The unmarked package

Image: Kirsty TG

“Chapman, sit down. I’m glad you rushed over. We need to talk.”

“What’s going on, boss? I drove as fast as I could.”

“It arrived in the mail today. Talked to all the neighbors and looks like we all got one. Came in a little bubble-padded envelope with no return address on it. Postmarked Langley, Virginia. Enclosed was a thumb drive. Popped it in the computer and up came a .zip file. In the .zip file was a series of MP3 tracks. On each track was a recording. A recording of the conversation, back through time, that every friend and family member had about me when I left their house for dinner.”

“Wow, Merv. Every one!?”

“Yep. Every one.”

“Holy hell, Merv. Do you know what this means?!”

“Yes, Chapman, I know what this means goddamnit, getaholdofyourself!”

“They’re all going to know. All of them. All of MY friends and family. They’re gonna hear what I said about them too!”

“Well, now, Chapman, calm down, man! Maybe not everyone got one. Did you get one?”

“I haven’t been home yet, Merv!”

“Good. God. Has your wife?!”

“She’s gonna kill ‘em, Merv. All of them. They’re dead.”

“This is it, Chapman. The whole fabric of our civilization is coming undone. Holy hell. Holy. Hell…”

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