Today, we find The New Leaf Journal’s resident similarly-named dialogue duo, Justin and Justina, a couple of days before Christmas. Justina checked her mailbox and found a card from Justin. She sent Justin an instant message thanking him for the card. Will this be a heartfelt dialogue full of merry Christmas wishes?

If only things could be so simple. How often does Justina check her mail?

If you enjoy this dialogue, you can read more Justin and Justina stories here at The New Leaf Journal.

Act I: Thank you Justin!

(Note: The entire dialogue is an instant message conversation between Justin and Justina. They are not talking in person.)

Justina: Thank you Justin!
Justin: What did I do? Whatever it was, it’s not my fault!
Justina: I got your card!
Justin: Really? I just put it in the mail this morning.
Justina: And it came today? That’s fast. Why are you always complaining about USPS then?
Justin: It was this morning? Right? Yes. I distinctly remember putting it in a weird mailbox under the Manhattan Bridge this morning.

Photograph of a mailbox under the Manhattan Bridge in the Brooklyn NYC neighborhood of DUMBO.
Justin dropped his letter in this sketchy-looking mailbox under the Manhattan Bridge (Brooklyn-side). My poor photo, which I took with my Teracube 2e on December 22, 2021, somehow does the strange mailbox justice.

Justina: It’s a great card. I laughed.
Justin: I’m glad… but I’m confused about how it got there so quickly. Are they on to me? Delivering my mail? Is this a warning because I’m too close to the truth?
Justina: But why did you send me a joke about pumpkins with jack-o-lanterns on it in December. Wouldn’t this have made more sense for Halloween?
Justin: …
Justina: Am I missing something?

Act II: When was the last time you checked your mail?

Justin: I wrote a date with my message in the card.
Justina: Did you? It’s hard to read your handwriting.
Justin: Chicken-scratch, Justina. Chicken-scratch. Please give me credit where it’s due.
Justina: …
Justin: Anyway, I distinctly remember writing a date with the note. Now look closely and find the date.
Justina: Ok. Let me take it off my Christmas tree and into the light where I can see.
Justin: On the Christmas tree…
Justina: What? Was I not supposed to put it on my tree?
Justin: We’ll address that after you find the date.
Justina: I got it. October 22…
Justin: Justina.
Justina: Yeah?
Justin: When was the last time you checked your mail?

Act III: Like August or something?

Justina: You mean before today?
Justin: Yes.
Justina: Like August or something?
Justin: There’s probably another card from me in there.
Justina: Is there? I haven’t gotten through the whole pile yet.
Justin: Justina.
Justina: Yeah?
Justin: How often do you check your mail?
Justina: I don’t know. When I’m expecting something?
Justin: Should I ask why you checked your mail today?
Justina: Some guy at a store told me that if I signed up with my address, they’d send me a free pumpkin spice tea sample.
Justin: Naturally.
Justina: I had a long day. Was hoping that the tea would be there.
Justin: It wasn’t?
Justina: No. But I thought it was funny that your pumpkin conspiracy card came.
Justin: In October.
Justina: I’d have preferred the tea though.
Justin: I’m so sorry.
Justina: It’s ok.

Act IV: No one in our generation…

Justin: Why do you not check your mail?
Justina: Who uses mail anyway? What are you? An old man?
Justin: Government agencies, courts, etc.
Justina: What does that have to do with me?
Justin: How do you survive in this world? Did your parents never tell you that you had to check the mail?
Justina: What? I’m their little princess. I never had to do anything.
Justin: I’m starting to understand you better. This is the most revealing moment since I learned your name.
Justina: No one in our generation besides you checks the mail.
Justin: You’re projecting.
Justina: I’m going to ask my high school friends whether they check their mail. You’ll see.
Justin: Which friends?
Justina: Marie, who you met. And her brother Fred, who we mentioned.
Justin: I’m confident that this is not going to end how you think it will end.
Justina: YOU WILL SEE!

Act V: The truth doesn’t surprise me at all.

(Justina sends a message to Justin after a 10-minute break.)

Justina: Hmm.
Justin: Well?
Justina: Marie wrote: “A part of me feels like I should be surprised by your question.”
Justin: I can relate.
Justina: There’s more… “If someone had asked whether you knew how to check your mailbox, I would have probably said yes. But the truth doesn’t surprise me at all. Weird.”
Justin: That’s exactly how I feel.
Justina: Huh. Fred’s response: “Is this a joke?”
Justin: He’s so naive.
Justina: You never met him!
Justin: I know.
Justina: Fine! I’ll ask your friend, Proton Von. I have his number.
Justin: This also will not end how you think it’s going to end.
Justina: YOU WILL SEE!

Act VI: I can see how words would be hard to find.

(Justina sends Justin a message after a 5-minute break.)

Justina: Well this isn’t what I was hoping for.
Justin: What did he say?
Justina: Just three dots.
Justin: I can see how words would be hard to find. He doesn’t fully understand what you are.
Justina: Maybe he’s saying that it’s obvious that we don’t check our mail?
Justin: He just sent me a message asking if you were alright.
Justina: What!?
Justin: You’re making people worry about you.
Justina: I’m going to ask my boyfriend! He’ll validate me!
Justin: Please Justina! Please stop! We all love you! You don’t have to do this.

Act VII: Do you feel validated?

(Justina sends Justin a message after a 30-second break.)

Justina: That was fast!
Justin: What’d he say?
Justina: “What!? I check my mail as soon as I get home. What if you missed something important!?”
Justin: Do you feel validated?
Justina: No. There’s another message…
Justin: Oh?
Justina: He said he was literally out checking the mail for his friend who is on vacation when I sent the message.
Justin: Where is his friend?
Justina: Mongolia.
Justin: Interesting. In a yurt?
Justina: Yeah, drinking yak milk or something. Wait, why does this matter?
Justin: I was testing whether you’d answer any question I asked.
Justina: I’m angry.
Justin: Why are you angry?
Justina: Everyone thinks it’s ridiculous that I don’t check my mail.
Justin: There’s a reason for that.
Justina: Conspiracy!
Justin: You sound like me now.
Justina You’re in on it!
Justin: Not so loud.
Justina: This is text!

Act VIII: Good memory.

Justin: You need to learn to check your mail.
Justina: No! It’s almost all junk!

Illustration of a postmaster on horseback delivering mail from "The Skating Party and Other Stories"
Would Justina have received her mail if it was delivered lite it was in the olden days? Image from The Skating Party, and Other Stories.

Justin: I’m going to start sending you one letter every week.
Justina: Last year, you told me that Santa uses “intuition” to choose parents because “no one writes letters anymore.”
Justin: Good memory, but I was just trying to help you grow. Anyway, will you check the mail for my letters?
Justina: If you care so much about my mail, why don’t you check it?
Justin: I’m too busy caring for your guinea pig.
Justina: Always an excuse with you.

Act IX: You drive a hard bargain.

Justin: Will you check the mail to get my letters?
Justina: No!
Justin: How do I sweeten the pot?
Justina: What if you sent a vintage post card?
Justin: Ok. Tea samples and a card?
Justina: That’d be good.
Justin: So you’ll check your mail?
Justina: Maybe. Once a month.
Justin: Week.
Justina: Twenty days.
Justin: Ten days.
Justina: Fourteen days.
Justin: Nine days.
Justina: FINE.
Justin: It was a pleasure negotiating with you. You drive a hard bargain.
Justina: Thanks.

Act X: Valentine’s Day

Justina: Oh yeah, what did you send me today?
Justin: A Christmas card.
Justina: Aw, that’s sweet!
Justin: I don’t want to spoil it, but there may be a great picture of me and your guinea pig, Pumpkate.
Justina: I can’t wait to see it!
Justin: I’ll be waiting for confirmation.
Justina: Did you include chocolate with it?
Justin: Chocolate? No. Why do you ask?
Justina: Since I’m going to get it around Valentine’s Day, I thought that it would be neat to get chocolate.
Justin: You just agreed to check your mail once every nine days!
Justina: That never happened.
Justin: You can’t be real.
Justina: Merry Christmas!
Justin: Merry Christmas… I guess the shoe’s on the other foot this year

Act XI: Justin’s Note-to-Self

(Justin types a note into his phone.)

Justin: Rain, snow, sleet or hail… Justina will spend some time not checking her mail.