The other day I ordered a couple of books from America's favorite online retailer.
I'm happy to say they arrived promptly -- ahead of schedule, in fact -- in separate boxes.
But as I was preparing to recycle one of the boxes, something on the mailing label caught my eye.
Something mildly disturbing.
The label said the package was sent to me by "Amazon Fulfillment Services."
Is it just me, or is there something at least a little creepy about that name? Not the "Amazon" part -- any company that does its job so well can call itself almost anything it wants, as far as I'm concerned -- but, um, "Fulfillment Services"?
Doesn't that phrasing sound like something out of Ray Bradbury? Or Stephen King? Or maybe even Philip K. Dick? (OK, I've never read anything by Dick, but from what I've heard about him, this sounds as if it might well be up his blind alley.)
I'm sure any of these three writers could easily come up with a plot about this, even though two of these writers happen to be dead. A company offers "Fulfillment Services" -- but in exchange for what? Of course, for the movie we'd have to get Christopher Lee, at his most Mephistophelean, to play the proprietor. If he's not available, Max Von Sydow could do this kind of role. (And I suspect he already has, and more times than he'd care to admit.)
Casting these casting ideas aside, I also can't help wondering who, in real life, is actually in charge of "Amazon Fulfillment Services."
Of course there's only one possibility:
Yes, that Mr. Roarke. From "Fantasy Island." You know, that guy who looks like Ricardo Montalban.
Has to be. After all, the show has been off the air for many, many years, and the money for those immaculate ice cream suits has to come from somewhere, right?
What? You say there's no Mr. Roarke? You say he's really unreal -- a fictional character?
Yeah, right. And I bet you're the kind of person who goes around scaring kids by telling them lies about there being no Santa Claus. About right now, I figure you're gearing up for your annual slanders against the Easter Bunny -- when you're not yanking the wings off flies who've never done you the least bit of harm.
"No Mr. Roarke" -- what a laugh. He's there all right -- greeting all our Amazon orders with his customary urbane charm while what's-his-name, that obnoxious sidekick of his, sits by the computer monitoring the e-mails and occasionally yelling "Ze orders! Ze orders!"
"No Mr. Roarke" indeed. Honestly, the things some people believe....