Joe, I'm not sure I understand what you're implying, but here's the chronology:
Sept. 22 I shipped it to Clarence in Ft. Smith from my PO in Enfield, NH
Oct. 21 Clarence let me know he hadn't received it yet...my check of the USPS track showed an attempted delivery on Oct. 20; he checked with his PO and no such thing occurred. We spent the next week or so playing around with talking to people in our respective post offices.
Oct. 31 I filed an International Inquiry with USPS, the required preliminary to filing an insurance claim; they have an outside window of 60 days to get a response from Canada Post, or not; whichever comes first, they send me a claim packet to fill out and return.
November 20 Clarence notified me he was bidding on a lens on eBay and asked me to check the serial # of the lost one I'd sold him; they matched.
November 21 I told Clarence I was refunding his money as soon as I had funded my PayPal account sufficient to do so; he asked me, and I agreed, to wait til the police reports were filed, see if we heard from the eBay guy, etc.
Today, I refunded Clarence's money, which I will hope to see back from the USPS sometime in 2009. Naturally, if I ever get the lens back, it will no doubt be damaged beyond selling, since it now has scratches on it (Clarence tells me from having examined the eBay posting) that weren't on it when it left my hands.
I am fairly convinced that this was stolen by someone inside Canada Post, and I have no evidence other than the speed with which it showed up on eBay, and the fact that the track Canada Post provided to the USPS bears no resemblance to anything that happened in reality, in terms of "Attempted Delivery" on Oct 20. Clarence has a PO Box, and they don't deliver things to his house; he goes to pick them up.
So... does that clarify?