"Special Delivery Certified Mail," the postman announced with chattering teeth. "Sign here," he said, then prodded me with the cold metal ring atop his clipboard. "Ouch," I said, then looked at him. He stared at me out of two painfully bloodshot eyes sunk into a swarthy, unshaven face. His short-sleeved shirt and short pants fit him like a dirty sack. Even his shoes looked too large, and when he danced as the cold breeze licked his legs, his shoes didn't move. "Sign here," he said again. "Who's it from?" I asked. Back in the old days when I worked as a private investigator out of my own office and when I made enough money to afford the string of ex-wives I had somehow accumulated, I learned the hard way not to sign for mail I didn't want. "Well, who's it from?" "What the hell difference does it make?" he answered, then held the clipboard to his chest. "Just sign the son of a bitch before I freeze to death." " No way," I said, then briefly wondered if it was against the law to impersonate a mailman to deliver a subpoena. " I'll just pick it up at the post office," I said; "maybe your supervisor will be kind enough to tell me who it's from." "Stuff my supervisor," he said as he got me in the belly with the clipboard again. "Either sign here, man, or I'll shit-can it, and you can whistle Dixie, asshole." "I'm a taxpayer, jerk," I said, which was partially true, "and you've got a dirty mouth for a government employee. What's your name?" "No more shit," he muttered, dancing in a small circle, the clipboard raised, "no more fucking shit." Then he broke the clipboard over my head. For a moment both of us were too stunned to move, then we went to the ground growling like a pair of rabid dogs, snarling and snapping, biting and scratching as we tumbled off the porch and onto the dew-damp grass, our hands at each other's throats, our teeth bared, too mad to consider technique, and if my next-door neighbor hadn't turned her hose on us, we might have hurt ourselves, but once we were wet, we were just too cold to fight.