Anna gets a call from the sign.
|Anna, with another aching neck from sleeping in the chair all night, awoke with a start to the ringing of her telephone. Too stiff in the joints to get to it in time, she heard the answering machine come on.
“Please leave a message after the beep,” the generic male voice said. Anna never figured out how to enter her personal message so she used the one that came with the complicated electronic gadget. She felt it was probably safer anyway. The fewer people who knew she was a woman alone the better.
“I’m calling about the sign for the lost cat. You may reach me at 555-2121.” The phone went dead as Anna almost fell trying to snatch the receiver off the hook, but she was not quick enough. Feeling like her ankle was twisted, she rubbed it as she hobbled back over to her easy chair and slumped down to catch her breath. After a few minutes and with a racing heart, she limped back to the phone and dialed the number she had committed to memory. The line on the other end rang and rang, but just as Anna was ready to hang up, a lady’s breathless voice answered.
“Hello,” Anna said. “My name is Anna Davis, and I’m returning your call about seeing the sign for the lost cat. Have you seen my Buddy?” Anna could hardly contain her excitement.
“Well, yes and no,” the lady said. “The poster didn’t say where you live but if it’s on East 23rd Street where the sign’s tacked up, I did see Animal Control driving through here several times day before yesterday. I thought it might be possible your cat got picked up and taken to the Shelter. I just wanted to let you know you might check with them. You better not wait too long because you know what happens to strays.”
Anna’s heart just about fell out of her body. She had never thought about Animal Control picking up Buddy. Anyone could tell Buddy belonged to a loving home. He didn't wear a collar because he always stayed in the house. Would they really think Buddy was a stray? All kinds of horrible thoughts ran through her head.
Clamping her teeth together and squeezing her eyes closed to block the terrible pictures, Anna regained some of her composure. She thanked the woman for her call, hung up the phone, and tried to think what to do next. Anna didn’t have a car; she used the bus for all her errands. She wouldn’t call Sandra if she was the last person on earth. Well, maybe. Then she thought of Joey. He had his license now. Dialing Barbara’s number, she blurted everything out in a rush as soon as Barbara answered.
“Slow down, Anna. I can’t understand a word you’re saying.”
“Barbara, a lady just called about the poster Joey put up. She thinks Buddy may have been picked up by Animal Control. I have to get down there to see. Please, Barbara, do you think Joey can drive me?”
“Well, of course, Anna, but you know it’s Sunday. I don’t think they’re open.”
“I don’t care, Barbara. I have to go... now.... please?" Anna pleaded. "They must have an attendant there even if they're not open.”
“All right, I’ll get Joey and he’ll be over in a few minutes. Try to calm down and don't worry so much.”
Anna’s mind was still racing as Barbara hung up. She couldn’t get past the fear that had gripped her as the lady’s words kept repeating through her brain. You know what happens to strays.