Marcum Branch Pt. II

Though it wasn’t even midnight on a Friday night I was home for good because Saturday and Sunday would be mayhem, I hoped.

Dog and I, with half-a-beer en tow, went inside, flicked on the kitchen light, grabbed a sack of chips and turned on the evening’s sports highlights. I planted myself into the sofa, glanced at my answering machine which flickered thrice, got up and pushed the small, blue button.

The voice on the machine said I had three messages and went on to say that this was Message One:

Hey….You there? Pick-up you cock sucker. I know you’re just sitting there. Pick up the fucking phone… Alright, later.”

Harris. I won’t call him back until tomorrow.

Message Two:

Dude!!!Fuckin’ Dude!!!Where the fuck are you man? Haaaa. I thought you were fucking coming out?? Alright man, we’ll be here.”

Mikey. Shit faced up at the bar. It’d be fun but fuck it.

Message Three:

Hi. This is a message for Brian. This is Hanna, Shane’s friend, and I, or we, are trying to get a hold of you to see what your plans were for the weekend. Shane said that we might all be able to get together or something. If you would, when you have the chance, can you call me at 618-555-4646. Thanks Brian.”

I sat and thought. Hanna? Shane? I didn’t know a Hanna or Shane. I went through my head like a rolo-dex and yet nowhere in the deepest corners could I find a Hanna or Shane. I thought about coincidence and the odds of some Hanna looking for some Brian and dialing this Brian’s phone number.

I sat for a moment. Hit the little blue button on the machine again, deleted the first two messages and listened. I grabbed a pen and wrote down 618-678-4646. Same area code but a different prefix. I looked in the phone book and 678 was a prefix for Maxie, a small town near here.

I swigged down the last of the beer and threw it aimlessly towards the waste can in the kitchen. I punched in the numbers and brought the cordless phone to my ear. It rang three times before it picked up. At first I couldn’t make out what I was hearing.

Hello?” I said.

But nothing. And then it became quite clear. There were moans. Several of them in the background.

Hello,” I said again to nothing

I listened and what I heard sounded like sex.

Is there anybody there?” I said.

No one answered so I just sat and listened. It sounded like porno sex not real sex. There were two different pitches of female groans combined with the occasional moan of a man. I listened and listened and then finally hung up.

I sat, looked at Dog, turned off the television, and pressed the re-dial button.

The phone numbers sounded off and it started to ring. My heart raced a little and I felt my throat tighten. It rang three times and again it picked up with no answer just the moans, which were increasing in volume. I didn’t say anything and listened. As a woman began to yelp and yelp like she was about to pop, I turned the phone off, sprung from the couch and went into the kitchen. I threw open the refrigerator door, opened the vegetable drawer, snuffed out a beer, opened it and left it on the stove as I went to the bathroom. I took off my T-shirt, splashed some cool water on my face and dried with a hand towel. I went back into the kitchen, grabbed the beer and picked up the phone. As I paced back into the kitchen I hit re-dial and took a swig.

On the third ring no one picked up. On the fifth, no one picked up. I let it ring eight times before I hung up. Bullshit, I thought.

I sat the phone down, cracked my neck and drank on my beer. I finished it and threw it away, grabbed the phone and hit re-dial, again.

After eight rings I clicked it off, grabbed a joint from a small yellow cigar box that had a faded Indian in a headdress looking at me with one good eye. The flip-lid box was nearly filled with others just like it and I sat on the couch to try and figure it out.

I was halfway finished with the joint when it hit me that those fucking assholes were fucking with me with their caller ID and shit. They saw my number come up, pressed play on some porno flick. Probably laughing their asses off right now. Thinking, we won’t pick-up now. That’ll really fuck with him.”

I was convinced that friends of mine were behind this and that the woman’s voice on the machine was just some chick at a bar who was more than willing to leave a simple message on some stranger’s answering machine for a shot of Jagermeister.

I fed the roach to Dog and went to bed.

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