serendipitous reflections

Monday, September 13, 2004

Call waiting

I wrote this very short story for a contest in the weekly independent newspaper about a year and a half ago. You were only allowed 200 words. This one comes in at 144, including title. No, I didn't make the cut, but thought I'd give you something to read.

Call waiting

“Hello?” she said into the lifeless, inanimate receiver, practicing sounding pleasant and welcoming, without sounding eager. “Hell-oh! He-low?”
She looked at the silent phone, the caller id screen staring blankly back.
“Ring dammit!” She shook the phone and gave it a slight squeeze.
“Is it working?” Turn it on, dial tone, off. Too quick to give a busy signal.
“Said he would call. Today. It’s almost tonight.” She twisted a strand of hair around her finger, then, straightening it, pulled it into the corner of her mouth and chewed.
“Answer on the second ring. No, between second and third.”
On, dial tone, off.
Thumbing the caller id buttons – no new calls.
On, dial tone, off.
“Ring!” Another small shake and squeeze.
Ring! “Hello!” (“Answered on the first ring. Ugh! Did I sound eager?”)
“This is a courtesy call from MCI.”
“He called!”


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