When I’ve played a part in getting a book to print I usually acquire a copy to add to my collection. The Mida by Kimberly Sigafus is one such title. Today’s guest post comes from the award-winning author Kim Sigafus. Kim will be the keynote speaker for the Mississippi River Writers conference on May 3, 2014 in Prairie du Chien, WI. Kim wrote a short story based on The Mida’s 2-day priority mail turned 2-week journey to my house.
With no further a do here is Kim’s short story:
By Kim Sigafus
(A creative non-fiction)
A copy of the novel, The Mida, sat quietly as its author slipped it carefully into a cardboard envelope and sealed it. The book knew it had to be headed somewhere special, as all its brothers and sisters had been handed out to people and not mailed.
From the noises outside of its container, the book guessed it was at the post office. It felt excitement as it was handled by the people that would be responsible for getting it where it was supposed to go.
“Where’s it headed?” said a man’s voice.
“Minnesota,” was the reply.
Oh, my gosh, thought the book. The land of ten thousand lakes. I hope I don’t get dropped in one.
After a few minutes, the book was picked up and then dropped into a bin. It landed on its side, facing down. Well, this is uncomfortable, the book thought. I hope I’m not in here too long.
Four hours later, it could feel the bin being rolled away and then emptied out. A woman busily started emptying the contents.
“Hey, Sue. Can you help me over here?”
“Sure. Just let me finish up first.”
There was a lot of pushing around as the woman reached in and grabbed handfuls of boxes, throwing them in either the local bin or the outgoing bin. The woman finally made a grab for The Mida and it slipped from her hands.
“Shoot,” muttered the woman. She leaned into the bin and grabbed at it again, catching the corner of the envelope. She glanced at the address and tossed it in the outgoing bin, and that’s where it sat until later when it was moved onto a truck.
The next day found the little book jostling around in the back of that truck. Eventually it was unloaded into a Minnesota post office where it sat eagerly to be delivered. It knew its author had paid extra money to have it delivered quickly, and it wondered where it would end up. Was it going to a nursing home where people could read the story and be transported to another time and place? Maybe it would end up at a book sale where a college student might buy it. Maybe it was going to a book store where a business man would buy it and read it on the bus.
Suddenly, the book noticed a name on one of its inside pages. Jill. That name rang a bell somehow. The words in the book suddenly had images of being read. The book realized it was going back to see an old friend. Of course, now it was dressed with a wonderful cover. It wasn’t just white pages anymore.
It was a long day on the truck, and the book was beginning to wonder if it would ever be delivered. Suddenly the truck came to a stop, and the book was pulled out of the back of the vehicle.
This is it, it thought excitedly, as it felt the mailing box swaying back and forth in the carrier’s hand. I’m finally home.
“There’s a problem with this envelope,” the carrier said, entering the post office and handing the envelope over to his boss. “The address is messed up.”
“No, it’s not,” protested the little book, but no one heard it.
“Throw it in the bin over there until tomorrow,” answered the boss.
The book felt itself being tossed into another bin. A short while later, the lights went out and he heard a door slam.
“Crap. Now what?” The book tried to move but its packing envelope was stuck under another box.
The book heard a laugh and then a voice came from the bottom of the bin. “Now nothing. You are lost. You are undeliverable.”
“What? Who said that?”
“Where are you?”
“I’m down here. I’ve been down here forever.”
“Who are you?”
“I am a box of chocolate-covered cherries. I was supposed to be someone’s Christmas present.”
“But it’s March…”
“Don’t you think I know that?”
“Why couldn’t they deliver you?”
“I overheard someone say the address was messed up.”
“That’s what they said about me, too.”
“Well, you might as well get comfortable. You’ll probably be here forever.”
The book sighed and lay glumly in its cardboard envelope. It was new, just off the press, and no one would ever hold it, read it, or set other books on top of it. It would never live in someone’s home or be given away to a friend to read. Without hands to hold it, its story would never be given a life of its own.
The little book sat in the bin for days, daydreaming of days gone by. It remembered being an icon on the desktop of its author’s computer for years, where she would take it out and work on it once in a while. The book remembered when its pages were finally copied off for editing. It liked the little red marks all over it, gaily marking grammatical errors and misplaced words. It was taking shape and form, being molded into the story it is now.
It loved its new cover, with the snowy owl on the back. The words there brought the intrigue of the storyline out, and the book knew it was just a matter of time before it would be loved by the people reading it. The author had promised many more brothers and sisters of the book to come; eight in all.
Day in and day out the little book sat in the bin, wondering if this was the day it would get out. It didn’t believe the box of cherries when it said they would be stuck in there forever. It knew better. It had an author who would be checking on the delivery of the book and it would just be a matter of time before it would be taken out of the bin and delivered.
Then one day the book overheard a conversation between the mail carrier and the boss.
“We just got an e-mail from the USPS, boss, looking for a book that was mailed out a week ago in two-day mail.”
“We gotta find that book. Apparently the sender has been calling and e-mailing every day. She paid extra to have that book mailed out quickly.”
“Didn’t anyone ever tell her that two-day mail is a deadline we TRY to make and it’s not guaranteed?”
“Well, they told her that today and she is raising a ruckus over the whole thing. She said it is false advertising and she is really pissed.”
“Why should we care about that?”
“She told USPS she is coming into town in a few days and will be stopping by to see us. The USPS is dropping this mess in our laps. Her local post office sent it out so she knows we lost it.”
The little book then heard words that should never be included in any book, and it smiled. Its author had saved it from a life of bin-living.
Shortly after, the boss was rummaging through the lost-items bin. They pulled out the box of chocolate-covered cherries and squinted at the address.
“This box belongs to Al Larter. What is it doing in here?”
“Must have been something wrong with the address…”
The boss looked closely and shook his head. “There’s nothing wrong with this address. Get this delivered today.”
“And stop calling me, boss. The name’s Jim.”
After some more digging around, the boss lifted the cardboard envelope out of the bin. Looking at the address, he sighed, and then checked the address with the computer.
“No one lives there,” he mumbled. “No wonder…oh, damn. Someone just moved in.”
The man carefully placed the big envelope with the little book into the right bin that would get it delivered that day. A few moments later, the bin was pushed over to the door and the chocolate-covered cherries and the book were loaded onto the truck.
“Don’t come back with these two boxes,” he warned the driver.
Jill came home from work to find the cardboard two-day mail envelope waiting for her. She eagerly opened it up and pulled out the black book with the carnival on the cover and held it in her hands. She turned it over to see the snowy owl on the cover and read the back cover blurb. Then with a smile, she set the book down on the counter and walked away to get dinner ready. The book sighed and then pulled its cover closely around its pages.
It was home.
The Mida is available in paperback.
Other titles from Kim Sigafus include:
- Native Writers – Voices of Power
- Native Elders
- The Life and Times of the Ojibwa People
- The Dress
- Yesterday’s Walk; A Walking Tour of McGregor, IA