No. 342

“Honey, I just got back from the post office,” said Alan Mersey. “I picked up your package, but I think they sent the wrong book.”

Kyla Mersey looked around the corner from the upstairs office. “What did we get?”

Alan checked the title one more time, just to be sure. “’Care and Feeding of the African Banded Pit-Viper’,” he told her.

“Wow,” she said. “That’s not even close.”

“Can we return it?” Alan asked as he came up the stairs.

Kyla clicked around on the sender’s website for a moment, reading the terms and conditions. “No,” she said, finding the relevant information. “Since we ordered during a sale.”

“Is there anything at all that we can do?” Alan pressed.

Kyla shrugged. “We could buy an African Banded Pit-Viper.”

Alan leaned forward, intrigued. “How much is one of those?”


Twelve-to-fourteen business-days later, a courier arrived at the Mersey’s front door. “I’ve got an animal here for you,” she said when Alan opened it. “Just sign here.”

Alan did so, and a medium-sized box was handed over. “Thanks,” he told the departing messenger.

“Be careful when you open it,” said Kyla, with the book in hand. “It’s highly venomous.”

Alan was, and soon had the lid ready to be opened. Slowly, he and Kyla lifted the cover up.

“Oh, come on!” exclaimed Alan. “This is ridiculous.”

Inside the container was not the expected reptile, but a small, furry creature.

“Wombat,” said Kyla, correctly identifying the Mersey’s new pet.