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Airmail Episode 10 Animated Cover

Airmail Short Story & Audiobook Series: Episode 10 - No Bones About It

A new discovery has Solly excited. But when he mixes up his deliveries, it threatens his job and the future of science. Can he fix the mix-up in time?

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No Bones About It

The houses on Whippoorwill Way were on the postal route of the two starlings who worked for FlapOnTM Delivery Service. But this morning, after the starlings had been late on several deliveries, Webster Pelican reassigned the route to his nephew, Solomon Hogg.

Webster pontinit to a map stuck on the wall. Solly is looking up at the map as the blue starlings speak at Solly.

“You’re giving a pig our route?!” said one starling.

“But a pig doesn’t have a bird’s reliability!” said the other. “He’ll make a mistake, just you wait!”

So, with a backpack full of packages, Solomon Hogg pedalled down Whippoorwill Way on his one-wheeled flapicycle. 

“I’ll show those starlings!” 

First, he arrived at the home of Dr. Bert Boxer and rang the bell.

Bert couldn’t contain his excitement when Solly handed him a package.

“What a good day this is!” he said, tearing at the wrapping and pulling out a bone. “I’ve joined the Bone of the Week Club! Today, it’s a rawhide from Australia!”

Solly watching Bert, a large brown dog, pulling a bone out of an open box.

Bert ran his muzzle across the bone.  

“Mmm! Just smell the fine craftsmanship!”

Bert thrust the bone under Solomon’s snout. Solomon gave the rawhide a polite sniff.

Sniff sniff

“Very fine,” agreed Solomon. “Well… enjoy!”

Solomon waved goodbye and continued down the street to the house of Calista Catnip. A serious-looking tabby wearing large spectacles answered the door. She breathlessly opened the box Solly handed her. It was full of bones.

Solly holding a large box full of small bones up towards a ginger cat in a pink dress.

“Oh!” said Solly. “Have you signed up for the Bone of the Week Club, too? I didn’t know that cats like to chew bones.”

Calista shook her head, then said, mysteriously, “These aren’t for chewing.”

Then she shut the door, leaving Solomon scratching his head.

Over the next few weeks, Solomon continued to deliver bones to Dr Boxer and Ms Catnip. But as chatty as Bert Boxer was about his bones, Ms Catnip was secretive and Solly’s curiosity grew. Finally, he couldn’t take it any longer.

“Ms Catnip,” Solly said, one day, “I know it isn’t my business, but… what are you doing with all those bones?”

Calista Catnip smiled and beckoned Solly into her house and out into the garden. Solly’s eyes goggled. Standing almost as high as the house, supported with scaffolding, was the half-completed skeleton of a creature Solly didn’t recognise. Two wings made it look like a giant bird, but its beak looked more like… a snout.

Calista showing Solly a large skeleton of a pig with wingsin a wire structure.

“I’m a palaeontologist,” explained Calista. “I study very old bones dug out of the earth. My assistants have been sending me bones from a dig site in Scotland. I think we’ve discovered a new dinosaur that looks like this.”

Calista gestured to several drawings pinned to a corkboard. The animal was drawn from different angles and they all depicted what looked like a pig with wide, leathery wings.

“Cracklin’ cashews!” exclaimed Solly. “Are you saying there was a time when pigs could fly?!”

“Millions of years ago,” nodded Calista. “And not exactly a pig, but a giant pig-like reptile.”

She pointed to a pile of bones next to the skeleton and explained she couldn’t get some of the bones to fit. 

“Oh, but you must!” said Solly. “The world needs to know that, once upon a time, pigs could fly!”

Solly and Calista shrugging at the pole of bones.

The next day, Solly could think of little else as he carried out his deliveries.

“If pigs could fly before, then maybe they could fly again!” he thought as his flapicycle bounced down Whippoorwill Way. In fact, he was so caught up in his daydreaming, he nearly passed Dr Boxer’s house.

“Solly! Hold up!” Bert Boxer jogged out to the street and tore into the packaging as soon as Solly gave him the latest ‘Bone of the Week’.

“Magnificent!” said Dr Boxer, admiring a large, oddly shaped bone. “Be a good chap and throw this packaging away for me, will you?”

Solly giving Bert another box with a large bone.

Solomon stuffed the packaging into his backpack as Dr Boxer returned to his house, then continued on his errands, still thinking about flying pigs.

“I’m sure I can build wings like the ones in Calista’s garden. I could take to the air myself! It’s so awfully exciting!”

But upon reaching Calista’s house, Solly found Calista more frustrated than excited.

“I’m just not sure that I’ve pieced it together properly. The skeleton seems very rickety,” Calista told him.

“Maybe this bone will help!” said Solly, handing her the last package in his backpack without looking at it.

Calista tore it open and looked at the new bone curiously as Solly began to pedal back towards the FlapOnTM offices, imagining how much easier it would be to flap there on giant, leathery wings. Deciding he needed an energy boost for the final ride home, he stopped in front of Dr Boxer’s house and fished around in his backpack for a snack. He pulled out the packaging Dr Boxer had given him and was confused by what he saw. It was addressed to ‘Calista Catnip’! 

A brown delivery box with 'Calista Catnip' written on the front.

With a shudder, Solly realised he’d been rather distracted while handing the package to Dr Boxer. Had Solly given him the wrong bone by mistake? If the starlings found out, he’d never hear the end of it.

Just then, Dr Boxer called out from the door.

“Ah, Solly! I have something you need to see!”

In Bert’s study, he proudly pointed out a rack specially built to exhibit the bones from the Bone of the Week Club. 

“What do you think?” he said. “A wonderful display, no?”

Solly swallowed. It was painfully clear to him that one of the bones belonged to a prehistoric animal. But how could he take it without Bert noticing? Solly didn’t have to wonder for long. Bert’s phone rang.

“Oh dear,” Bert said on the phone. “Yes, I’ll be right over!”

Bert grabbed his doctor’s bag and dashed out the door, calling out, “Mrs Goat is having triplets! Close the door behind you when you leave!”

Solly in the doctor office as Bert walks out the door. A display of bones on shelves are behind Solly.

Solly knew this was his chance. He took the pig-bird bone and hurried to Calista’s, intending to swap the bones. Trying to sound as casual as possible, he asked Calista if she knew where the bone was. Calista nodded and pointed to the skeleton. Solly’s face fell. He could see Bert’s rawhide, wedged between two leg bones. Getting it out would be tricky. Should he tell Calista about his mistake? What if the starlings found out? Solly began to sweat.

“You look pale,” said Calista. “How about I make you a cup of tea?”

She disappeared into the kitchen. Solly gulped, took the pig-bird bone out of his backpack and sized up his chances.

“If I quickly switch the bones, I’m sure it’ll be fine,” he told himself.

He took a deep breath, yanked the rawhide from the skeleton and immediately replaced it with the real bone. He stood back. The enormous skeleton tottered for a moment… then was still.

“Phew!” Solly said, wiping his brow.


The whole skeleton collapsed to the ground, just as Calista returned with the tea.

Solly sat holding a bone as bones rain around him. Calista Stands holding a tray of tea.

“I’m so sorry!” said Solly as he frantically tried to put some of the bones back together. “Oh dear! I’ll be back!”

Abandoning his jumble of bones, he hurried to Dr Boxer’s house and placed the rawhide in the rack of bones before Bert returned from Mrs Goat’s home. Then, he pedalled back to Calista’s, dreading having to face her.

“I’m sure she’s awfully angry with me!” sobbed Solly. “I won’t be surprised if Webster gives the route back to the starlings!”

But to Solly’s surprise, Calista looked overjoyed to see him when she opened the door.

“You’re a genius!” she said.

She ushered him into the garden.

“The bones you started to put together was what I needed to see it all clearly. I wasn’t working on a pig-bird creature at all!”

“Weren’t you?” asked Solly.

Calista showed Solly new drawings she had hurriedly made.

“Nope! These are actually the bones of two creatures who worked together. One was a giant pig-like reptile and one was a large flying lizard called a pterodactyl!”

Calista and Solly looking at a sketch of a GIant pig skeleton and a Pterodactyl skeleton.

Solly was sad to learn that a flying pig hadn’t been discovered after all. But he was less sad a month later when a dozen copies of Dinosaur News magazine reached the FlapOnTM offices to be delivered. Everyone in the office, including the starlings, saw the cover, which contained a picture of Calista’s newly discovered creatures. Webster Pelican made sure to point out the name Calista had given the pig-like dinosaur. 

Solomonhoggus Wonderfullus.”

Solly blushed with pride.

The End

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