Where Some Ideas Are Stranger Than Others...
She really wasn't sure what to make of it. Was it some sort of creepy joke? If it was, the revelation about her neighbours' sense of humour was unwelcome. It didn't seem to fit them, though. And why now, after nearly four years of quiet and blandly friendly coexistence? No, no, this couldn't be neighbour-angst. Then what was it?
Helen turned the slip of paper over again, willing it to look less, printed. As in, less mass-printed by an actual printing press. It was the right size to lay across the palm of her hand without extending past it, say five centimetres by ten. The paper seemed to be the same sort of slightly heavier stuff municipal notices are usually printed on, the official ones printed in colour, as opposed to the seasonal ones staff simply photocopy and cut up to stuff in mailboxes. The brief text, in an overused sans-serif font, had the crisp edges and corners themselves so suggestive of an official notice. The slip of paper was just as crisp and exactly edged. As if to compliment all this, the message on the slip of paper found lying on the doormat as she came home after work was itself crisp and to the point.
Probably it didn't mean anything. The trouble was, no matter how she tried, Helen couldn't explain it away. Nothing like this was used at her workplace – surplus furniture and the like generally got whisked away whenever the unfortunate chair, desk, or whatever's number came up in the asset tracking system. "Whisked away" as in one day it was there, the next it wasn't. The slip of paper didn't match the size of any pad of paper or business card Helen had ever seen there, however. She couldn't think of anyplace where anything similar had ever turned up. And if it was some kind of weird joke, what a lot of trouble to take over it!
"Okay, that's enough." Helen said firmly out loud, jumping a little as her voice echoed around the tiled entryway. "This must be somebody's weird little joke or it's a real notice that got stuck to my mail, and it has taken up too much of my time." It had only been a few minutes, but still. Firmly placing the slip into the recycling bin, Helen straightened her shoulders, took a deep breath, and turned her attention to other things. Like dinner.