Copyright is held by the author.
A BROWN paper wrapped box rested outside her door. No return address and a postage sticker from Boston, Massachusetts.
Diana didn’t know anyone in Boston, hadn’t ordered anything on the shopping channel for delivery and wondered, what the hell? She’d not heard a knock, no chimes of the doorbell and only discovered it when she went to check on the whereabouts of her outdoor feline. Syris, her 12-year-old black cat, crouched in the corner of the patio. His gaze fixated on the box — pupils dilated, hair raised on his back. His tail switched a fast metronome beat, but with a hitch. The message was clear. Something had him spooked.
The package was about the size of a shoebox, but heavier. As Diana picked it up, Syris raced inside.
She placed the container on the kitchen counter, searched the junk drawer for scissors and cut through the strings and wrapper. A purple velvet bag was inside. Upon pulling the drawstrings apart, there was another box. Diana sliced the seal open. Crap, what was this? It looked like ashes and chunky bits, reminiscent of campfires, used to get rid of waste and leftovers.
Ah, an envelope inside. Perhaps this would unlock the mystery. As she reached for the letter, Syris leapt onto the counter, swatted the box with his paw. Ashes spilled in a clump on the floor as dust filtered through the air.
The letter read, “Dear Ms. Diana Darling,
It’s taken us a long time to find you and we apologize. You are however, the only living relative for us to forward the remains of the late James Darling to. We understand he was your ex-spouse, but we didn’t know who else to send them to.”
Diana headed to the fridge, poured a large glass of wine, took a huge gulp and returned to reading.
“His death was an unfortunate accident following a dart tournament at the local pub. James took first place and received a trophy. In true form, we celebrated with a couple of pints or maybe more. At any rate, James left the pub by the back door with his trophy in hand. It wasn’t until the next day his body was found. He must have fallen and the dart from the trophy pierced his eye.
We, his friends, took up a collection to have him cremated and sent to you. He talked fondly of you, usually after a couple of beers. Your cat on the other hand, was less than favourably remembered. The phrase ‘pissed on his chips’ usually followed by a few other cuss words, comes to mind when he talked about Syris and his irritating cat attitude.”
Diana eyed the ashes on the floor, took another slurp of wine. Syris circled the grey litter.
What the heck was she supposed to do with remains from a man who’d caused her so much grief? Damn him.
She went in search of a dustpan and sweeper, and returned to find her cat relieving his bladder on the heap.
This time she only needed a small sip of wine from the glass on the counter.
Diana was a firm believer in karma!