This steamy summer night is a good night for a compelling story!
His dad never had to put up with this politically correct bullshit. His dad drank what he wanted and drove home and never was there any problem. These days there were all kinds of problems. His wife was a problem, his friends were problems. It’s not as if he drank that often. Okay, so maybe, just maybe there were more cars now than there were then; big freaking deal.
Rick stood wavering in the middle of the suburban street and finally admitted to himself he was lost. He e searched his pockets and came up almost empty; no wallet no keys. Inconveniently there was also no clear memory of how he’d got where he was standing. He did have his phone.
“I guess it’s time to admit they were right for once,” he grumbled.
Thinking about the party he called Ann, the woman who’d thrown the party then spent much of the evening looking as if she regretted his invitation. Instead of it ringing a deep voice came on the line. It said THIS NUMBER IS UNASSIGNED then cut off.
“Very freaking funny,” Rick grumbled.
Eyes on the silent houses Rick started walking down the dark street. Feeling the post-midnight silence he again pulled out his phone. This time he called Bob. Bob would understand.
THIS NUMBER IS UNASSIGNED
He called his wife.
THIS NUMBER IS UNASSIGNED
He called another friend who was at the party, and another and another. Again and again every friend was blocked off by that same strange notice.
“What is this some kind of freaking intervention?” he yelled to the dark silent street. “Where the hell are you? TALK TO ME!”
Rick rounded a corner and saw flashing police lights. It was an accident. Even from a distance he could see some idiot had driven into a telephone pole. The police were busy doing all the things you do when dealing with a serious accident but maybe at least one of them could tell him where he was.
Then he saw a man standing silhouetted and he stopped. The stranger turned, he wore a dark suit open overcoat and leather gloves. On his head he wore a wide brimmed hat. It was now Rick realized only the strange man in black had looked his way. The man in black stepped aside and he saw the identity of the driver. It was him.
The man in black stepped forward. He took the phone from Rick’s unresisting hand and threw it so it slid along the road to end by the car. Whispering directly into his ear the stranger said, “This Number is unassigned.”
Tabitha Baumander is a novelist screen writer and playwright living in Toronto Canada. She has two novels available on amazon.com ELSWHERE and THE POWER AND THE BLOOD.
Let's finish with some music. I'd like to start with Lee Morgan's "Ill Wind," a piece that I learned about through Felino A. Soriano's poem.
"Search for the New Land" begins in an eerie manner:
Of course, as W.M. Akers points out, Morgan's own story is chilling:
This is a very early performance as Morgan is playing with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers here:
I'll finish with "Absolutions," a live version from 1970: