Saturday, May 31, 2008

THE TELEPHONE NUMBER

"The card...where is that card?!" Mike thought, fingering the contents of his wallet in exasperation. "I've finally got the courage to call her, and I can't find her damned business card!" He held the wallet upside down and watched the waterfall of papers cascade to his unmade bed; the crescendo of panic and frustration escalating as he rummaged through the pile of current and obsolete credit cards, train and bus passes, crumpled photos, and lots and lots of business cards: present clients; past clients; new and old friends; cards that screamed to be thrown out.

"It was buff," he recalled, although it had originally been white before months of studying the number with warm and sweaty fingers while mustering his courage. Now, the card was gone.

Mike started a magazine with ingenuity and keen communications skills, but his photographic memory made up for his lack of organization except in times like these. Relying too completely on it cost him several accounts--more than he'd wished, but his tenacity never failed him. So, for the next half hour, he sorted his
wallet, inspecting each item carefully, discarding as he went along. Still no buff card.

Despondent, he fell onto his cluttered bed--the loss of the card blaringly reminding him of his chaotic life. He stared at the ceiling. "Think," Mike, "Think!" He closed his eyes and concentrated. The first three numbers almost immediately leaped to the forefront of his consciousness. But the last four... Just as a child verbally recites each group of abc's to reach that elusive letter, so he did with each number. One...two...three... "Yes! It's three!" He scrambled for his notepad and proceeded, clicking a number mentally, like a burglar searching for that sequence of numbers on the safe which held the treasure.

Glancing at his digital clock, ten to ten glared back at him. He concentrated for ten minutes for the last number. He stared at the seven digits and swore it was the number he had had all along. "Ten o'clock isn't too late. Actually, it could be really romantic. I'll call her!" He visualized the tall, slender brunette in her red, slinky dress, her perfume embracing him as they laughed at the bar, she sipping on a martini. His heart pounded. "But I'm not in her league." "C'mon now, Mike, cut it out." He dialed the number which now felt so right. It rang several times...

"Mary?"

"Yes," she answered softly.

"This is Mike. You may not remember me. It's been...several months."

"Mike? Yes, of course, I remember you."

Elation fell short of the feelings he felt. He considered himself not bad looking, was six feet tall with an average build, but wore glasses. He often thought of wearing contacts, but they were too time-consuming for his hectic life.

"I'm glad you called," Mary added.

His courage soared from Brooklyn to Manhattan and back. "Would you like to get together for dinner? Next weekend? Right... Right... Okay. See you then. Good night, Mary."

The night of the date, Mike grew more and more frenetic, changing his Hanes underwear at least a dozen times. He felt lucky, but would be late if he didn't get himself together in fifteen minutes. When he arrived at the restaurant, the maitre d' escorted him to a cozy table in the dimly lit corner at which sat a bespectacled and petite, lovely young woman with porcelain skin and long, red curls which hugged her thinly strapped shoulders. They stared at one another.

"Mike?" Mary asked, adjusting her glasses, wondering whether her prescription needed a change.

"Mary?" Mike asked, mimicking Mary's gestures.

"But, you're not Mike."

The excitement and anticipation hissed from Mike's ego. Mary grinned at him, finding the situation amusing. Mike sheepishly returned her smile.

"Well, I don't know about you, but I'm starving," Mary said playfully.

Mike shrugged and sat down. After ordering wine, Mike slowly relayed what
had had happened. Mary's laughter was appreciated and contagious. They became engrossed in subjects in which they shared common interest. The hours flew by. When they realized they were just one of two couples left, they exchanged awkward silences. Mike was the first to speak.

"Would you care to get together next weekend, Mary?"

"I'd like that very much, Mike."

"But I don't know your telephone number."

"Yes you do...by default that is," she teased.

Mike glanced at her, his lips in the shape of an O, right. Mary smiled.

"Why don't I call you, Mike." She pulled from her wallet a business card. On the back she wrote Mike's telephone number, then placed it in her velvet, emerald green clutch. When they rose, Mike helped her with her velvet, emerald green cape which fell to her petite ankles. They walked into the brisk October night, her red curls springing across her mid-back in sync with a newfound spring in Mike's step. "Thank God I lost that card," he thought.

**Written by Petra Michelle**

http://www.ifreelance.com/pro/43547

www.lijit.com/users/petramichelle

5 comments:

Peter Rozovsky said...

" ... cards that screamed to be thrown out."

That is a nice turn of phrase!

===================
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com/

petra michelle said...

I'm flattered! Thank you, Peter and, frankly, am thrilled to receive my first comment. Of course, it would be from my male
counterpart. Petra

Oberon said...

......sometimes.....i talk to strangers.

morton said...

what a fun little story. And I read some of your poetry as well, I like it very much.

petra michelle said...

Hi Morton, Thank you so very much. I notice you also write poetry. My favorite style is Emily Dickinson's...short and sweet, packed with a punch. Am looking forward to reading the entire TOLLS story. Keep writing! Petra