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The Package Joy Club

One for all and all for one

By Caroline JanePublished 10 months ago Updated 10 months ago 10 min read
The Package Joy Club
Photo by Preslie Hirsch on Unsplash

Hump Day Eve, or Tuesday as it is more commonly called, had metamorphosised over the last six months. Now, for Sophie, Jo, Eve, and Becca, Tuesday was the highlight of their working week. As they prepared moccachoccachinos with extra foam for stale-faced punters on their way to who-cares, emptied bedpans for the angry and ungrateful, and cleaned the houses of the slovenly rich, they had a spring in their step. No matter what life chucked at them on a Tuesday, nothing could steal the joy from the day.

Despite the weariness of her muscles following a harrowing night shift at the care home, Sophie, still half asleep even though she'd slept through most of the day, staggered from her bed to the front door. Sick elderly people were meant to be frail and delicate, weren't they? Why was it that so many of her care home residents were built like proverbial outhouses? Getting them on and off the loo all night was exhausting. She rubbed her lower back to ease the fatigue and looked down at the coconut matting at the foot of her front door. There, lying as unceremonious as junk mail, inches away from her fluffy bunny slippers, lay a slim, brown A4 parcel.

The Tuesday Fairy Godmother, aka their mysterious benefactor, had struck again.

Sophie sighed. Come rain, hail, or shine, whatever was happening in the world, however tough life got, every Tuesday, there was a parcel waiting for all four of them at their respective homes. Sometimes they had to call round to a neighbour's house to pick it up as it was too big to post, occasionally they'd had to nip to the post office to collect, and once one had even arrived by a drone to their front doors. That had raised one too many eyebrows in the part of town where she lived! The only thing they each knew for sure was that the package would arrive as certain as Tuesday was a day of the week.

She smiled as she picked up this week's understated package, handling it carefully so as not to shake or bend the contents. She imagined Becca, Jo and Eve holding the same little parcel, their imaginations busting with anticipation.

None of them had received any real presents when they were kids, not with any regularity, or ceremony, or love for that matter. What they got was usually an afterthought, a guilty gesture by an absent parent, or a payment in kind for some service they should never have been asked to do. Gifts, where they were from, came wrapped in conditions and had to be approached with caution.

These Tuesday packages though were different. So far, anyway. Sure, there had been a fair amount of nervousness at the beginning. It was such an unusual situation to be in—a mysterious benefactor bestowing a gift each Tuesday. There had to be a catch. They had been raised to expect the payback. Yet, six months in, twenty-six packages on, nobody had come knocking for even one ounce of flesh from any of them.

There had been gifts of pamper days, clothing vouchers, hairdressing appointments, holistic therapy treats, weekends away, meals out, subscriptions to food clubs, make-up boxes... there had even been certificates informing them they had adopted a colony of penguins.

It was impossible to predict the contents of their weekly gifts.

They could not believe their fortune. It was a miracle. For the first time in their lives, they weren't working out how to save each other from family abuse or neglect, surviving spates in foster care, or trying to keep each other in school; they were enjoying themselves together, consistently, routinely.

It felt like they were receiving gifts from heaven.

Sophie laid the slim, brown, oblong package on one of her plump, green velvet cushions feeling like a Queen laying out the biggest hidden gem ever made for the most random coronation ever held. Then, while keeping an eye on the nondescript jewel, she busied herself with making a reviving mug of breakfast tea. It was nearly time for the best part of the week. In ten minutes, all the girls would log on to the weekly group chat, lovingly dubbed "The Package Joy Club."

Sophie poured some loose-leaf tea into her teapot and waited for her kettle to boil. The Package Joy Club was an event to be savoured, delicious in every way. Gifts, communion, friendship, surprise, delight, optimism, and gratitude all bundled together within a twenty-minute group chat. Her friends meant the world to her; they were her family. Experiencing this level of joy was unprecedented in any of their lives.

With a large mug of steaming amber nectar in her hands, Sophie shuffled back to the living room, placed her tea down on the little wooden side table next to her cherished yellow couch, and sat down next to the regally waiting velvet cushion. She pulled her favourite fake-fur through over her knees and snuggled up underneath it.

Did life get any better than this?

All the girls would be preparing to join the chat as she was now. Each of them would be bustling with excitement, wondering what generosity lay in wait. Not one of them would have peeked at the contents of the gift. Sure, they may try to guess what was inside, but none of them would tamper with even a corner of their package.

They were together in this as they had been their whole lives.

One for all and all for one.

Nobody got left behind. Nobody tried to get ahead of the others. They were musketeers, always had been, always would be.

It didn't matter if it was waiting to open a package or dragging each other away from a malignant family situation. They had each other's back as they always did, with love and respect.

Sophie tapped the "join" button on her phone and picked up her tea, cradling her heavy mug as she waited for her friend's excited faces to flicker onto her screen.

Well, hello there, Sophie. Happy Tuesday! Jo was already there, beaming from ear to ear.

Happy Tuesday, Jo. How you going? You had a good day?

It's Tuesday. Even the ironically titled sweatshop "Coffee Comforts", where zero comfort is ever found, has joy on a Tuesday! Jo laughed.

Ahhhh, the daily coffee grind hey! Ha! At least nobody died unlike at ours. Mrs collins had another heart attack yesterday; she didn't make it.

Shit! Oh no. So sorry Soph. That makes my day look like a sea of rainbows in comparison. Poor Mrs Collins. Are you ok?

Yeah. It was her third heart attack. Sadly, a 95-year-old heart is a difficult thing to get going again. It's not going to be the same without her. You know? She was such a good person. I am going to miss her stories.

I genuinely don't know how you do it. Are you working again tonight? Jo's big eyes oozed pity through the screen.

Sophie nodded. Yeah. No rest for the wicked; needs must. Ah, here is Becca. How are you, Becca?

Hi ladies. Happy Tuesday. All is good with me. Same same, you know. Although, I do have to tell you about what I found down on Kingtston Drive earlier, in the bins, I swear to God... rich people are so darned random. Like... they think nobody goes in their bins - hello - cleaning staff here. Anyway, I shall tell you later what it was. It is so gross and, I gotta say, wild!

Oh go on... spill. Encouraged Jo.

Noooooo. Not without Eve! Packages first. Rich people madness later! Protested Becca giggling.

Did I just hear my name? Were you talking about me?

Hiya Eve! All three of them chorused together. Happy Tuesday!

Have you three been drinking? You look as giddy as! Sophie is there something in that mug other than tea love?

Cheeky, and also... I wish. I have only just got up!

Mrs Collins died. Jo piped up amongst the banter.

Shit! said Eve.

Bloody hell Soph. That's so sad. I don't know how you do it! added Becca.

That's what I said. Jo shook her head.

She was ninety-five. It happens. Life is life. She had a real good innings did Mrs Collins. One of the best. Now... come on, it's Package Joy Club. Let's see what we got. Sophie picked up the brown box and waved it in front of the screen.

All of them waggled their respective packages before their cameras.

Ok. So, on three. Said Becca.

One. Two. Three. They counted together and tore open the gummed seal.

Huh. There's another envelope in here. You all got the same? Asked Eve.

Yeah. I wonder what this is. Said Jo turning the manilla envelope over in her hands.

Together, with a little less gusto this time, they opened their envelopes and unfolded their letters.

Why do I feel nervous? Asked Becca dropping her letter. A letter, it's odd. Somebody else read it. I can't... it's gonna be bad, I can feel it. Oh my God.

Eve began. One hundred thousand pounds has been placed in a trust fund for you. This money is to be used on an educational course of your choosing. Enjoy your education.

What the fuck! Jo exclaimed. What the actual fuck!

Huh. Said Sophie calmly, staring at her letter. We have money to go back to school to do qualifications and stuff. Change our stars as they say.

This is fucking mental. Jo continued firing in expletives despite Sophie's calm overview of the situation.

Shit. I thought a colony of penguins was insane. This... this shit is life-changing. Who on earth would want to send us lot back to school? Becca's voice broke as she spoke, she looked as though she was about to cry.

I don't know what is going on or why, but damn it this is incredible. There's an account number at the bottom and everything. You know that money is there, waiting... like, right now. There has to be a string attached to this. What do they want us to learn? Eve checked her letter again.

It says a course of our own choosing, so, anything we want. Sophie was matter-of-fact. It is an unbelievable gift. She added.

Dear God! Shit! It's amazing... I mean I could go and do actual, proper art and everything. Jo stood up, the others could see her pacing back and forth as the potential in the gift got hold of her.

You mean you could become more than a piss artist? Sophie laughed.

Yeah! Maybe! Cheeky! What you going to do Sophie? Jo asked.

Reckon I will do my nursing. I have always wanted to do that.

Too bloody right! Jo's eyes grew wide, her face was animated. What about you Becca?

No idea. Never thought I would go back to school. I can only just afford to feed myself on the wage I bring in, education fees and what have you, time away from work. Nah...nah... never even considered it would be a possibility.

Jees. Eve brought the phone close to her face. This shit is next level. Next. Fucking. Level. I cannot believe it. I could study law. Like properly study actual law. Fuck.

Right. Declared Jo. This needs more than a group chat conversation. We all need to meet. Immediately. Sophie, we are coming round to yours. We have all finished work and you are due back in, in what four hours or something mad? We need to let this sink in, we need to celebrate, we need to discuss.

We do. They were unanimous.

They each raced off and checked their respective bus and train timetables to get over to Sophie's within the hour.

Sophie signed off the chat and as she thought about getting dressed for the arrival of her friends, she silently commended herself for a job well done.

Today was absolute confirmation that she had done the right thing.

Six months ago, Sophie had won the lottery and not told a single soul about it. She had carried on as normal, living in the same little one-bed flat, in the poor part of town, doing the same job. Of course, she really wanted to share her good fortune with her three best friends, but she knew that if their families found out about the fortune, they would be after it, and that would cause a whole hell of problems. Problems none of them needed. But this, although a big reason, was only part of her logic. The main reason Sophie had started the Package Joy Club was so she could share the delight of her fortune with her friends without making them feel beholden to her.

Musketeering was worth its weight in gold. She never wanted her friends to feel they owed her anything, ever.

One for all and all for one.

LovefamilyMysteryShort Story

About the Creator

Caroline Jane

Open hearted maverick.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (7)

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  • Jordan Twiss10 months ago

    This was a lovely, sweet little tale. The banter between the friends was so great. It really captured the feel of friends in a group chat. And Sophie is such a wholesome soul. Well done!

  • Gina C.10 months ago

    Oh my, that ending! Just loved this, so emotional and very, very lovely! Great job!! 😊❤️

  • J. S. Wade10 months ago

    It takes a big heart to create a story like this and now we have seen yours. Excellent story. So well composed and executed. Love it ❤️

  • Cathy holmes10 months ago

    Ok, I cried at the end. This is fabulous!

  • U.Rdiya10 months ago

    Awww..... I love the ending! Beautiful story!!!

  • Lovely work, but couldn't comment when I first read it, I can now

  • Carol Townendabout a year ago

    What a beautiful and caring story. I really like your work, it's emotional and entertaining in one go.

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