Strange Call Leaves Writer Awake All Night
By far this is the strangest thing to ever happen to me via cell phone. I mean, this beats getting a picture of boobs from and unknown number, only for the sender to realize she had the old cell phone number of her ex-boyfriend . . . it's weirder than that.
About fifteen minutes ago - real time - I received one of those automated collect call voices. Normally, I end the call before thinking it through, but this time I listened. And although the caller ID said the call derived from Texas, it actually came from a jail not too far off.
So I'm thinking, Oh no, I have to bail someone out!
(Note: If you end up needing a bailout, don't call a writer. You're better off calling a homeless man. I know what you're thinking; homeless people don't have cell phone. My point exactly. Cell phones are to homeless people as money is to writers.)
This is some woman I do not know, and she is calling in hopes I can help her out. I know a few people by her first name, but none that would end up in jail. Nevertheless, my curiosity gets the best of me and I accept the charges.
"Chris!" the woman shouts into the phone. She's screaming and crying and trying to breathe all at once.
Shit, I do know her, I think. "This is he?" I reply.
"He? What the fuck do you mean 'he'?"
"This is Chris. Do I know you?"
"No, no, no, no. Shit, shit, fuck. Chris and . . . "
"I'm sorry, what?"
She adds, "You're a dude."
"Excuse me?" I ask.
A moment of silence melts over us like nacho cheese before she screams, "You have a dick! You have goddamn cock! You're not Chris-Ann! Damn it. How did you - Did you fucking steal her phone, you creep?!"
Someone in the background of call urges her calm down, but she's not listening. She rants on and on about the phone situation until she finally understands I have a recycled number. Most places give you a recycled number if you don't ask them for a new one. Then she says, "Well, shit. I really fucked this up. This is the only number I have in my head. Can you help me out?"
"I--I don't really--"
"--No, no. Don't just shut me out like that. You have a cell phone, right? So you probably have some money to bail me out, right?"
Her logic perplexes me. I say, "I'm sorry, I couldn't even bail myself out, if I had to." I'll be honest, even though this woman surely sounds high/recently arrested, I feel terrible. I want to help her. But even if I knew her, I wouldn't be able to.
Over a few more minutes, some tells her she needs to get off of the phone, and before I have the chance to hang out, she does.
Now I'm left with two questions:
1. Who the hell had my number before I obtained it? What kind of life were they living that people from jails called them first for a bailout.
2. What will happen to me? I just said 'no' to someone in jail. When they get out, they'll still have my number, which can provide some useful information. That's all I'll say for my own good.
So if I'm not here tomorrow, you know why. And if I'm not here, someone needs to find my unpublished works and publish them for me under my pseudonym. You can keep the money to help send a rescue crew, or to bail me out.
Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.