I’ve just popped back for my gun and then I’m going to shoot the fucking bitch behind the post office counter

Hate every motherfucker that’s in your way (MM)

 

All I wanted was something sticky.  A bit of Sellotape.  An address label.  Anything.  Usually the post office is quite obliging.  Often I remember to take my own Sellotape.  The problem lies with the supercrap envelopes I use to send submissions to agents.  They have those peel-off strips and are then self-sticking.  Except they don’t.  Stick, I mean.  So I have to paste them down with something else (Sellotape, an address label, chewing gum…)  For a start, I stood in the queue of the sub-post office (“sub” means “post office specialising in morons and the horribly ancient”) for about a year, until several hundred really ancient old women turned up at the wrong end of the queue and then were allowed to jump it.  So having waited half the morning for my turn, I then had to wait the rest of my life for an old woman, who was about four thousand years old wearing bandages on her legs just to make you feel sorrier, to pick up her pension (why don’t they use direct debit like everyone else?)

These are things One Must Tolerate.  One is Not Allowed to be Horrible to Old People.  One must be Patient.  One must be Prepared to be treated like shit by sub-corpses.  Dead people are more important than live ones.

The Beautiful People indeed.

Eventually I got to the post office counter and with my usual efficiency got the sticky printed stamp for the envelope (to some unknown agent) and the return postage in proper stamps for the SAE.  Second class, please (you only use first class if you’re sending something to Mars and want to be sure it arrives before the Apocalypse.)  And then I asked for something sticky to stick down the stupid useless cheapshit brown envelope, the most rubbish thing you can buy in Rymans because everything else appears to be imprinted with secret gold or something and anyway, what’s the point because you know it’s going to be rejected anyway.  I even reinforce the corners of the brown envelopes (A4 size) with brown tape so that the corners of my Precious Work doesn’t get annihilated by the sorting office.

When the bitch wouldn’t give me a tiny sticky thing, I said I would have to take the envelope home and Sellotape it myself.  So she peeled off the printed stamp and gave me ordinary stamps to put on the envelope because of the time on the stamp.  What the fuck.  I can’t believe the fucking small minded bureaucracy of the universe.  And this is why Planet Earth is the forgotten outpost of Hell.  It might be a prison for all the artists and rebels in the universe, but it’s mostly peopled with Grey People who defy description because they are so dull and yet so powerful because they Rule The World.

 

Needless to say, I left in tears.  I mean, I ask you, I’m too old to cry in public.  I can’t tell you what it was:  a bad week, a bad year, hyper-sensitive, low self-esteem, PMT that lasts years, menopause, the humiliation of just being me, an entire life time of feeling like shit, of trying to be happy, of trying, trying, trying.

Tears ran down my face all around hateful Waitrose where I went to buy the Radio Times (already sold out) and ran down my face when I went into the local newsagent where I did find the TV mag.  Much wiping on the back of my fingers trying to pretend that there was nothing wrong, that my bottom lip wasn’t quivering and I wasn’t really three years old with my ice cream cone in the dirt.  I asked the newsagent if he had any Sellotape and he did.  Amazing.  What a star.  Finally I could post “Ultra” off to yet another agent who didn’t care.

 

And then I broke all my rules (not to spend any more money because I’m so overspent I’m not sure how I’m going to feed us this month and not to eat any more fat because I’m already 4kg overweight and not to drink any more coffee because it keeps me awake for about a week) and went to my local Costa, had a flat white and a banana loaf (wish they’d bring the original one back) and sat in the window and cried more.

 

I tell myself that when I get to heaven, I’ll get the prize for Trying Really Hard.  Is there a prize for that?  I tried to find ten nice things to cheer myself up:  I’m only 4kg overweight, not 40kg.  I’ve written ten novels (that I can actually remember.)  I’ve got the most amazing daughter in the entire universe who turned twelve last week.  The sun has been shining all morning.  Marilyn Manson might only have produced three really good records but they are so good, it doesn’t actually matter about the rest.  There are four hundred million billion books in the world that I haven’t read yet.  (Is that ten yet?)

 

I’m now going to eat a lettuce leaf for lunch and then go to work, then eat four hundred chocolate biscuits for afternoon tea.

 

And there you have a day in the life of an unpublished writer.  Miniscule indeed.

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About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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One Response to I’ve just popped back for my gun and then I’m going to shoot the fucking bitch behind the post office counter

  1. This is brilliant. Your post is like how I feel on a daily basis. Also, post offices have the most ridiculous, outdated service of any establishment and you’d really think they’d provide envelopes that you didn’t have to superglue shut.

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