The lengths to which some guys will go....

March 6 was the 40th birthday of Linda Green of Potomac. As husbands will, Linda's (named Roy) decided to arrange a surprise party for "72 of our most intimate friends."

The preparations were going swimmingly until the Wednesday morning before the appointed Saturday night, when Roy called his liquorateur to be sure the booze would arrive at the right time and on the right evening.

"Oh, sure," said Roy's man. "And I sent the bill along, too."

"You sent the bill to our house?"

"Yeah, wasn't I supposed to?"

Before he decided to murder the man, Roy asked when he had mailed the bill. Tuesday night, the man said. And what did the bill say? The by-now-redfaced salesman admitted it said: "For Linda Green Surprise Party March 6."

Roy's first call went to the Potomac postmaster. What were the chances that a letter mailed in the District on Tuesday evening would be in Wednesday's mail in Potomac?

"The guy was honest," Roy recalls. "He said, 'Listen, if it was a piece of junk mail, there'd be no chance. Since it's a letter you care about, I'd say it's likely.'"

It was nearing noon, so there was no time to lose. The postman on the Greens' route had to be intercepted.

So Roy called Linda with a morsel of cock-and-bull. Got a terrible headache, he said. Coming home from the office early.

Canal Road has never seen a man speed the way Roy Green sped. But every mile per hour was necessary. Roy caught up to the mailman just five houses from the Greens'. The bill was in his sack, just as the postal supervisor had suspected.

The party was a smash, and Linda was genuinely surprised. But Roy says she's got nothing on him.

It took her 40 years to age 40 years. Roy did it in about 40 minutes.