Have you ever wondered what a dead letterbox was? This is a favourite device of all spies for communicating with other agents without making physical contact. You can now go and visit this recently discovered example in South Devon.
If you drive from Kingsbridge to Torcross along the A379, you will see this sign on the right hand side of the road in the outskirts of Kingsbridge, just before you get to Bowcombe Bridge. (Ordnance Survey reference: SX743429)
On closer inspection, the sign proclaims the local cemetery. For good measure, some thoughtful soul has included a letterbox nearby. Unfortunately, this sees little use as the local inhabitants are always elsewhere and don't get out much.
MI5 and MI6 operate a postage-paid service from the box but cannot guarantee to reply as the squirrels sometimes get in and wreak havoc by mixing the letters with their nuts. Try getting a squirrel to remember the word 'Altzheimers' and you'll see the problem.
If you want some letters home from beyond the grave, just pop some reply-paid cards in the coffin of your beloved. In a little-known service, Royal Mail/ Consignia/ Royal mail brings back mail from the dead with each of its incarnations - usually every 12 months. Second Class stamps may result in a delay of two years and prospective users of the service are requested to bury early for Christmas.
The British Guild of Mediums have dismissed the service as 'too slow and out of touch with the dead'. Their spokesghost went on to commend their own one-to-are you there? service which is hosted on their own unique Inter-Spirit Provider. Other groups such as the Embalmers Guild say they will have to be more careful not to rub their clients up the wrong way.
The Morticians Union have announced a range of shrouds with lace trimmed pockets for the cards and are offering packs of suitable stationery edged in black with twinkly bits.
AfterLife! the pro-death organisation have given the news a cautious welcome, emphasising people's right to a dignified death without the threat of reincarnation or resuscitation. 'We see the principle of freedom of communication and association as crucial to our way of death' said a spokesghoul. 'We are dead and wish to stay so.'
© 2002 Keith Lockstone (with apologies to Terry Pratchett)
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