What’s in a Box?

Priority Mail

Many different types of mail find their way into blue mailbox sentries around the country each day. The sizes, shapes, and content of these items are often as unique as those who send them, and the intriguing mystery of what could be inside the mail is as captivating as the latest detective novel.

It was a warm, sunny Monday morning. The air was dry with the barest hint of a gentle breeze. I had just picked up the latest edition of the daily news from Johnny at the corner market when I spotted her.

She wore a long, flowing dress with a colorful floral print. Her wide-brimmed, yellow hat shielded her eyes from the glare of the piercing sun, creating a mysterious shadow across her face. I didn’t recognize her right away and was about to turn into Joe’s Diner to pick up my mid-morning coffee when I spotted it.

There, in her right hand, was the item. It looked like any of 1,000 other items just like it, except it was different. I almost didn’t notice it, but I’ve been in this business too long to miss much. Call it a curse or the luck of years of experience, but there it is.

The woman casually glanced around the area when she approached the mailbox, making sure she wasn’t being watched. I performed my best impersonation of an uninterested bystander by leaning against a brick wall, nonchalantly flipping the pages of my paper. It must have worked because when I peered over the top edge of page 7, I saw her grip the handle of the mailbox, pull down the chute, and drop the item inside. She was as cool as they come, or at least as far as I’ve seen in my time.

A car approached and pulled up next to her as if on cue. She approached the tan, four door sedan and looked around one more time. I’m not sure if it was the piercingly bright sun reflecting off the roof of the car or the distraction of her warm, brown eyes, but when she looked in my direction, I froze. We locked eyes for a brief second, far too long for someone in my line of work, before she winked and entered the car.

I shook my head as the car drove away. I knew better than to let the subject spot my interest, but I never could resist the mesmerizing eyes of my wife. I guess that’s why I married her all those years ago. Well, at least that’s part of the reason.

My only question now is to figure out what she sent for my birthday before it arrives at the office. It’s part of our annual game we play to see if I can still use my waning detective skills to figure out what the gift is before it shows up, and I haven’t lost yet.

My name is Frank, and I’m a private detective. I’m usually pretty good at this game, but this year I’m stumped. It could be a momentary lapse in my working memory or the expired salmon dish I ate last night. Either way, I could sure use your help.

Every birthday for the past 15 years, my wife has bought me the latest gadget or electronic accessory that has the potential to help someone like me in this line of work. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t quite get all the fancy apps and slick new devices out there, but I can usually expand my horizons and find a use for them. Eventually.

She sent the item in a Priority Mail envelope using a pre-printed label, and it takes two days to arrive at my office. I have that much time to figure out what it is or I owe her dinner at our favorite restaurant. I usually end up taking her there anyway, but still, I enjoy the challenge.

Given your keen sense of observation and knowledge of new gadgets and electronic accessories out there, what do you think she bought for my birthday this year?


  1. Grannybunny

     /  December 11, 2013

    Being a technological dummy, I have no idea what your wife bought you for your birthday, Frank, especially that can be mailed in an envelope. But, Priority Mail to your business — unless you have a commute involving flying — should arrive overnight, not in 2 days. And, it’s “casually,” not “causally” (which is a word, just not the right one. Happy Birthday, anyway!

  2. Jonn

     /  December 11, 2013

    I’m going to go with an SD card or flash drive. I have tons of those things everywhere and they’re pretty handy. I remember when I bought my first 128 megabyte flash drive for $17. I loved that thing, and I still probably have it around somewhere. Now I can pick up a 32 gigabyte drive for $15 on sale at amazon or newegg. Wow have prices dropped over the years. I can only imagine how much storage they’ll have on them in the years to come. Maybe a terabyte flash drive? I can easily see flash memory replacing hard drives in the next 5 years or so. That’ll be awesome!

  3. GOLLEEEEEEE! With all those new phones that do sixteen other things as well, it must be one of them. Seems another combination comes out at least eight times a month!

  4. Anonymous

     /  December 12, 2013

    It may be a new app… it’s called ‘Protection from Abuse’…

  5. Stacy

     /  December 12, 2013

    Probably a Nexus 7-inch tablet 🙂

  6. I am thinking a tablet

  7. Jonn

     /  December 12, 2013

    Oh my gosh, I’d love a tablet! I remember those pads on Star Trek many years ago and never thought I’d see the day. Now these new gadgets are even better than the tech in sci-fi just 10 years ago. I’m still waiting for the holographic tvs…

  • Hello, I'm Benny the Blogger: I'm the world's most famous postal employee. My hobbies are snappy quotes, kite flying and publishing. I was born Jan. 17, 1706, but don't call me old.

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