Friday 8 April 2011

Friday Flash - Lost Email

The little email sat in the outbox. He looked up at the big emails either side of him. They stared straight ahead, keen to ignore the little email. They carried Business Documents and Contracts, and considered themselves far too important to talk to him.

The door opened and the big emails shot out of the outbox. The little email watched them race along Connection Street, looking for their destinations. They ignored the turning for Google Avenue, and passed the top of Hotmail Boulevard. The big emails were heading for Private Domain Hills.
The little email patted himself down to make sure he hadn’t forgotten any of his attachments, and toddled out into the street.

He hurried as fast as his little legs would carry him, although he was exhausted from dodging the big emails by the time he reached the sprawling mansion. A burly avatar in a cowboy hat guarded the gate. The little email clambered up onto the pavement, and tottered along the street to the gate.

“Yahooooooooooooo!” said the gatekeeper at no one in particular.

“Excuse me, could you let me through? I have a delivery for kat_biscuits423,” said the little email.

“Yahooooooooooooo!” said the gatekeeper. The avatar didn’t look down at him.

“ that a yes or a no?”

“ Yahooooooooooooo!”

“Never mind.”

The little email sat on the kerb, unsure what to do. He dangled his feet and watched other emails sprint past. Another email stopped in front of the gatekeeper. She held out a zip file of attachments for inspection.

“Sorry, miss, these are too heavy. The weight limit is 10, but these are at least 24. You’re gonna just have to run on home and tell your owner,” said the gatekeeper.

The email sighed, and trudged back the way she had come. The little email stood up, drew himself to his full height, and marched across to the gatekeeper.

“Excuse me?”


“Look, enough of that. I’ve got a delivery to make! kat_biscuits423 is waiting for this cake recipe and knitting pattern!” said the little email. He resisted the urge to stamp his foot.

“Sorry, young ‘un. Didn’t see you there,” said the gatekeeper. He looked down at the little email. “Let’s see....kat_biscuits423 doesn’t seem to have a mail box here. Are you sure you got the address right?”

“Yes - I’m a direct reply to an email from kat_biscuits423,” said the little email.

The gatekeeper fished in his back pocket and pulled out a crumpled sheaf of paper. He smoothed it out, and ran a digit down the printed list.

“Yahooooo!” he cried, pointing at a name. He showed the list to the little email.

“It says here that kat_biscuits423 sent an email to my owner yesterday. That’s what I’m replying to!” said the little email.

“Yes, her outbox is working, but as far as I can tell, there’s no inbox. Well, this is a real pickle. I can’t let you in, but I can’t send you home,” said the gatekeeper.

“Does that mean...?”

“Yep. You’re going to have to wait in Limbo while I figure this out.”

The gatekeeper pointed to a creaking shack across the street. The doors swung open, revealing the darkness inside. The little email quivered in fear. He’d heard about Limbo.

“It’s ok, son. I won’t be long,” said the gatekeeper.

The little email looked up and down the street, waiting for a break in the traffic. He toddled across to the shack. He looked over his shoulder, and the gatekeeper gave him an encouraging smile. The little email gulped, and shuffled inside.

The doors slammed shut behind him. He stifled a sob in the darkness, and felt around in front of him. His fingers found a bench, and he sat down. Whispers echoed in the black emptiness, and the little email felt very small. He fiddled with the attachments, worrying what would happen to them. Kat_biscuits423 wanted the cake recipe for a birthday party, and the knitting pattern was for a present.

Everything will be ruined if I don’t deliver these, he thought. The little email sniffed back tears as he wondered how he could get the attachments to her in time. He wrung his hands, and a fat tear crawled down his face. The little email hurried to wipe it away, afraid it might ruin the pattern or the recipe.

Suddenly, the door opened and light flooded the shack. The little email just had time to see the legions of emails crammed onto benches on either wall before a big hand lifted him out into the street.

“Hey there, little fella. Sorry to keep you waiting,” said the Yahoo gatekeeper.

“Is everything okay now?” asked the little email.

“Sure is. Turns out one of the silly humans accidentally pressed the wrong button on the server so your little lady’s inbox went down. It’s back up now. Do you want to come in?”

The little email beamed up at the gatekeeper. He checked the attachments one last time, before he followed the across the gatekeeper across the street. He smiled as he passed through the gate, happy that kat_biscuits423 would get her attachments after all.

* * *

This flash is written especially for my mother - partly because she had the idea about a little lost email wandering in cyberspace after an email to me went astray, and partly because she's my biggest fan! Happy Belated Mother's Day, Mam!


Anonymous said...

Cute story, made me smile!

Sam said...

This is quite different from your other stuff, and I love it! Just the smile-inducing story I needed first thing this morning. Poor little email, I really felt for it when it had to sit in Limbo.

Anonymous said...

Just the thought of the little e-mail toddling around makes me smile. Yahooooo!

Joz Varlo said...

That was cute! Love the whole idea of a poor little lost email waiting to go home to the right inbox, happy at last. Put a big old smile on my face! Always listen to your mom!

Anonymous said...

Oh my god, that was absolutely freaking adorable! I feel like giving all my emails a pep talk now!
Great job Icy!

Xan Marcelles said...

One of your best lighter pieces. This was perfect and cute and yeah, a testimony to how many different ways you can WRITE.

Chuck Allen said...

Oh so clever, as always. Made me want to put my arm around the little email and help him out. :)

Anonymous said...

That was so sweet, and very well written, you've got a great imagination!

Laurita said...

That is so cute. Poor little email. You really can write pretty much anything, Icy. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Here is a perfect example of a modern day fable for children. Can see this as a picture book.
Adam B @revhappiness

Harry said...

I could see this as one of those Schoolhouse Rock cartoons. Very cute!

Stina said...

Adorable. I love it. ^_^ Made me smile.

Jason Coggins said...

What's wrong with me? I was waiting for an alien chest buster or a Die Hard-esque assault on the big mansion. But just because I so obviously have a problem does not detract from what a breath of fresh air this tale was.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Stacey - Yay!

Sam - Yeah...I figured that when I put it up after last week's. But I like to be silly every now and then.

Justin - He had to toddle - it didn't seem right for him to run!

Maria - My mum likes the cartoon I drew, too!

Lisa - I get the feeling that if the personal emails are cute and friendly, and the important emails are focused, then the spam emails must be like those irritating sales calls...

Xan - Diversity is the key to....something.

Chuck - Aw, he is quite determined to get his attachments there. You have to feel for him.

Alannah - It's weird being inside my head sometimes!

Laurita - Aw thanks *blushes*

Adam - Teehee, well I've already drawn the little email, so why not?

Harry - I wonder if Google would reward me for making fun of Yahoo?

Stina - Yay! My prime goal when writing is to entertain.

Jason - You're mad, but we love you anyway.

Anonymous said...

Oh God love his poor little heart! The little email is just darling Icy, you need to do more like this.

Anonymous said...

As Sam said, different from your other work but still as well-observed.

It's always in the little details that your work screams authority to me. The use of visual words such as traffic or mailboxes or attachments in unusual setting set this little tale alight.

And I felt so sorry for the little lost mail when he got protective over the contents of his attachment. Wonderful anthropomorphing!

Top quality - as ever, Icy.

Reginald Golding said...

I will never email the same way again; imagining the dozens of triumphs and heartbreaks that happen every day, everytime you 'send'.

John Wiswell said...

We're off to see the wonderful Admin of .oz

Between the opening line and that photograph, it hits a total children's book tone. I can't remember reading a story quite like this from you, Icy. Adore the versatility.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Deanna - Oooh, has a new path opened before me?!

Ian - I've sometimes gotten quite antsy when I have packages to deliver from work so I guess I could sympathise!

Reginald - Haha, have I broken email for you?

John - I don't think I've really done much like this before. Blame my mum!

Anonymous said...

That's an adorable story and I love that you wrote it for your mom. Happy Belated Mother's Day to her.

Larry Kollar said...

At least the Yahoo let him in. Poor little guy, at least he got to where he was going. The cuteness was way out of character for you but hey, it's for your mom so that's allowed! ;-)

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Like Harry, this made me think of Schoolhouse Rock. Very cute story.

Anonymous said...

That is so cool! love it.

Steve Green said...

That there Limbo is a daaark and scaaary place for little emails to be stuck in.

Once again Icy you have produced a belter from something very unusual.

Virginia Moffatt said...

This is a great story. Love the idea of a limbo for emails, always wondered where they ended up...

Anonymous said...

Absolutely delightful, Icy. I could see the toddling, hear the yahoos. Poor little email. Thanks.

Take care,

trev said...

Nice. Love the cowboy shouting Yahoo. For reasons I don't fully understand, My brain puts Frank from 30 Rock in the cowboy role.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Danni - I've had word from my mum that she loved it!

FAR - I do cute only VERY occasionally. It's nice to be silly once in a while.

Tim - Thank you!

Michelle - Glad you liked it!

Steve - That was about as dark as I dared go!

Virginia - Next I'll tackle what the Royal Mail do with missing letters...

Jessica - He had to toddle because he's only little. Had fun drawing him, too.

Trev - I don't know why I made Yahoo a bit of a hick but it seems to suit the cowboy!

Stephen said...

Hi there Icy -- never thought I'd see a personification of the inter web; a lovely creative idea. Does make me wonder how this post will arrive. Hopefully with running shoes, and not via scary limbo. :)


John Xero said...

Ha, very cute. =)
I can imagine a whole load of potential in email personification now... Worries about getting fat as reply after reply is added; the schizophrenia of being CCed to multiple addresses; the one, lonely genuine email lost in the bad boys that inhabit the spam filter... =)

Stephen said...

Like everyone else, the word "cute" came to my mind. A sweet story, and I'm glad the little e-mail was able to deliver the attachments. Happy birthday to your Mam.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Stephen - Just think of this as the kiddie version of Tron!

John - Haha, now we just need the TV show, the merchandise, the video game...

Stephen - It's vital that cake recipes get where they need to be!

Anonymous said...

Awww ... I just wanted to hug the little guy. Lovely work; nice that you can write for your mom.

Anonymous said...

What a fun story. Cheers to your mom for the idea, you've brought it to life.

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