Flash Fiction: The Mailboxes Thief by Chiara De Giorgi

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write a story using the following five words: tables, swimming pool, pavement, trees, mailboxes.

This week’s story comes from Chiara De Giorgi. Chiara dreams, reads, edits texts, translates, and occasionally writes in two languages. She also has a lot of fun.

The Mailboxes Thief

by Chiara De Giorgi

I first heard of the mailboxes thief at my friend Joan’s place.

It was a lazy sunny afternoon, and we were both dozing on her brand new deck chairs by the swimming pool. Her neighbors were on holidays, and we were enjoying the sun and the silence.

From time to time I opened my eyes behind my sunglasses and took a look at the clouds, apparently the only things that attempted to move and change. They were few, tiny and scattered. They hardly moved, to tell the truth, but they slowly changed shape, stretched or just dispersed. There was no wind, so the trees surrounding Joan’s garden were still and silent. It was so warm, even the birds seemed to have gone to sleep.

I dipped one hand in the water and scratched my nose with the other. I was thinking maybe we should chat and gossip a little bit, just to give a purpose to the afternoon, when I heard a noise coming from behind the high fence. Something was scraping against the pavement just outside Joan’s property.

I lifted my head and noticed that Joan was doing the same. Of course, that was going to be the highlight of our afternoon.

“What’s this noise?” I asked.

Joan put a finger on her lips and got up from her chair. She quickly tied her sarong around her hips and gestured to me to do the same.

I followed her to where she kept a couple small tables and a few piled chairs, which we climbed in order to see behind the fence: a man was dragging a brilliant red mailbox, still attached to its pole. He was tall and sturdy, he wore a worn-out baseball cap and overalls but no shirt – it was hot, after all. He walked slowly, with an intent look on his face.

I turned to Joan and mouthed: “What’s he doing?”

She smiled and motioned me to jump down the table.

We went back to the pool and stood under the beach umbrella while Joan poured some lemonade into two tall glasses.

“He’s the mailboxes thief,” she explained after a long sip.

“The mailboxes thief?” I repeated, perplexed.

She nodded. “He’s well known, especially in this part of the town. Have you never heard of him?”

“Not at all!” I cried, sitting down. “Tell me everything!”

She sighed and sat next to me.

“There’s not much to say, really. He steals mailboxes from unattended properties.”

“So why aren’t we calling the police?”

She smiled. “Because no one wants him arrested.”

I laughed. “And why not? Is he paying all the bills he finds?”

“Much better. He swaps mailboxes.”

I still did not understand why people were protecting this guy.

“Okay, that’s enough. Spill! Now!”

“He swaps mailboxes and people get in touch with one another in order to retrieve their mail. It’s as easy as that. The interesting thing is, the thief picks and chooses which mailbox to swap with which one. And most often than not, the encounter with your, let’s say, swap-partner, is life changing.”

“How so?”

She shrugged.

“Some meet their future husband or wife, others find a business partner. There was a woman who wished she could learn how to play the violin but couldn’t afford to take lessons. She met a sad and retired violin teacher who was glad to teach her for free. Someone was about to be evicted and found a couple who were looking for a house sitter. A single dad who had recently moved in the area met an unemployed teacher who agreed to take care of his two little kids. And so on, I could go on forever. In the neighborhood everyone keeps track, and everyone secretly hopes the mailboxes thief will hit them.”

“Yes, it sounds amazing. I’ll make no secret of it: I wish the mailboxes thief stole my mailbox!”

Joan laughed. “And so do I, believe me. I don’t even know who I’d wish I met, I just wish for a life changing experience.”

We both sighed a dreamy sigh, and soon it was time for me to go home.


I’ve been hoping that the mailboxes thief would come and get my mailbox since that afternoon, but so far this has not happened. I’m seriously considering moving to Joan’s neighborhood, to make things easier for him.

Would you like to know who I wish he swapped my mailbox with? I thought hard about this question, and at last I know.

I wish he swapped my mailbox with his own.

The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https: //alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/



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