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'Good Old Days Never Were' by Niles Reddick

Updated: Jul 15, 2021



When the police threw him on the ground, cuffed him, dragged him to the police cruiser, and shoved him in the back seat, we were all stunned from our yards at the force they felt was necessary, wondered if he was a murderer or rapist, wondered if he had injuries, wondered if what he screamed--“I ain’t done nothing”-- was true, and wondered if he would survive the night in jail or commit a mysterious suicide before dawn as so many had done.

Our neighbor who had been watering her day lilies by the stop sign said, “Next thing I knew, they surrounded his Camry, jerked him out of the driver’s side to the asphalt. His face was sideways on the pothole they haven’t filled the whole year, since the new jail got all the funding.” She added she knew the boy’s mother from church and would call and find out.

Later that night, our neighbor stepped over in a gown, housecoat, and bedroom slippers with her hair clipped on top of her head and said, “He was waiting on UPS to bring the title to his Camry so he could get his tag. The temporary one had expired, and they had overnighted, but UPS lost it.”

“Good night,” my wife said. “Aren’t there bigger crimes in town than that? Do they treat all teens that way?”

“They say it’s a deterrent. They don’t hurt them too bad.”

“Was it all true?”

“Apparently so. The dealership had to issue another temporary tag. The courthouse would do nothing without a title, wouldn’t even take the tax money.”

“That’s amazing given how much the new jail cost that they wouldn’t accept the tax money. I just told Manning yesterday it was a shame that the only growth and development here was a jail. What kind of message does that send newcomers?”

“True.”

“Well, did they release him?”

“Supposed to get out today and maybe his temporary tag will cover him until a new title comes since.”

“I hope they got a refund on that ridiculous overnight fee. What a horrible experience to have just because of UPS.”

“His mother said she tried to lodge a complaint online, since they don’t list a telephone number, and all she kept getting was an automated assistant who pushed out the same message. She couldn’t even email them, but she said she was going to sue them.”

“Nobody wins against corporate giants. They see this as trivial.”

“True, but after enough bad customer experiences, they’ll lose business and maybe the Post Office can come back to life like the good old days.”

“I think the poor attitude and bad service at the Post Office were the reasons these package delivery companies were built to begin with. The good old days never were.”

“True.”

Copyright. Niles Reddick.


Niles Reddick is author of a novel, two collections, and a novella. His work has been featured in nineteen anthologies, twenty-one countries, and in over four hundred publications including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, BlazeVox, New Reader Magazine, Citron Review, and The Boston Literary Magazine. Website: http://nilesreddick.com/



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