A few months back I stepped into the post office intending to execute my daily ritual of checking the mail. I saw there were a few people waiting in line at the counter, nodded a good morning, then turned ninety degrees to head for my postbox.

Ours is a small island where we greet each other in a friendly fashion, and most everyone knows I'm strange because they've read the newspaper articles describing how I got the idea for Griffin & Sabine while collecting my post.

So there I was again, looking into my box to see what mail it had to offer, when I spied through the other end the eyes and nose of Adele, the postmistress, who was still in the process of loading up the boxes. Naturally enough I said, "Hi!" and she responded with a quiet, equally cheery greeting. I asked, "How you doing?" And she and I proceed to have a little conversation. I caught sight of something in my peripheral vision, and I turned slowly to see the other people at the counter staring at me as if I'd completely lost my marbles. I frowned and then it dawned on me. They couldn't see or hear the postmistress. From their position, all they could see was Nick, the guy who got his brainwaves from his little silver post box, chatting away to it like a hatter at a tea party.

I closed my eyes and considered, whether I should try and explain about the hidden postmistress. I decided there was no point. I just smiled and exited, thus confirming what everyone had suspected all along.





The really big event in my early days at art college was our first life-drawing class. I was barely sixteen and I'd never seen a naked woman before. I was both excited at the prospect and scared stiff that I'd find some way of embarrassing myself. I'd discussed the matter with my friend Steve, who was also suffering from heavy attacks of conflicting expectations. He and I used to travel on the train together, and on the morning of the great event, we noticed a beautiful woman in her early twenties sitting at the other end of the carriage. We laughed and joked about "Wouldn't it be fantastic if she was the model instead of some Bessy Bradock." (Bessy Bradock was an amiable but pudding-faced, rotund, middle-aged politician, who, for a pair of teenaged boys, has grown to symbolize the sexually unappealing.)

At college, we got into a conversation about the impending life class with Robbie, a big Scottish lad who was a couple of years our senior. According to Robbie, he'd been there, done that, and frankly didn't know what all the kerfuffle was about.

When the moment was finally upon us, we filed into the life room with our heads bent low and our smirks tucked carefully into the shadows of our collars. Needing a security blanket, I immediately went over and stood by my favorite easel. Steve took up a similar position on the other side of the room. Robbie, meanwhile, perched himself right next to me astride a donkey, a kind of long, low stool with a drawing board cradled at one end.

After a couple of minutes, our drawing teacher came in with, of all people, the beauty from the train. She had bare feet and was wearing a Chinese silk robe. It took me a few seconds to come to grips with the implications of this momentous occurrence. I shot Steve a glance and could see that he was wearing a look of panicked ecstacy similar to my own. I snatched up a pencil and started sharpening it for all it was worth. (Funny: Back then, I never noticed how blatantly phallic that gesture was.) I was trying to compose myself, knowing that she still had to go behind the screen and undress. I told myself that I had plenty of time to prepare for the oncoming shock to my senses. But, as it turned out, things didn't quite go the way I'd imagined. Our model's conversation with the teacher ended abruptly. Instead of stepping over to the screen, she simply pirouetted, and, with a flick of her delicate thumbs, unhinged the robe. Even without comparison, I knew I was gawking like a guppy at a truly celestial body. For long seconds the room filled with an unearthly silence. Then, from my right, there came a faint creaking noise that was followed by the awesome vision of Robbie's spasticated arms and legs beating in futility at the air as he and his donkey keeled over and crashed to the floor, spraying the room with a shower of pencil shavings, drawing board chips, and charcoal dust.


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