THE POST MONSTER GENERAL
De liber deletrix
RANGE: The Post Monster General is free to move, or not move, wherever the US mail moves, or doesn’t move. He can sometimes be found, improperly addressed, looking over post cards, shaking his head in a sad regretful way, down in the dead letter office.
HABITS: When a pizza store owner in California receives a personal note of condolence from Isadora Duncan, or an Alaskan Congressman opens a letter from a Confederate general demanding a stay of execution for John Wilkes Booth, you may be sure that the Post Monster General has been on his self-appointed rounds. It is he who expedites the delivery of bulky, colorful offers from the Publishers Clearing House and delays the arrival of perishable packages or personal mail. He is especially concerned with envelopes distinguished by little cellophane address windows. By supernatural means he is able to determine whether they contain a bill, in which case he dispatches them to appear promptly in a mail box, or a check, in which case he sentences them to moulder indefinitely in a canvas bag. The Post Monster General is passionate about zip codes, and is working towards completely digital addressing. For example: Mr. 639 7644, 532 2nd Avenue, 67opolis, 51st State, 1st Country, 3rd World 56555555559867483948584777594 737747474733 (etc.)
HISTORY: The Post Monster General’s original field of action was the byhand pouch traffic of the late Roman Empire. Many a Samaritan rolled his eyes and threw up his hands in a gesture of Semitic resignation after finding a two-hundred-bushel Epistle to the Ephesians stacked on his stoop— misdirected to him by the Post Monster General. In America, similar gestures were made by miners on the Barbary Coast upon receiving, via the Pony Express, pipe organs addressed to Pope Gregory XLV. Doubtless His Holiness was similarly puzzled at the arrival of his mail order bride. The citizens of his native Rome believed the Post Monster General to be a sort of Centaur-in-reverse—a creature with the hind-quarters of a horse for a head, atop a pair of all-too-human flat feet. How he made his way from Italy to these shores remains a mystery—but since he eventually did get here, we can safely assume that he didn’t mail himself.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: One thing is certain: you needn’t bother looking in your mailbox. You might try the gutter, the house next door, the dashboard of a stranger’s car, or the bonfire on the corner over which your local postie is warming his hands. The Post Monster General has a morbid aversion to snow, rain, heat, and gloom of night.