Monthly Archives: April 2016

Behind the Bin Liners

In the back of the warehouse were the bin liners, and behind the bin liners was where the secret club met.  Seeing as they were a group of adults they didn’t refer to themselves as a secret club, or even a club of any kind.  They all agreed that it was a secret, though, and this meant that they weren’t allowed to divulge the information they went over to anyone outside of the group.  And they weren’t allowed to talk about it with each other unless they were in a meeting, to avoid being overheard and possibly intercepted.

If there is any place meant for the gathering of secret clubs a warehouse would be it.  And if there is any section of the warehouse the most clandestine it would be the spot behind the bin liners.  There was minimal traffic in this section, and when the crew assigned to it took their break it made for a perfect opportunity.


Seeing as the club was a secret, no one ever got to find out what the members met about.  They may have been amateurs at whatever they were meeting about, but they most certainly were not amateurs at keeping the topic a secret.

It was purely by default that they were discovered one day, but of course it was bound to happen.  Someone decided not to go on their break that day, or had forgotten something they left behind on one of the shelves, and heard some strange chanting off in a corner.  It turned out not to be chanting so much as reciting some sort of pledge or promise, and the person that stumbled upon it retreated with the quickness.  He was later recorded stating that he didn’t know what they were up to, but he wasn’t about to find out.

When the authorities, by which I mean the shift leads and warehouse management, went to investigate the mysterious clubhouse they found the space completely empty.  It was devoid of any paraphernalia whatsoever, and the only thing that gave it away as a place of frequent meetings was that it was also devoid of dust or debris of any kind, either.  There was never another secret club behind the bin liners because better cameras were installed, which wound up shedding some light on some actual nefarious activities that were really going on in other spots of the building.  Oddly enough, after the discovery of the club there was a rise in crime for a short time, but then it went back down again, and it is speculated that they found somewhere else to meet.

Cardboard Boxes of Infamy Pt. 2

As continued from part one…

And so Trey found himself in the backyard shed of the distant cousin of one of his great-grandfather’s nephews.  The shed was piled high with cardboard boxes, and inserted with no pattern whatsoever were ones labelled “Augustus”, which was his great-grandfather’s name.  And were the ones he was after.  So, with not a little griping and moaning, and even some consideration of bailing on the research, Trey got to work extracting the right boxes, and then restacking all of the others.  By the time he had sifted through them all and, essentially, cleaned out the distant relative’s shed, it was getting on to dinner time.  He dropped down onto the grass and wiped the sweat off his brow with what he thought was as handkerchief and later discovered to be a really fuzzy leaf.  A fuzzy leaf that left a trail of itchy bumps across the top of his face.  But that wasn’t until later.

Cardboard Boxes

Trey began to go through the cardboard boxes, and most of the contents were either completely obscure and useless, or trash altogether.  However, there was one item that stood out to Trey, and it was a book labelled Dictionary.  Now, there is nothing about a dictionary that would seem to require any second thoughts whatsoever, but it was the fact that there were no other books, or papers with more than a couple scribbles of Augustus’ handwriting. A man that appeared to have no interest in reading or writing would surely not care about the correct spelling or pronunciation of any words.  Sure enough, Trey peeled back the front cover to this book titled “Dictionary” and found a compartment.  In the compartment was a tiny, silver handgun.  It didn’t take an expert to recognize that it was an old piece of equipment, and well worn.

Trey felt a little shiver go down his spine and come out his left big toe.  He looked up and scanned the other cardboard boxes before looking back down at the little pistol.  He was in a state of bewilderment.  Not really sure that he had actually discovered it, or that it hadn’t just been dropped into his lap by a bird passing by.  It was because it’s presence meant there might be some clout to the ridiculous story about how Augustus had been a pirate.  Or maybe it was the reason the whole story had been fabricated.  Whatever the case, Trey knew that he had to find out.

Cardboard Boxes of InfamyPt. 1

When Trey first heard about his great-grandfather, he was wide-eyed and full of awe and wonder.  That was because he was a child.  When he got a bit older he began to be filled with skepticism, and when he reached adulthood he flat out no longer believed any of the stories.  You see, the family lore was that Trey’s great-grandfather, a man by the name of Augustus, had once been a notorious pirate.  The story still went that Augustus’ ship and crew still existed, although they had obviously updated with the times, but no one had ever been able to track them down.  Augustus had been dead a long time now.  He came home one night with a gash that went clean through his stomach, and he claimed it was from a duel he’d had with a rival pirate.  Although the hospital confirmed that the injury did, indeed, come from a sword, the rest of the story was unlikely at best.

Upon Augustus’ death his belongings were packed up into cardboard boxes and disbursed amongst the homes of his children.  His wife had been dead for a good fifteen years before him, and there was no one else to do make sure that the job was done correctly.  Most of those cardboard boxes got stacked up in attics or put out in garages and were completely forgot about.  Augustus’ offspring felt too guilty to throw anything away, and so neither did they search for anything to cherish, either.


All good adventure stories happen when the main charactergoes to stay with some distant and weird relative for part of, if not all of, summer vacation.  This one does not.  Mostly because at this point in time Trey is an adult.  However, he does wind up going and staying with a distant and weird relative for a short period of time, because he got wind that they still had some of the cardboard boxes labeled “Augustus” and, even though he didn’t believe that his great-grandfather had once been a swash-buckling villain of the sea, he was a journalist and the family history smacked of a good story, true or not.  Most good adventure stories usually take place in some mistyold town somewhere in the United Kingdom.  Once again, this one does not.  In fact, it takes place in the MidWest, which is about as generic as you could possibly get.  But, hey, the facts are the facts.

To be continued…

Rewind the Packaging Tape Pt. 2

Continued from Part One…

Garrett didn’t notice that he was dealing with the packaging tape rolls with such quickness that the edges were nicking his flesh like razors.  In his mind he was tearing down the streets of Spain with a hundred mad bulls trying to light the back of his pants on fire with their breath.  The faster he ran, the more people he dodged by, the faster his hands on the assembly line worked.  When the horn sounded at the end of his shift his eyes would flutter open, and he would stare blankly for a minute, trying to figure out where he was.  He would look down, and his hands would be red, and there would be drops of blood on the floor.

“You have to be more careful, Garrett,” his supervisor told him, squinting at him doubtfully.  This was a problem he was not prepared for.  How did you tell someone to stop cutting themselves on the job?  When the job was boxing up packaging tape, at that?  “We can’t keep sending off boxes with blood stains on them, and it’s becoming a waste.  Maybe you should consider wearing some gloves…”


So Garrett purchased some mechanics gloves, and he factored them into a mountain expedition.  He studied and trained with his guide books in the evening, while he was at home, and then when he was at work he would put his training to use.

His family would ask him to come over for the Superbowl, for Easter, for fireworks… “I’m training,” he told them over the phone.  He didn’t know that his voice was shaky, and that his breathing was heavy.  His mother was telling him, “You have me worried, mijo-“ But he was already hanging up.  He was already reading the next sentence, that he already knew by heart, knee deep in snow again, clawing his way up the side of an icy glacier.

It was the packaging tape factory who called Garrett’s family and said that he hadn’t been to work for two days.  They found him in his apartment, inside of an igloo made out of travel books.  Each book was heavily worn, with tabs hanging out of them, some of them streaked with blood when he had forgotten to his bandages.  The strangest thing was that he was found to be hypothermic, actually frozen to death, with frostbite on his face and hands and feet.  It didn’t make any sense, but Garrett’s family thought they knew what had happened.  It was the books that did it to him.

Rewind the Packaging Tape Pt. 1

Garrett liked to whistle while he worked.  His hands moved quickly, accustomed to the task, but his mind was able to wander effortlessly.  Over hills and through large cities, the tempo of his tune fluctuated with his inner destination.  During his off hours, Garrett pored over books about exotic locations, or featuring key spots throughout the world.  He knew as much as there was to know about the Arc de Triomphe and Victoria Falls.  On the assembly line his hands boxed up packaging tape with lightning speed, but his eyes were even closed and he was walking the streets of Paris, remarking on each of the sites and calling to mind the facts as he envisioned going over them in the guidebook.


It was something of an obsession of his, you could say.  Of course Garrett wouldn’t say that.  He would call it a passion.  That’s what it had started out with.  A true, unadulterated appreciation for travel and experiences and adventures.  That he would probably never have, of course.  He started working for the packaging tape plant with the hopes of saving up money to go sight-seeing.  To actually get to ride on an airplane!  Just the thought of it made Garrett swoon.  Once he started working he started getting books from the library, and then buying his favorites.  He started studying the places he wanted to go to.  Slowly, over time, he began to let go of his dream of seeing the actual places, and touching them, because he was able to get every single detail on the printed page.  And much faster.  And in much greater quantity.

His family says that he began to talk less about “When I go to Stonehedge”, and instead began to say, “Stonehenge is almost three thousand years old…”.  There was no longing left in his voice, but rather a sense of ownership.  It was as if he had already been there.  And then it became almost as if he had had his hand in it to begin with.  You would think by listening to him talk that he had been one of the men who erected Stonehenge, who had participated in the ceremony at its erection.

Garrett started having to bandage his hands, which were becoming covered in “packaging tape cutes”, as he called them, like you would refer to a paper cut.  He had bandaids on almost every one of his fingers.

To be continued…

Packaging Boxes Are the Face of Your Business

The Guinness Book of World Records is just a tad bit weird, right?  I mean, is anyone with me on this one?  From the depressing to the disgusting to the downright macabre and/or pointless, it is chock full of records that someone has broken either intentionally or unintentionally.  From how many people are wearing a pair of antlers on their head at the same time, to how many soda cans someone can stick onto their body, to the longest tongue, to the oldest person to ever get a tattoo, the list is absolutely endless.  If you have a notion that you can set a record, all you have to do is visit the Guinness World Records website and hit the “set a record” button.  The rest is history.  Or is it?

Some things may be hard to believe, like the fact that the oldest Holocaust survivor is one hundred and twenty-two years old (what?!?), but would you believe me if I told you that packaging boxes are the face of your business?  If you deal primarily with shipping items, than it’s safe to say that your website is someone’s first impression.  If it looks like it took two minutes and basically no skill to set up your online domain, more than likely a peruser will just click off and search for someone else.

Brown cardboard box

Brown cardboard box

If you use second hand packaging boxes to send your wares, your customer will probably assume you are cheap and that surely whatever you have to offer will be cheap.  If you are willing to cut corners on first impressions than you will more than likely cut corners on what you are trying to provide.  Surely it makes sense that when face-to-face interaction is not part of a shopping experience (i.e. online and in a box), the parts that someone does come into contact with should be taken seriously.  Don’t ever assume that someone will consider you to be a savvy businessperson simply because you had the “foresight” to reuse packaging boxes.  My dad always said that you could paint a piece of you-know-what gold, but that doesn’t change what it really is or where it came from.  So take that to heart when considering all of the little ins and outs to your company.

Would you believe that someone just came across the oldest message in a bottle ever to be found?  Sent out in 1906 as an experiment, it didn’t make it to shore or the hands of another human being until 2015.  Now that is the kind of World Record I’m interested in.  You can keep your most-grapes-eaten-in-one-minute…

Mailing Boxes to Friends

My best friend and I are always mailing boxes to each other.  She started the trend by sending me a care package after I moved away from San Diego and no long had access to some of my favorite stuff anymore.  It seems that no matter where I live, it is never by a Trader Joe’s.  And I have lived in the South, the Midwest, the West Coast, and New England.  The irony is that most people I know have access to multiple Trader Joe’s, and I have to drive about two hours to get to one.  Since my best friend can literally walk to hers in less than ten minutes, she often surprises me by sending me some goodies in the mail.


One of our unspoken stipulations about this mutual process of mailing boxes back and forth is that we spare no expense.  We really go all out.  Because if we are going to do it, we might as well do it right, right?  Right!  For instance, we have been known to include a stack of t-shirts, our favorite movies that we watch every time we see each other, so both of us need to have a copy.  We send Justin Bieber valentines and homemade crafts.  There is nothing so wonderful as when I come home from the store, or some other crazy outing with my two crazy toddlers, and I see a box sitting on my front stoop.  Could it be?  Wait for it…Wait for it… It is!  And then I’m shoving my kids out of the way and ripping through the cardboard with my teeth.

Recently, we both gave up junk food for Lent.  We frequently lamented to one another over the 40 days about how much we missed our favorite snacks.  She promised that when it was all over she would send me my favorite stuff from Trader Joe’s.  And did she ever.  A Cinnamon Coffee Cake with the crunchiest crust and the moistest of middles.  Hazelnut cookies put together like macaroons, and boxes chocolate peppermints and fruity, gummy sugar crusted squares.  A box of madelines to dip in coffee, and even hot sauce for my husband.  The best part was the stuffing, which was wadded up newspaper, but in the middle of the wads were bottles of nail polish, of my favorite colors.  I sent her a text that said: I don’t think anyone in the history of the world has ever gotten a box as good as this one.

And it’s true.  So even though the time for New Year’s resolutions has passed, it’s not too late to start a new.  Try mailing boxes to people you love, full of things that you know they love, and you just might get one in response…