This is a comic.

Not really. But okay.

Comics aren’t Media Mail.

What?

Go across the street, right there. To the comics store. They’ll tell you. They do all their comics parcel post.

But these don’t have advertisements.

It doesn’t matter.

So a book of pictures isn’t Media Mail but a book of words is? Is that it?

Yes.

But these have pictures and words.

[pause] Hmm. Hey, Diane, would you look at this?

[Postal worker #2 approaches the counter.] This isn’t a comic, Fran, it’s more like a graphic novel.

What? What’s the difference?

This has a story, and the pictures compliment the story. As opposed to the story and the pictures going together, and it being mostly pictures.

[Customer] This is really becoming a larger discussion about literary genre.

[Postal workers stare blankly.]

Never mind.

[Postal worker #2 walks away.]

[Postal worker #1] Okay, listen. I’m going to have to talk to someone about this. I mean, not now. But over the next few days. Media Mail… It’s meant to be educational, is the thing. It’s a special rate for educational materials. Is this educational?

Yes.

Really. What’s the education here?

That everything is going to be okay. Shit gets fucked up sometimes, but it’s going to be okay.

That’s the message?

Yes.

[pause] That’s a nice message.

Thank you. So can we send it Media? I mean, it’s a box of books.

See, like a CD. A music CD. That’s Media. But a DVD with a video game… that’s not. It gets confusing.

It’s a box of books. It’s addressed to—

Just because they’re going to a bookstore doesn’t mean they’re books. Because, okay. Say you have a book about playing a card game, and the book comes with a deck of cards. That’s not Media anymore. That’s something else. I have to explain this to people all the time.

But—I’ve been mailing books Media Mail for 20 years. They’re… words. On a page. Printed. Bound. These are books. With words. I don’t—

Just because you’ve been doing something a long time doesn’t mean it’s right.

[Customer purses lips in frustration.]

See, we just don’t know. People these days are taking photos and making those photo books—what are they called, where they put the photos and bind them into a book? You know what I’m talking about?

[pause] I’m not really interested in—

Photos?

Right.

Anyway, they put these photos into a book and have them bound, and then they want to ship them Media Mail. But it’s not Media Mail. Do you see what I’m saying? It gets confusing. I’ve been working here ten years, and I still don’t—I mean, you wouldn’t believe the stuff people come up with. So I’ll have to check on this. I’ll have to check on it and get back to you.

[Customer exhales.] Okay. Fine. I just don’t—

We might be able to, I don’t know. We could mail them Media, just this once. But then I’ll have to check on it. For the future. But you have to understand—

Okay. That would be great.

you have to understand, it’s complicated.

It sounds very complicated.

People don’t get it. They come in here, and they want to ship Media Mail, and… But you understand? What I’m saying?

Yes. I understand.

Okay. As long as you—we can do it this once. Because I’m not sure. You’ve been very patient. People aren’t always so patient. It gets so confusing, and they just—I don’t know. They just don’t understand.

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BUCKET SILER is a writer, editor, and the founder of Santa Fe Zine Fest. She holds an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop, and has been a Vermont Studio Center fellow and the recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation grant and a Fulcrum Fund Award. Her piece "P.S. While You Were Sleeping" recently won second place in Storm Cellar's Force Majeure Flash Contest. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she has lived in New Mexico since 2006. You can creep on her at www.bucketsiler.com

One response to “Mailing a Graphic Novel”

  1. Kerry Lorentzson says:

    This is hilarious !!!

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