Updated: Mar 16, 2021
A wrong number, and an oh-so-right connection.
The phone rang four times before I was able to grope the handset out of the cradle. Groggy and hoarse, a muffled “Lo?” was as much as I could offer, my head still on the pillow.
“Is Kitty there?”
I heard the door of a phonebooth screech a few inches and thud shut. I needed to hear his voice again. Immediately. “Who did you say you wanted?”
“Kitty. I don't know her last name. We met at the Hi-Lo the other night.”
“Hmmm. The Hi-Lo, huh? She gave you my number?”
“I thought it was hers. 914-232-5646?”
He was off by one. Close. So close. The acoustics of the phonebooth were intimate. His voice was like melted butter and dark syrup swirled together. Salty, sweet, smoothly overwhelming.
“No. No kitty here. Just me.” I yawned. If I could purr, I would have.
“So what number is this?”
“And just why would I give you my number if you weren't looking for me in the first place? I snuggled deeper into the warmth of my nest. “Hmmn?”
“Solid point but can I have some slack cause I’m glad I got it wrong? What’s your name, sleepyhead?”
“You go first.”
“Will. My name is Will.”
Not William, Willy, Bill or Billy. Will. A strong name. A person with will has passion.
“It’s your turn.” He was trying to take back control. I let him think he had.
“I was gonna make something up, but I’ve decided that Will deserves the truth. I’m Tess.”
“Tess. And the truth. Damn.” He tasted my name and breathed it back into the mouthpiece.
“Do something for me, Will?”
“Open the door, look around, and tell me what you see.”
The door screeched again. I imagined him leaning back on the folded aluminum and glass. I did not expect he’d look up.
“There’s a quarter moon through the trees. Lots of stars. It’s pretty out. Nice night for a ride. My turn, Tess.”
“Wait. Are you as good looking as you sound?”
“Damn, girl. You keep stealing all my best lines.”
“For all the good it’s done us, right? Nobody takes the time to get beyond the packaging.”
“Feels like Christmas has come early. What are you wearing, Will?”
“Okay, but that's gonna cost you. Boots, jeans, a t-shirt. Nothing special.”
“No hat?” I ask.
“No hat. Why were you asleep at 9:30 on a Friday night?”
“Because I have to get up and go to work in just about an hour. Night shift.”
“Well damn, I was hoping we could meet for a drink.”
“Breakfast would be more like it.”
“I'd like that, Tess. What do you do, if you don't mind me asking?”
“This, pretty much. Talk on the phone. Radio actually. Dispatch for the county sheriff.”
“How about you. What keeps the wolf away from the door?”
“I steal cars.”
“Are you good?” I ask, no hesitation.
“What's on the t-shirt, Will?”
“Now you’ve gone too far.”
I chuckled. “Are you touching yourself?”
“Just a little comfort adjustment. I mean, don’t we all? And what are you wearing?”
“That’s what I thought. When and where, Tess.”
“Seven. The diner on 84.”
“How will I know you?”
“That’s going to be the fun part.”
By Deb Lacativa
Deb Lacativa is sure you’ll be more interested in her characters than her, but a casual search of the web will find her in the ether since before Windows.
“If I had my way, we’d be gathered in comfort, wine in hand, rain falling in that all-day way, while I read my tales out loud."
Her debut saga, Prophets Tango, a Romance with a touch of the paranormal, will be making a big splash before summer heats up.