Emerson Lighthouse sat hunched over the scratched and scarred wooden table squinting through the dim light at the note he was scribbling. He turned the dulled nub of a pencil every which way trying to find an edge… scratching out his missive, although brief, was proving to be quite a challenge.
He was just finishing the closing salutations when the representative from the local postal service arrived. He was a small man adorned in the bright and baggy satin attire favoured by the literate class of this culture.
“I have found the very bird you were asking for Mr. Lighthouse.” The man’s accent was so strong that Emerson was barely able to understand him. “Have the scrolls you wish to send been prepared?” He asked placing the cage on the floor.
“I finished the second one just this moment.” said Emerson, his jaw dropping in shock at the sight of the pigeon the man had just pulled from the cage. He had never seen a bird so large and round. It looked like a feathered football.
“Wonderful, pass them to me if you would please.”
“That bird…” Emerson paused mid-sentence, his mouth still open, as he shook his head in disbelief.
“… is the fastest you have?” he finally managed to finish.
“The fattest pigeon, yes.”
“There seems to have been some misunderstanding. I said fast not fat.”
“That’s right, here is the bird for you.”
Emerson was about to say something then thought better of it. He glanced again at the note he had just finished. It read:
Dear Miss Ginsburg, I was hoping to be back in New Babbage to celebrate your 5th Rez Day next Friday but it would appear I am to be unexpectedly detained abroad on some foreign business. I wish you all the best. Sincerely, Emerson Lighthouse.
Satisfied that it was sufficiently legible he inserted it into the tube and addressed it to Miss Ginsburg. The second tube was addressed to Lauren Lighthouse and marked urgent and confidential. Emerson handed them to the small, brightly dressed man and watched as he attached one scroll to each leg of the pigeon. He seemed to be having difficulty securing them in place.
“I don’t believe I have ever seen a pigeon with such swollen ankles before.” remarked Emerson wryly.
“Eh?” the foreign man grunted, continuing to struggle with the second tube.
At least Tepic will be happy with this one, Emerson thought, I just hope he delivers the scrolls before dinner. A meal like that would likely put anyone to sleep with a loosened belt and a contented belly.
“It will be dispatched to my agent in New Babbage at once sir.” The man said as the second tube was secured to the pigeon’s leg.
“Thank you.’’ said Emerson reaching through the prison bars and dropping the last of his silver into the man’s perfectly manicured hand.