Snow Plows + Mail Carriers
A light snow had been falling against the windshield of the black F350 Super Duty for the list few hours. The four travelers were headed north on back roads with their heat blasting and their windows open, searching for a cabin somewhere in Vermont.
The driver spoke, "Where I'm taking you, you must promise to never return."
A young buck in the back said, "You kidding me? I couldn't find this place again if you gave me an address and a smartphone."
"All that proves is you don't know how to use your phone," said a red-bearded man who sat in the backseat across from the speaker.
The F350 slowed at a driveway that was immaculately plowed in spite of the snow, but there was no mailbox to indicate a number. No, there. As the headlights swept across the woods when the truck turned onto the drive, there, about 3 feet back from the road, was a rusty grey box that had been the target of mailbox baseball so many times I doubt it would even open.
The door to the cabin opened as the forth door of the F350 slammed shut. Standing on the porch was a man with a long grey beard pointing a shot gun, lazily in their direction.
"Oh shit," said one of the passengers, "What'd you get us into Rig?"
"Keep your mouth shut Barry and you might just live through this," the driver said, then called up to the porch, "You going to kill us old man?"
The shot-gunner's beard waggled as he spoke. "Not unless I confused the buckshot and the rock salt again."
"Let us in Mister Henderson, we won't stay long. Can't. Not with snow falling like this. Me and my guys gotta get back to Worcester county before we get the call. You still remember what it's like wondering if it's better to go to sleep or just stay up waiting for the call? I know we're gonna be out there until seven am. Snow like this, people gonna wanna ski, if the state don't call us Wachusettes will."
"Shit." The shotgun lowered, "I knew you'd be coming one of these days. I knew I should've moved to Maine."
There were no lights in the small two-room cabin, save the glow that came from the
fireplace. Above the mantle was a glass case containing a football signed by Matt Cavanaugh of the '82 New England Patriots. By the time Henderson had finished hanging the gun up above the door, three of the four visitors had positioned themselves in chairs around the fire.
"Whaddya want Ron?" Henderson asked.
"Oh, shit, you're name's Ron?" said the youngest of the crew. Turning to Henderson he said, "We all call him Big Rig 'cause he drives the dump truck. He can clear a whole lane, including the shoulder going fifty-five, practically in his sleep."
"Respect your elders boy, who do you think taught him how to plow in his sleep?"
"I'm guessing you?"
"You're goddamn right! Now," he said turning back to Ron, "Ask me what you came here to ask."
Rig/Ron the driver of the F350 cleared his throat, "We..."
"Goddamnit Ron I'm retired. The day I got my last check Betsy made me promise not to plow a road other than my own driveway."
"Just hear me out mister Henderson. It isn't just me that needs you, your county needs you."
Henderson pointed toward the door, "It's not my county anymore! I made a promise!" he yelled with fire in his eyes.
"Haven't you been listening Mark Henderson?" Yelled a voice from the other side of the cabin, and out of the bedroom walked a slim woman in a tight fitting satin nightgown. Her grey hair was cut short like a man's and showed of the length of her neck. Her face looked like a combination between Jamie lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver. "To hell with your promise; these boys need your help."
Henderson sighed, "Boys, this is Betsy. Go ahead and introduce yourselves."
As each introduced themselves in turn Betsy approached them and shook each of their hands. A red-bearded man in his mid-forties came first, he tipped his John Deer Hat and grinned at her through a grill of tobacco-yellowed teeth. "They call me Sandman. Used to be called The Spreader, but once my reputation got around--"
"Once your crabs got around!" said the youngest, and Ron slapped back of his head. Betsy approached him next, "Barry," he said taking her hand and kissing the back. "I'm The Blower." He was the youngest of the group but far and away the tallest. Barry played linebacker in highschool, praying someone would scout him, but eventually realized that God wanted him to plow.
Betsy moved on. "Ron, it's good to see you again."
"You too Betsy."
"Still kicking, I just replaced her rear differential."
Betsy moved on to the last member of the group, and the only one who kept his distance from the fire. He was wearing navy-blue quilt-lined coveralls with "Mr. Plow" embroidered across the back. "And I suppose you work for Mr. Plow?"
"No ma'am. I AM Mr. Plow," she shook his hand, clearly impressed. "Our fleet of trucks keep the streets of Worchester county free and clear of snow 365 days of the year."
"Ron, you've hired outside help. This must be serious," Betsy said.
"I'm afraid it's the other way around, Mr. Plow is bankrolling this operation," Ron said.
Henderson pulled up a chair, and sat in the firelight. "Let's not put the salt before the grader boys, tell me the situation."
Mr. Plow nodded at Ron, so Ron started first. "No secret that plowin's a big business, and Mr. Plow has a fistful of high-end contracts. Few years back he finds a sweet honey that seems to be into him, talks him into buying her a wedding ring, they get married the whole deal. Few weeks back he finds out she's been cheetin' on him with the postmaster. Probably the whole time. Now no one said nothing about pre-meditated, but Henderson you and I both know this war between the plows and the post office wasn't over."
Barry scratched his head, "How it all start anyway?"
"No one knows," said Henderson, the fire lighting his face from below. "Some say it was them, deliberately losing important mail, paychecks, bills, and such. Some say it we brought it on ourselves not being more careful about burying-in, or just plan knocking over mailboxes--"
Barry clenched his fists and shouted, "If it's up to them, they'll keep pushing mailbox guidelines until the boxes are in the middle of the goddamned road! Six to eight, forty-one to forty-five inches my ass! Get some longer arms!"
"Barry!" Ron hollered, "Behave yourself, or so help me God I will put you back on blowing sidewalks."
Barry looked down, "Sorry sir."
Ron continued, "It doesn't matter who started the war, what does matter is that Henderson ended it back in oh-three. Or so we thought. Seems like the mail pushers want some salt in their wounds."
"Then let's give it to them!" Sandman said.
"So you want me to come out of retirement over some small town politics?" Henderson said.
"Haven't you been listening?" Betsy said, bringing a pot of strong coffee and refilling each of their plastic Duckin' travel mugs, "The man's wife is sleeping with the enemy. Probably always was. This may be small town for now, but once word gets out how the P.O. took down Mr. Plow, it's only a matter of time before our mailbox is stuffed tighter than Mary's cooch with catalogs we never asked for."
Henderson grumbled. "Who's going to take care of my driveway while I'm out causing ruckus with you?" The question went unanswered and Henderson looked in each of their eyes and saw helplessness. "Fine. What's the plan?"
"That's why we're here," Ron said, "I'm the muscle, Barry's the tech, Sandman's the cleaner, Mr. Plow is the millionaire, obviously. And you're--"
"I'm the veteran."
Mr. Plow said, "Mrs. Plow's attorney mailed the divorce paperwork yesterday via registered mail, which means it got delivered to Worchester for processing will be on the road to my house tomorrow. Once that envelope gets to my house it's white-out for Mr. Plows'."
Henderson stared into Mr. Plows face, "That isn't going to happen, son."
Exterior of a fenced-in post office parking lot with five mail trucks covered in snow. Close-up on the gate as some black-gloved hands pick the lock. A wrecker with its lights off slowly backs through the gate, and a team gets out and quickly and systematically changes the tires of each of the mail trucks.
The postmaster approaches the post office and finds that a small pile of snow has been pushed in front of the gate. He chuckles. "Pathetic," he says, and personally blows the snow out of the way.
A registered letter addressed to Mr. Plow arrives on a postal worker's desk, they look at it, begin to enter it into the system, and decide to take their lunch break instead.
The worker returns from lunch, enters something into the computer and slips the letter into a mailbag. Close-up on the mail bag as it's loaded into a mail truck. The door closes and the engine starts up.
From above we watch the mail truck along its route but suddenly the road is covered in snow as if it hadn't been plowed since the night before. The mail truck fishtails, but the driver controls the skid and continues on at a slower, more cautious pace. The camera pulls out, to a bird's eye view and we can see that all of the roads are clear except the mile long section of road where the mail truck is. Half a mile up the road is a line of dump trucks spewing snow out all over the place, and half a mile behind the mail truck is another plow cleaning up the snow. A radio transmission breaks the suspenseful music, "Goddamn it, Barry, you blew it again. You were supposed to put on the worst tires you could find! I guess that's why the call you the Blower!"
"It's not my fault! Those trucks are driving on treads balder than Bruce Willis! This guy's just a really good driver."
"Wrong again, Barry, it's a woman!"
"Cut the chatter Rig 2, I'm sending in the Frost Giant!"
Interior of the mail truck looking out. The wipers are smearing salty grit back and forth across the windshield. The driver pulls the washer fluid lever and we see the last few drops sputter out. She curses. The windshield get steadily worse and then, like a ghost ship emerging from the fog we see a huge plow come around the corner straight at her. Realizing she's in the middle of the road she swerves and as the plow passes the windshield is covered in a cresting wave of snow. She hits something and the airbag punches the screen white. Seconds later the sound of another plow coming from behind throws another wave of snow crashing on the mail truck.
The mail woman tries to open her door, but can't. She tries the passenger side, but it too is stuck. Just as she's climbing out of the back door, a wrecker comes around the corner, and she flags it down. It stops and Sandman gets out. "Care for a pull?" he asks. "Why don't you come warm up in the cab and I'll see if I can't get you out of this."
Sandman opens a compartment to take out a chain to attach to the mail truck, and inside is a small teenage girl. Sandman checks to make sure the mail woman isn't watching and nods to the girl, "It's all you Maria, go sneak in the back and find that letter."