Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Answered The Phone


We made the trip to that big college town up north the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Our favorite drinking establishment there was a funky little bar with live music and a nice mix of townies and college students. Given that school was out there were more locals and fewer students this time. The place was set-up with long tables so, unless you were with a group of eight, you sat with people you didn’t know. There were four of us and we were put at a table with four girls. It turned out that they were all friends with one another and two of them actually came from a town about ten minutes from where we lived.

We were all getting along pretty well, having a few drinks and a chuckle or two, when one of my pals decided to tell the girls the story of my experience with Sharon and the Christmas Party at Mona’s. I didn’t find it entirely amusing to have that embarrassing tale told but it was all part of the drill with the guys—we never gave each other a break. All four of the girls, hearing what happened that night, agreed that I had gotten involved with a cunning stunt. One of the four, Ronnie, had my full attention all evening. I was hoping for a good rebound, ya know? Several weeks later I would find out that one of them, Ann, had her full attention on me. But I’ll get to that tale later.

Once I was back at school I dug in for another term of hard study and easy living in my cool apartment way outside of town. One of the electives I was taking was a creative writing class. I figured that it wouldn’t hurt a Radio/TV major to be able to write better. The professor was a great guy who believed that the best way to learn how to write was to actually write, not just talk about it. So we wrote tons of stuff and then we critiqued everything we wrote in class. It turned out there was an absolutely outrageous character in that class, a sophomore girl called Sparkle. Her real name was the same as a famous TV comedienne but everyone knew her by her nickname. Of course, her nickname wasn’t Sparkle, that’s her “Crack The Whip” name, but her real nickname was something similarly flashy. There’s going to be a lot to write about Sparkle soon, and Ann too for that matter. Alas we won’t be writing about Ronnie (that’s her real name, too, not her CTW name) since she found it easier to just reject my advances than to go out with me and dump me later.
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But first, let’s close up a loose end… or cauterize a bleeding wound...

Zipping forward a couple months to early March, I was sitting at my kitchen table studying around 10 o’clock on a weeknight when the phone rang. It was Mona. I hadn’t heard her voice since the night I walked out of her house back in December but it was instantly recognizable to me—even if she sounded like she’d been drinking a little. I was wary. Mona had always been nice to me but it was at her house that Sharon had dropped her bomb on me so I had trouble trusting Mona completely.

I asked her outright if she was calling on behalf of Sharon as I wanted nothing to do with her. She said that not only was she not calling me on her behalf but that she had fallen out of favor with Sharon’s sister and no longer talked to either one of them. This certainly piqued my interest. I started to ask her about what had happened but she said she’d rather tell me later—it upset her too much. She got to the reason for her call.

“Wil, are you going to be up this way over spring break?”
“I guess so. I can’t afford to go to Florida or anything,” I said.
“Good. Ummm, do you think we could get together when you’re home?”
And, like a stone effing idiot I actually said, “Why?”

Mona laughed and said, “I just thought it'd be fun to see you again.”
“OK. Sure,” I said.
“When do you get home?” Mona asked.
“Friday night,” I said.
“Cool. Why don’t you come over here Sunday night, say about seven?”
“OK. There won’t be a big party going on, will there?” I said with a laugh.
“No, sweetie, I’ll be here all alone.”

I hung up, got an Old Chicago out of the refrigerator and plopped back onto the chair at the kitchen table.
“Hoooleey Fuucckkk,” I said to my empty apartment.