding like the sky on Independence Day.
Two: you grab the back of your head as you fall forward, flailing with the other arm to grab on to something to steady you
Three: when you find that your feet have caught up with your body, most of the time… most of the time that hand that was looking for something to stop the fall begins to swing around almost without your knowing it. And absolutely before you know it, that hand is one inch from the face of the guy who punched you.
Strange things happen, often without anyone noticing. At least I never noticed.
I didn’t know that the same day that Cory Beecher hit me I’d admit to the existence of creatures I’d only read about in books, taken a ride in a zeppelin, disappeared and reappeared three thousand miles away, and kicked a puffin. Yeah, I know, the cute little bird. Everyone else was doing it and I didn’t want to be stabbed.
I was the youngest postman in the history of the post office. Which was a nice little thing I could brag about around the dinner table. Sort of made me feel better than everyone there. But I didn’t have many friends. An unfortunate downside to having a job at the ripe old age of 16, fine, nearly 16. 15. The Post Office was going down the tube and they needed to “inject a little pep in the step” of their workers,” they said. They needed to “show the world that the youth believed in the post office,” they said. So there I was a little shorter and quite a bit less grumpy than the rest of the postal workers walking a route day after day.
I didn’t really care about whether or not the post office was doing good or bad, but I’d often hear my Grandpa mumbling something about child labor laws and dirty politicians and lies. All I knew is that twice a month I’d get a check in the mail with more than enough numbers on it for me to put some in savings. When you’re only fifteen you still get to follow the rules of the house you live in. I had to put away 20% of whatever I earned so I could go to college someday. The rest was mine to use, with some discretion. Mostly I just walked down the street to the best bookstore in the world, Tanned Hides, and wandered up and down the musty stacks. Gerald, the owner, knew me by name and would set aside a small stack of books that he’d bought during the week that I might be interested in. Robinson Crusoe, Ender’s Game, an atlas that showed the world before the fall of the USSR.