I had been trying to pick a parcel from the post office for two weeks. Every time I went in with the slip confirming which post office the package had been sent to they took a photcopy, noted my phone number and promised to call me the next day. Every dutiful post office worker was duly appalled that their colleauges had not got back to me and vowed to ring me the very next day with news on this ether drowned parcel of mine. My patience was wearing thin, but I knew that getting openly pissed off with these people very rarely pays dividends. So I opted for polite persistence. I went in to see those fuckers every day and let them photocopy their bit of paper and tut at the failure of their colleauges. I remained civil and pushed my enquiries as politely and firmly as possible, but they all seemed incapable of reacting in a different way to their seemingly infinite number of co-workers (I had yet to see the same incomptent twice). I began to suspect that these were no ordinary public sector, work dodging, slow moving, gaggle of wretches.
There was no time for a gradual effort to test my theory. It was now day 15 – the last day they would keep hold of my mystery parcel, if the idiots ever indeed had it, and I knew that after that I would be greeted with a shrug of the shoulders and a “you should have come earlier, Monsieur”. I was afraid how I might react to this shrug, so I vowed not to pursue the matter beyond the already taxing 15 day period.
I was fortunate to find only a small queue of people ahead of me – 5 or 6. I could expect to be at the counter within 20 minutes, with a bit of luck. It turned out to be 10 and I took this to be a good omen. The woman whose counter was free gave me the standard look of disinterested disdain as I approached. She had a head like a wine soaked king edward, a small piggy nose and tiny, deep set brown eyes. I made no effort to smile, but mouthed a ‘bonjour’ and nodded as I reached her platform of adminsitrative mishaps and staple gun fuckery. Then I reached out, grabbed hold of her ear and yanked it viciously downwards. There came a sound like a cat being disemboweled. FRAAAAAACHHHH!
The ear came off in my hand and it didn’t feel right. Too heavy to be flesh and absolutely no blood. I looked up and saw that another ear was shooting out of the woman’s head to replace the one in my hand. I wasn’t surprised. I reached out and ripped that one off too. FRAAAAAACHHHH! And again and again. I got tired and stopped. No one had seemed to notice my outburst. The king edward was just staring at me, wincing slightly as her latest replacement ear emerged.
I left, reassured that I was not going mad by the pocket full of ears in my coat. I had always suspected that french postal clerks were sub-human incompetents, but to find out it was true was alarming. Who put them there? Why? Why had no one else noticed? Was I living in a town populated by androids or aliens? My ear-ripping quest had only just begun.