Translated by X-tremeEdited by X-treme
This is first of 4 side stories, after that we’ll start the last volume.
We got into the light truck with the animal symbol on the front and set off in high spirits. I’m a little nervous because the delivery location has changed today and I’m going to a new area for the first time. It is a matter of course to deliver the packages safely, reliably, and promptly, but we also have to be careful about our appearance and language so as not to give a bad image to the customers.
“Good nails! No messy clothes! No bad breath, no……problems!”
It’s a natural professional concern.
I think we’re almost at our destination.
I stopped at a red light at a T-junction and checked the navigation system. Turn left here and go up the hill. I raise my eyes and look around. To the right is a river with a stone wall. There’s also a bus stop along the road.
To the left, a gas station and a convenience store, and behind them, a bamboo grove lined with lanterns. According to the navigation system, there seems to be a shrine nearby. If we kept going straight, we would reach the ocean.
“It’s not a city, but it’s a nice place to live. There’s plenty of nature.”
I’ve never been here before, so everything seemed fresh to me. The traffic light turned green, so I drove up the narrow slope, and suddenly my vision opened up. The first thing that jumped out at me was the terraced rice fields. Behind them were terraced fields lined with colorful vegetables.
Across the road in the opposite direction was a residential area with houses of various shapes and sizes. Some were apartments, others were old houses with magnificent walls, which made my heart flutter a little. I studied architecture at a technical high school when I was a student, so it makes me happy to see buildings that are a little different.
“Uh, looks like it’s in this old neighborhood.”
I stopped the car and checked the address again, but there was no mistake. Unlike the old house next door, it seemed to be a normal house with nothing unusual about it. I was jealous of the spacious yard, though.
I picked up the package to be delivered. It was a small cardboard box and quite light. Even without checking inside, I can guess what’s inside by experience. It was probably books, CDs, or games. When I checked the package tag, it said “PC games inside. The sender was……the “Village of Destiny”?
The place is Hokkaido. I don’t know, maybe I got a return gift from a local tax office. But why a PC game?
Is this some kind of village revitalization game set in this village? If so, it’s quite an innovative approach. Well, that’s enough of my unnecessary inquisitiveness. I took a deep breath, reached for the doorbell, and smiled.
“I’ve brought your package.”
At this time of day, the person who comes out of his house is most likely the wife. Younger girls don’t seem to care much, but customers of this age are very polite. Don’t forget to be friendly and polite.
“Wait a minute. I’m coming.”
The voice that came through the doorbell was unexpectedly a young man. I wondered if he had a weekday off job like me. As I waited, the door slowly opened in front of me.
I was startled to see the man come out. His hair was unkempt and he had a stubble beard. He was wearing a sweatshirt of the same color as his top and bottom. He had an expressionless face and empty eyes that refused to meet my gaze.
I knew at a glance. This person is probably unemployed. Oops, even if he is, I have nothing to do with it. It makes no difference to me if he is a customer, I just have to do my job.
“Stamp or signature, please.”
Other courier companies have adopted electronic signatures where you just trace your finger on the screen of the machine, making the stamp useless, but we don’t have them yet.
“Can I have your signature?”
Since most people don’t choose to use a stamp, why don’t we do the same? With this in mind, I took the signature and handed over the package.
It was unprofessional of me to get a little upset. It was also rude to the customer. When I got back to the car, I reflected on the situation alone. I’m sure I’ll go back there again. Next time, I’ll make sure to remember not to be rude.
The next opportunity came surprisingly quickly. A few days later, I was standing in front of the house again. This time, the package was a little heavier than before. When I checked the package tag, it said “Fruits” on it. And the sender was……from Hokkaido, the “Village of Destiny”.
I knew it was a return gift from a local taxpayer. I was convinced by this package. Today, a housewife came out to pick up the package, and unlike the previous man, she was very friendly. I handed her the package and returned to the car. As a professional service driver, I have a hunch that I will be coming to this house often.
The next day, I arrived in front of that house again.
I’ve always been proud of being praised for my energy and friendliness, but today, all I can do is frown and sigh. This morning, I was stunned when I checked the cargo before leaving.
“What? No way!”
I’ve been doing this job for a few years now, and I’ve never seen a package like this.
It was just an unwrapped log with a packing tag taped to it. I was surprised, but it was still a package. I was just doing my job as a professional. I grabbed the log with all my might, but it was heavy! There was a character in a manga who fought by swinging a log with gusto, but I wondered how strong he was. It would take a lot of effort just to carry this thing!
With all the strength I could muster, I managed to carry the log to the back of the truck. It was the hardest work I’d done since the last time I carried dumbbells from the sporting goods store. And then, somehow, I managed to carry it to this house.
I checked to see if they were home, the wife came out again, so I got myself together and carried the luggage to the front door. When she saw the package, she was astonished. Incidentally, the sender was once again the “Village of Destiny.” I wonder what this village is thinking.
After that, I started to carry packages there almost every day. The sender was always the “Village of Destiny. And the destination is that house. Recently, I have become acquainted with the wife and the man, and we sometimes chat lightly.
I have noticed that their faces have changed a lot compared to before. Both of them have brighter expressions, and the man has started to shave his beard and his attitude seems to be more dignified. There seemed to be some kind of positive change in their mindset.
I personally find it very easy to work with them because they are so friendly and helpful, but I don’t want to be forced to carry logs……on a regular basis. I’ve lost count of how many logs I’ve carried. When I was forced to carry three logs at the same time, I was in despair. Since then, I’ve been going to the gym, and my muscle strength has improved, making it easier for me to carry other loads.
I guess this is what they call turning a bad situation into a good one. Despite the physical exertion, I have never once wished for a change in the location of the shipment. The look on the man’s face when he receives the package motivates me. I wonder if the cargo I’m carrying is the treasure that he has been waiting for. His face looked so……happy that I thought so.