Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Eliza on the Line (fragment/part 2)
Edgar pressed 1. The connection clicked, clicked again. Edgar's heart pounded into the silence.
A woman spoke, sleepy and very much human. "Japeth Rosswhiler, you philandering son of a bitch. I'm not your 3 AM--"
Edgar didn't wait. "Hello? Who is this?"
The woman's voice sharpened. "Who is this?"
"Where is my daughter?"
A silence. "Mister, I don't know who you think you're calling, but it's ass o'clock in the--"
"Is this Eliza?"
She hesitated. "It is."
Now it was his turn to be confused. The woman wasn't hostile or threatening. She sounded like . . . just a woman.
"Look, Eliza. Someone called me. From the township. And then my daughter was telling me that someone named Eliza had her. I pressed a button, and I got you."
"Mister, it's late. Put the pipe down. Go to bed. When you wake up, give your daughter a hug and tell her you're going to NA."
Edgar stared at the phone as if it had sprouted fangs and bitten him. What had just happened?
The operator's voice cut in. "If you'd like to make a call..."
He punched the button and picked up the headset to dial Lisey's cell. Thank God Janice had made him set aside the money for it.
The phone jingled some stupid 90s rap song recorded before his daughter had even been born. Then Lisey's voice was on the other end. "This is Lisey, leave--"
Edgar could barely hold back until the beep. "Baby, it's Daddy. Call me as soon as you get this. 911, baby. Call me." He almost disconnected. Thought better of it. "I love you."
But what if it was all a game? What if it was someone from her school, playing a prank that she was going along with? What if?
He hung up.
A moment later, the phone rang again.
"Hello. This is a recorded announcement regarding the--"
I swear to God if this is someone fucking with me--
Edgar punched 1, so hard that the base jumped across the desk he'd salvaged from Goodwill. The transfers clicked. He watched the phone balefully.
This may or may not become a longer Thing, but here's part 2. We'll see if Reddit wants part 3, for which I do have a vague idea. This is shaping up to be a moderate-length short story, maybe 6 or 7 parts. Of course, if anyone here is interested, that'd be just as good :).