Waiting for the phone to ring: A (very) short story

Waiting for the phone to ring: A (very) short story

(Famed author and wit Dorothy Parker once wrote a short story entitled "A Telephone Call", in which she describes the thoughts going through her head as she waits for a call from a man she fancies. I decided to try my hand at it for this blog, as a short fictional tribute to this brilliant writer and underrated satirist.) 

It's 2 A.M. and I'm already bombed out of my gourd. I hear this is all the rage to do in the wee small hours of the morning, but don't take my word for it. I'm notoriously behind when it comes to social trends. I still thinking tweeting is a disease you get from fondling a parrot.

Of course, I'm not alone. My phone sits at my side, my one and only companion as the first glimpses of morning approach. It hasn't lit up for hours, hibernating with the sun and the skunks. This is the one night where I wish it would explode, like those Samsung phones that have spontaneously combusted as of late. At least then there would be some fire in my Levi's (and some second-degree burns as well, but I hear some people are into that, so I may as well give it a try.)

I'm not staring into the abyss of my phone's screen simply to send my brain into the ether, for your information. I'm waiting for Her to call. She said she'd call at 9, but I haven't heard a peep from the bulk of humanity, let alone the one person I actually want to talk to. If I have to listen to Sharon in accounting blather on about her new recipe for flan, I'll burst.

The world is filled with the buzzing of conversation; a constant barrage of words that, once released, are eternal. "Words, words, words"... I'm starting to sound like Norma Desmond, even though she is far saner than I ever was.

I don't mean to sound like a whining ninny, nor do I even know who I'm talking to. The fact that I have lifted a few this evening helps make the din of the blur seem interesting for once. It reminds of the old adage my grandma used to say, after she too had toasted Dionysis:

"Scotch is for Saints, 

Gin is for geniuses,

but Vodka is for assholes."

Three guesses as to what I'm drinking?

It's been hours since I've heard from her. Or has it been days? Or weeks? Have I ever talked to her? Does she even exist? Some physicists say that we don't actually exist, that we are simply atoms in a void. If that's true, I'd like to ask them to explain the hangover I'm going to have when I wake up from this fever dream.

Who really cares about companionship, really? We spend our lives trying to find the perfect person to annoy us and, in the end, where do we end up? We end up in the ground, in a coffin that's more expensive than any mattress we've ever bought. Why do we treat the dead better than the living? When we die we get a ripping good party, testimonials from our loved ones, and, to top it all off, we get a glamorous, satin-lined bed for our final repose. Why don't the living get this?

I'm about to give up on this night, as my stomach seems to have gone seasick and, before I heave off the poop-deck, I'd like to retain a bit of my dignity.

Dignity is impossible when you're in love, especially when it's unrequited. Check your dignity at the door and drop to your knees, because a bit of begging is in order. I was never able to humble myself enough to seem even mildly flirtatious. I sit with my wit and my highball and make a witty jibe before the blur overtakes me and the waiter overtakes my date of the evening (and only the evening, as most of them aren't allowed out into the sunlight. My last bore a striking resemblance to Vincent Price.)

Why would she lie, though? What purpose comes from promising someone the bare minimum, and not even being able to deliver on it? Though I ask to be treated as a human being, I guess that's far too much to ask.

My eyes keep shutting of their own accord now, as my bloodstream fills with Ketel One and bitterness. I waited, I wished, and I ended up in the wastebasket. One night to add to the playbook that adds up to a batting average less than Roseanne Barr's.

Because of the advanced hour, I'll probably sleep through all of tomorrow, and maybe into eternity. But why give her the satisfaction? Sleep is for the weak, so I'll stay awake until I can't feel my ass.

Why is the goddamn doorbell ringing at this hour? If it's my therapist, tell her I can't afford her anymore and that she needs to go back to begging for change at the gas station.

I guess I'll have to go get it myself.


"He died as he lived, the epitaph on his gravestone reading: 'She finally called.'"

I was recently quoted in an article in The Washington Post from an article I wrote about Donald Trump's appropriation of Operatic music at his campaign rallies. Please give it a read!

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