Natural Variations

Another piece of flash fiction, written after hearing that Amazon was considering using delivery drones. 


September 13, 2020

Mr. Jeffrey Bezos:

On April 16, 2018, your drone delivered a child to us (scan of shipping invoice attached).

While the product arrived in good condition, we were disappointed to find out that it is defective. According to the warranty, the child will be potty trained by the age of two. This has not happened. The child sits on the toilet for several minutes, swinging his legs and singing loudly. He then relieves himself in my husband’s artisanal paella bowl.

If this problem is not corrected by our anniversary dinner in December, we will be returning the child to our nearest Amazon Locker for a full refund. Please let us know how this situation can be remedied.

Isabella Porter



I’m sorry to hear about your issue with the child. If you read your product warranty closely, you will notice that the two-year mark is an approximation. Products of this type have natural variations over which we have no control. We encourage you to persist in your efforts. We recommend Potty Training: Mission Accomplished, by Dr. Corinne Grey, $12.98, available for one-hour delivery.

Summer Williams
Assistant to Jeffrey Bezos
Customer Service and Satisfaction


October 10, 2020

Ms. Williams:

We tried to implement Dr. Grey’s recommendations, following her rules precisely. There has been no improvement. In addition, the child has taken to drawing “pictures” on the wall with colored markers. If these drawings had artistic merit, we would, of course, encourage them, but they resemble characters from “Sponge Bob,” which a last-minute, non-agency babysitter let him watch. This is unacceptable and completely incompatible with our lifestyle.




Allow me to express my sympathy for your continued difficulties. May I recommend the book Practical Boundaries for the Spirited Child by Daniel LeComte, $24.99?

Reviewers have noted, “LeComte’s program is a sure-fire way to jumpstart your child’s behavior and compliance.”

Best wishes for the child’s improvement!



November 26, 2020


Are you a real person? As I read your emails, I’ve wondered if you are an algorithm created by Amazon to sell more books and children. Can you understand the hell we have been living in for the past two and a half years?

I write this after a Thanksgiving dinner with eighteen of our closest friends. Our child screamed through dinner, making conversation impossible. He peed on the lap of my boss’s wife, ruining her dry-clean-only dress. Toilet paper runs down the hallway, and there are pumpkin pie hand prints on our bedroom mirror.

I’m sitting on the couch, a stray Duplo wedged uncomfortably under my thigh. As I type this, I’m shaking uncontrollably. I feel helplessness like I have never felt. Our child lays across my shoulder, snoring, smelling of pee and pumpkin pie. I’m angry. I’m overwhelmed. But for some reason, I can’t seem to put him down.

I withdraw my request for a refund at this time.

But I may keep in touch.

Isabella Porter