Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wrong Number

She has called twice so far and voice sounds completely familiar, only because my mind deceives me into believing so. She sounds just like this cashier I know of. Her voice was probably sweet as honey long ago, but too many cigarettes and other things that are not good for the body beyond moderation have effected her vocal chords.

The cashier I know is probably in her early sixties, though henna and the amazing advancements in makeup would make you guess that she was at least three or more years younger than that. She is pleasant to the eye in a way and if I were a single septuagenarian instead of a married man in my twenties, I would probably find her ideal.

The cashier always remembers me because our grocery discount card is in my wife's name and that name happens to be that of a movie starlet from days gone by. The cashier would bring this up from time to time and it would always lead to a discussion that would end in a quasi-argument, about when another starlet co-starred with her, got her big break. That is, which movie was the exact one that put the other starlet on the map.

I would try to be polite and point out that a particular movie was not the latter starlet's big break as it were, then she would emphatically say differently. I would've brought a book or printed proof off of the Internet to prove my point, yet I doubt somehow that she would be convinced. Furthermore, what would be that prove? Because in our own minds, we believe we are both correct.

So now when I see her and it comes up, I change the subject. As a matter of fact, for the last few months, we pretend this point of contention never existed.

As I said, this woman has called twice so far. She is not the checker, though their similarity in timbre, inflections and intonations do give me pause. They both call me "hon," though many women of that age do.

The woman who sounds similar to the checker, calls and I can tell right away that she seems two sandwiches short of a picnic.

Our first conversation was:





I tried to keep my temper in check, though it didn't sound like it when I said through clenched lips "yeah, uh, what?"

"Henry? I'd like to speak to Henry."

"There's no Henry, here."

"Is this 2xx-xxxx?

"Yes, there is nobody here by the name of Henry."

"Henry Shanks isn't there?"

"No, I'm sorry, no one living here has that name."

"Are you sure?"


"Oh...okay. Thank you."

"Take care."

"Bye." Hmmm, listen to that name. Was that a put-on? If most surnames were derived from the craft or appearance of the people of a particular country or era, how did the last name "Shanks" come about? Was it someone who was particularly marginal butcher, or was it a butcher that specialized in just leg work? Maybe it was someone who specialized in prison stabbings.

And why would they name their kid "Henry," when all the kids in school were bound to call him "Hank Shanks?"

Three days later, she called again. Before she got through the "H-e-n" in "Henry," I told her that she had already called before a few days before and that she had the wrong number.

"Are you sure Henry isn't there, Hon?"

"Yes. I'm sorry, you have the wrong number."

"Oh, okay. Thank you."

She sounded a little more lucid the second time. Of course, that is like comparing her to ten watt bulb deep in a coal mine, because while she shines...she'll never be able to cut all the way through the darkness. I felt bad for her and I still do.

Hopefully somewhere, Hank Shanks actually exists and his love will help her shine through the approaching gloom.


Princess LadyBug said...

Only you could turn a wrong number into a story. :)

Writeprocrastinator said...


It's just what I needed, I needed to write something that didn't involve crime for a change.