Yes, I know the word should be tycoon, although that's not really accurate either. Calling me a typhoon is a family in-joke. When my son Daniel was small - well, "smaller" as he isn't exactly tall - he got the word wrong when he was describing me to his teacher. Bridget heard about it and thought it was hilarious, saying it suited the way I whizzed about. But I digress.
There's been a minor delay to the preparations for the Melting festival - something to do with changes of plans regarding the provision of music. I understand that Alex Periwinkle is in charge of this but he may need some help, and I suspect he may call upon Jackson. True or not, I took the decision to fill in again so that Jackson would be available.
So, what have I got to tell you?
It's a small anecdote about my friend Samuel Stamp. He is one of the postmen here in Mellowdene.
He collects stamps. Yes, I know - a postman called Stamp collecting stamps is funny in itself, but we're used to it. He started in a small way, but when different villages began to produce commemorative issues, things started to get out of hand. With limited space in his apartment at Minestrone House, he decided to concentrate solely on blue stamps.
So what, you may say. Well it turns out our other postman - Pete Petite - also collects stamps, and he went through a similar journey in that his wife persuaded him to stick (there I go again) to a particular range of stamps. That's why he's addicted to the "Classic" range. They're not as common, and the collection won't take up all the space needed in the room they use for Jeremy's nursery.
The problem occurred when Barton Skunk - a fellow collector elsewhere in Sylvania - sent our pair of posties an envelope of stamps to share between them. All was well until they came across the last stamp. Quite rare, it emerged.
A Classic Blue.
o 0 O 0 o
Sammy told me of their discussion following the discovery. He and Pete Petite were in the sorting office in sight of the Pink Post Office, the stamp sitting on the table between them.
"But it's an important one in the Classic range," said Pete.
"Look at the colour," countered Samuel.
"Pale indigo?" suggested Pete, but not with much hope.
"It's slightly purple."
"Oh, alright. But there are lots of other blue stamps. Not as many Classics."
"So I've got more omissions to fill."
They paused to think of other reasons to claim the stamp. Pete was the first to speak.
"Maybe Barton intended it for one of us in particular."
"We could pop next door and get someone to phone him. Who's on switch duty?"
The sorting office was connected to the telephone exchange that dealt with long-distance calls.
"Pearl Babblebrook, I think," said Samuel after a moment's consideration.
"I'm on counter duty if anyone comes to the post office. Do you want to go and ask?"
"You trust me?"
"Don't be daft, Sam. 'Course I do."
"Right. I'll be as quick as I can."
o 0 O 0 o
Pearl had just come back from washing her teacup. She was finishing her shift within fifteen minutes, but was happy to try and contact Barton. Gladly, he was available.
"No, Samuel. I just included any stamps that I thought would be relevant to either of you. I didn't have anyone in mind for particular stamps."
He made a humming noise. "A Classic Blue, eh? How are you going to decide who gets it?"
"No idea, Barton. That's why I called."
"Let me know how you figure it out," he laughed.
Pearl scrutinised Samuel as the phone call ended. "Success?" she asked.
o 0 O 0 o
"We could toss a coin," suggested Pete.
"Seems a bit trivial for such an important decision. It would be over in no time. Could you bear to lose by such a random event?"
"Clearly you don't. What do you suggest, then?"
"Who completes their postal delivery the quickest?"
"We'd need to devise routes that are comparable in length, and have similar numbers of letters and packages. The weight of packages could be a handicap system. Apart from that, one of us would be on a bike..."
"No to that idea, then."
Pete mused. "A race?"
"Don't we walk enough?"
"Yeah. Scrap that."
Samuel scrunched his nose. "How about we share it? You have it a month, I have it a month, and so on."
"Could work," said Pete, stringing out the sentence.
Then he shook his head. "But if you're like me, you wouldn't feel you really owned it. Handing it over every month would be..."
"...an effort. No, you're right. We're collectors."
The two colleagues fell into silence, watching each other. Minutes passed, until they spoke simultaneously.
"You have it." -- "What?" -- "Are you serious..."
They laughed, then Samuel sighed. "This isn't going to work. We need to sit down and think about it."
Pete agreed. "It's nearly lunch time. Let's close up the post office for half an hour and discuss it over a snack."
They pushed the Classic Blue to the side if the table just as Mabel Periwinkle came through the sorting office to take over the shift on the telephone exchange switchboard.
"Hello Samuel, Peter," she said, a pleasant smile on her face. "Going somewhere?"
"Hello Mabel," said Pete, "Just a quick lunch. We've got a key."
"Oh. Do you want me to watch the post office?"
"No, thanks. We'll lock it for the short time we'll be away."
o 0 O 0 o
The two of them had coffees and sandwiches at the Blackcurrant Café. The quandary of the Classic Blue was put on hold whilst they ate. This must have allowed Samuel's subconscious mind to mull over the problem. And for a possible solution to bubble up.
"Pete, I've been thinking. There's a tiny room at Minestrone House that's too small for anyone to live in. I think we could rent it for next to nothing. How would it be if we combined our collections and kept them there. We would both collect blue stamps and the Classic range. We'd both own the Classic Blue."
"It's a novel idea, I'll give you that."
"And your little Jeremy won't be a baby forever. He doesn't need much space now, but when he grows, you'll need to convert the nursery into his bedroom. Where will your stamps go then? The room at Minestrone House is the perfect solution."
Pete smiled. "I think we have a way forward."
o 0 O 0 o
They were laughing and joking when they returned back to work. They raised the shutters on the Pink Post Office, and went into the sorting office. There was a sack of letters and a parcel leaning against the wall. Mabel Periwinkle popped her head around the connecting door to the Exchange.
"Ah, you're back. You chose a good time to disappear! The post-van came whilst you were gone. I let the postman in to leave the sack, and he emptied the out-of-town pillar box. You've just missed him."
"Oh, sorry about that, Mabel," said Samuel. "He's early."
"I thought he was. Just as well I was here. I was able to give him my letter."
"Well, that's good then."
Both Samuel and Mabel were startled when Pete yelped.
"Goodness, Peter," said Mabel, "Whatever is the matter?"
"The Classic Blue! It's gone!"
Samuel ran to the table in a hope to contradict his work mate. But it was true.
"You're right. Where could it be?"
"Where could what be?" said Mabel, coming forward to join the two distraught postmen.
"There was a blue stamp here on the table," said Pete in a choked voice.
"Oh that," said Mabel. "I needed a stamp for my letter and the post office was locked up." She reacted to their aghast expressions. "I left some money for it."
o 0 O 0 o
So the Classic Blue was on a scented envelope, in a sack, in a post-van, trundling along the coast road, getting further and further from Mellowdene.
Samuel told me that he and Pete went to the Bear Pit that evening in the hope that a drink and some relaxing music would calm their mood.
It wasn't the solution either of them wanted, but it was the one they had. They resolved not to be in this position again. I hear that they've rented a tiny room at Minestrone House...
o 0 O 0 o