Screams prompt entry
|The heavy breathing on the phone was punctuated by the deep, gravelly voice.
“Your time is near.”
Thomas grimaced at the words.
“I'm sick and tired of you calling here,” he roared. “You want to come get me? You better be ready you heavy breathing piece of trash, because I’ll be waiting.”
He punched the button and sat back feeling very unsatisfied.
'It's not the same as slamming down the phone,’ he thought.
His musing was interrupted when his phone rang.
He punched the button.
“If you want to go another round I can call the police!” he yelled into his headset.
“My heavens,” the woman caller said. “I don’t think I did anything to warrant a call to the authorities.”
“Mrs. Greenwood,” Thomas said. “I’m so sorry. It wasn’t about you. There was another caller that was being a total jerk.”
“Oh, dear,” she said. “What was the caller doing?”
“Threatening me. Saying my time has come. I’d like to meet up with the coward and teach him a lesson.”
“You should be careful how you talk about such things. I once heard a story about a man who went around calling people. He would call them again and again, getting them frustrated and frightened, then when he felt they were alone, he would go to their house and…”
“What?” Thomas said a little more forcefully than he intended. “What did he do?”
“Terrible things,” she said quietly.
Thomas began to sweat. His imagination dragged him to a cold dark place full of pain and suffering.
“Are you still there, dear?” she said.
“Yes,” Thomas said, mentally shaking himself out of his daymare. “I’m sorry, you must’ve called to place an order not listen to my problems.”
“But I enjoy our little chats, dear,” she said. “It comforts an old woman to have someone who listens.”
“I enjoy our conversations too,” Thomas said, smiling. “They break up my otherwise boring and dreary day.”
“You mean the thrill a minute world of a customer service representative isn’t enough for you?”
Thomas smiled. “Now you’re just teasing me,” he said.
“Just a little, dear.”
“I wouldn’t mind a little excitement once in a while.”
“Be careful what you wish for, dear,” she said. “Excitement can come in many forms.”
“Anything would be better than answering phones all day.”
“At least you have someone to talk to.”
“Your daughter hasn’t brought the grandkids by for a visit?”
“Not for a while.”
“That’s a shame.”
“Yes, but I’ve decided I’m not going to let it get me down.”
“Good for you.”
“I’m going on a trip.”
“Wonderful, where are you going?”
“Somewhere far away.”
“You could come with me.”
“What do you mean?”
“You said you wanted an adventure,” she said. “It would be nice to have someone with me for the long journey.”
“Are you serious?”
“That’s a very generous offer, Mrs. Greenwood, but it’s against company policy to accept gifts from customers.”
“I understand, dear.”
“Maybe I should take your order.”
“That will be fine, dear.”
“So what can I help you with today, ma’am?”
“You sound so official,” she chuckled. “I wanted to order a large bouquet of flowers.”
“Alright, which ones?”
“Lillys, in a funeral arrangement.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. Who passed away?”
“Someone very close to me.”
“My condolences, Mrs. Greenwood.”
“Thank you, dear.”
“Would you like me to use your credit card that’s on file?”
“That would be fine.”
“Alright, let me just type that in and, oh, it says your card was declined.”
“You haven’t spent over your limit have you?”
“I haven’t used it since the last time I talked to you.”
“Do you have your card with you?”
“Not at the moment, why?”
“I just wanted to make sure it hadn’t been stolen.”
“Who would anyone do such a thing?”
“There are some evil people out there.”
“Can I put you on hold for a minute to see if I can straighten this out?”
Thomas switched lines, calling his supervisor.
“This is Bob, how can I help you?”
“Bob, it’s Thomas, I have Mrs. Greenwood on the line but there’s a problem with her card. Could you run it through fraud protection to make sure no one is stealing from her.”
“Sure, give me just a second here.”
Keys clacked as he searched for the information. After a few minutes, he said, “Hmm, it says here that her card was deactivated.”
“Did it give a reason?”
“Let me see.”
The keys stopped clacking and Bob inhaled sharply.
“Did you say you had her on the phone?” Bob asked.
“Yes, I have her on hold now, why?”
“Are you sure it’s her?”
“Of course. She’s my best customer. We chat every time she calls in.”
“But are you absolutely sure it’s her?”
“I’m one hundred percent sure it’s her, why?”
“Because it says here that she’s…”
“It says she died last week. Apparently she committed suicide.”
Thomas shook all over.
“Thomas? Are you there?” Bob said.
“Yeah,” he said quietly.
“It must be some thief trying to get her money. Probably read her obituary. It happens a lot. There are some evil people in this world.”
“Yeah,” Thomas said quietly. “I’ll get rid of the caller.”
Thomas disconnected with Bob and sat still in his chair thinking about what he had just heard. His hand shook when he clicked the button to reconnect the call.
“Ah, there you are, dear. Did you find anything out?”
“More than I thought I would.”
“Oh? How so?”
“When was the last time you used your card?”
“I can’t really remember.”
“Did you use it on your trip?”
She chuckled, but it wasn’t a friendly sound. It sent chills down Thomas' spine.
“I’m on my trip now and I have no need for a credit card.”
“I think you know why,” she said.
“Tell me anyway.”
“I invited you along, but didn’t tell you it wasn’t a choice.”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
She chuckled again, but as she did her voice changed. It became deeper and more gravelly. It became the menacing voice of the first caller.
“I told you to be careful what you wished for.”
Word count: 1046