As a boy, he’d seen his daddy shoot at planes flying above. “My land, my sky,” the old man would mumble into the shrieking air.
The memory scratched at the mailman’s mind as he watched another drone fly over his yard. It was a cool Saturday morning when he should’ve been at work, but there was no work.
24/7 superstores? Yep. All night gas pumps? No prob. Overnight CSI reruns? Damn straight.
Mail delivery on Saturdays? Gone with the dodo. The price of a human touch was too expensive.
Another drone flew by, faster than the last. He remembered his old man’s words: “Nobody should be making money off your air but you.” And there in his own sky, now, dollar bills zooming back and forth, people with money and things zooming their money and things in front of those who didn’t.
He went outside to his truck. He took out his rifle and waited.
“My land, my sky,” he whispered, as he pulled the trigger, sending the ugly, tentacled thing crashing near his feet. In its weakening grip sat a package, and in the package he found a cup, as ugly as it was common. Practically worthless, a waste of fallen metal and even its cardboard.
He laughed. He glanced at the drone, which eyed him sadly through a cracked lens. The mailman picked it up and put it into his truck.
The address on the package? He knew it. After retaping it shut, he decided to finish his dying friend’s job. One fallen drone covering for another. And he’d do it at no charge.
The price of a human touch.