Letter to Mrs. Fanny McQueer

Essay by mar*High School, 11th grade June 2009

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Blame was the key. Max needed to unlock the door and place it with someone. The pale blue envelope, torn neatly on the side, sat on top of the coffee table in the living room. He contemplated his situation. He could tell the lady that the mailman must’ve just started working or that his mother thought it was hers and opened the envelope or that it was an accident or that…Scant moments ago, Max had walked in from school into the small living room. It was dim and quiet. The mismatched settees rested across from each other. The pink and white begonias bowed mournfully on the windowsill. Max pulled aside the drapes. Instantly the flowers stood up straighter. The afternoon sun was peeking from behind downy clouds. It seemed like an agreeable day for early May. Some people were walking their dogs or taking kids out to play. Max peered at the sky and if he knew better, the clouds would turn heavy and grey in just a few hours.

Max put his backpack aside. Newspapers and envelopes were stacked scrappily on one of the sofas. Rifling through the pile, one of the envelopes caught his eye. Max fiddled with the small blue envelope. The address read:Fanny McQueer169 White Crest Ave.

PinetonL8P G2TCANADA ONThere was more than that. Right below the address, it says ‘URGENT M.O.L.E BUSINESS’ with a small picture of an indigo eye mask. There wasn’t a Fanny McQueer in the house yet this was his street, his house, his city … right down to the postal code. Max snorted at the unfortunate surname of McQueer. He thought it was a prank. There wasn’t an opening to give a clue of the contents of the envelope but that it was puffing up right in the middle. He looked hard at the envelope and thought, ‘What the hell?’ Max tore it open, took out a neatly printed letter and a tiny green bag. The bag held a gleaming red watch. He scanned the letter. There wasn’t a line of salutation. Snippets of ‘… situation has occurred… PU reeking mayhem… disrupting technology and threatening parties… organization claiming accountability needs to be stopped… risky… rely on you… no time…’ stuck out. He carefully placed the bag and the letter on the coffee table and dashed to find the directory.

––––•(-••-)•––––Max walked out the house and down the steps, armed with the knowledge that Mrs. Fanny McQueer lived at 196 White Crest Ave. It was only a few blocks from his house. The sky had darkened slightly and it started to drizzle. Then he heard it. A faint screeching sound with the pitter patter of a person’s feet echoed his own. Agents, panting fast, chased him from behind. A beeping noise surrounded him. They were catching up! Max hurried down the sidewalk, shoving the envelope in his jacket. He almost jumped when a dog growled nearby. By the time Max felt he escaped the sounds, he was already climbing up Mrs. McQueer’s steps. The lofty house was nicely kept, with a garden in the pink and door and windows of golden oak. Ruefully, Max thought it looked anything but queer. He was expecting the opposite.

He took a deep breath. He had his excuses all planned out. Max pressed the doorbell. He waited a few seconds. Then he pressed it again. It started to rain heavily. With an audible sigh of relief, Max was just about to turn back when he heard a faint voice calling out, “I’m coming! I’m coming!” Anxiety clouded his mind. What was he doing here? The door gave a tiny click as it unlocked, revealing a delicate woman with startling blue eyes and graying hair carefully cropped close around her face. She smiled. “Yes? May I help you?” Mrs. Fanny McQueer inquired. “Uh… this envelope was supposed to be delivered to your house but I guess the address got mixed up,” Max said evenly, taking out the crumpled and slightly damp envelope. Mrs. McQueer took it from his hands and smoothed it out. “It’s torn at the side,” she announced petulantly and stared at him. He floundered. ‘It was an accident. I thought it was a prank. I mean, read it! It says MOLE BUSINESS on it!’ he said in defence. Mrs. McQueer gave him a long look and didn’t say anything. Then she read the letter. She chuckled every other time. “Well, thanks so much for bringing it here,” she said at last.

Max turned around. But he couldn’t help it and called back, “So is it real? It sounds like a lot of people are in trouble.” The old lady’s head poked out. She said, “Oh it’s real all right. My granddaughter’s begging me to get rid of the,” she pause and frowned at the letter, “’parental units’ who are ruining her party. A sci-fi fanatic, she writes everything in code. And she’s bribing me with a watch.” She smirked. “But you would already know that, right?” She shut the door hard.

Max gaped dumbfounded, slowly shook his head and walked back in the rain.