A man is in the shower. The phone rings. Rather than letting the machine pick up, he jumps out, snatches his dark blue bathrobe from the hook on the bathroom door, and races downstairs, dripping. He trips on a child’s toy, and curses, wishing he had put a phone in the bedroom. What was he thinking? He picks up the receiver in the middle of the fourth ring—the last one before the machine was to pick up. The voice on the phone says . . .
“Agent 67, it’s time. Complete the mission objectives, and then meet Control at location Alpha 5 for debriefing. This should be the last time we talk till your next assignment. Good-”
“I’m sorry, who is this?” said Graham. “I think you have the wrong number, I’m expecting a very important call on this line about my child’s acceptance into day care.”
“Wai—what?” said the voice. Graham could tell that this person didn’t like being interrupted. “Is this not 443-876-0943,” continued the voice.
“Yes, yes it is. This is Graham Beltford speaking. My wife Mildred said that we should expect to be hearing back from the Sunny Hill Play Academy about our son’s acceptance. Now may I ask who is calling?”
“No you may not!” snapped back the voice.
“Oh, my apologies. May I ask whom is calling?” repeated Graham.
“I don’t care about your grammar, you idiot!” screamed the ill-tempered and rude voice, “I’m trying to find Ag–er John Smith at this number. Is he there? It’s very important.”
Graham thought for a minute, “No, there’s no one here by that name. Just me, Mildred, and little Bertie. Sometimes on the weekends Milfred’s mother comes to visit., all though I must say–”
“How long have you lived here?” the voice butted in.
If I were a lesser man I’d be getting very angry right now, Graham thought to himself. Always butting in and calling me names. “Listen sir, this is my home. I live here and there is no Agent 67 or John Smith that I know of living here. Now if you give me some information maybe I can pass the message along, or at least ask Milfred.”
“Oh what does it matter, ” wondered the voice. Graham noted that the voice was clearly begingin to break down emotionally. The voice continued,”It’s only a matter of time before things will just blow up again. Literally and figuratively speaking. We’re always putting out the little fires but never solving the problem. Maybe my mother was right and I should have studied dance at the conservatory.”
Things were now getting very awkward for Graham. After all he was still in his bathrobe, although by now he was mostly dry. The kitchen floor had developed a bit of a puddle, which if not dried up soon would damage the wood. Graham’s introspection on the state of his clothing and kitchen floor was suddenly interrupted by the sound of a bottle on the other end of the line.
“I mean so what if I had the legs and stamina for it? Huh?!?! I wanted action!” the voice now sounded more manic and began to slur his words, “I wanted the thrill of killing a man with a simple phone call. You know how many people’ve had my job in 50 years! HUH! DO YOU!”
“No I can’t say that I do,” said Graham, becoming increasingly aware that he was only wearing his bathrobe.
“SIX! I’M A RARE COMMODITY! TAKE THAT MOTHER! I MATTER!” the voice was now very drunk.
“Litsten, sir. I believe I left the shower on—”
“Uh, what? Oh yes yes, My apologies Mr. Beltford. Sorry to bother you and you’re family. Good luck on your son’s acceptance into that day care. Again sorry to bother you. If you could do me a favor and not tell anyone that this happened? Could you do that for me?” pleaded the voice.
“Yes, of course,” said Graham,”You go get some rest now.”The voice hung up.
Well thank god that’s over, thought Graham to himself. The boss really needed to stop drunk dialing him, it was by pure luck he had that child care story ready. Today’s my day off and nothing is going to stop me from relaxing and playing with my Legos, continued Graham to himself. After all, even killers need a day off and a fun hobby, he just hope he didn’t mess up his construction to badly when he ran for the phone.