Note to self: Don’t try to change the point of view and expect things to work. They won’t. Anyway, I’ll just start a bit earlier, story-time… Should make for a better intro, or so I hope.
I hate phones. Not because I suffer of technophobia or anything like that, because I definitely don’t, but out of principle. That probably makes me a one of a kind girl, but as far as I’m concerned anyone wanting to talk to me they can damn well do so in person.
Of course there are exceptions. I’m quite aware that in some situations a phone can be a genuine life saver. It’s just that most of of the time phones are only platforms for meaningless chatter, a way to keep people at distance, who might otherwise get the stupid idea and do visit, and an excuse for bad organisation – why keep track when you ought to be where, when someone can just call and remind you.
I try to cut down on the chatter, don’t have a big enough family to have to keep them at distance and am quite capable of discouraging anyone I don’t like from visiting, but I’m guilty on the last part, and that hasn’t helped my opinion one bit. Especially since most of these call tend to come when I’m asleep, and I really hate being woken up by the ringing of a phone.
Which goes a long way to explain why my first reaction to this particular phone call was me pressing my head deep into my pillow, while I groped for the alarm clock and, with the precision of yearlong practice, hurled it against the phone panel on the wall. That would normally been the end of it, both the disruption of my sleep and the phone, but instead the phone kept ringing and, as I saw one I had pried my head free from the pillow after all, didn’t even have as much as a scratch.
Absolutely fantastic. After two and a half years and uncounted free replacements, the unbreakable phone finally lived up to its name. A moment of victory over the company and great personal satisfaction if it hadn’t been so damn frustrating. Now I had to get up and that meant my night was over at… I disentangled myself from the bed sheets and picked up the clock. Just after midnight?! That had to be a bad joke, but despite all the times I had abused that particular piece of hardware and used it as projectile, it had always, and unerringly showed the right time. And it was pitch dark outside.
The phone was still ringing, and for once I was grateful. Whoever called me at that kind of time fully deserved to feel my wrath, or at least get a piece of my mind. A big, angry piece, with lots of sharp points and edges top it.
I was readying for battle, my fist already hovering over the general position of the answer button, when I registered two crucial pieces of information. For one thing it was an audio only call, which got me riled up even more – because listening to me being mad is a far cry from seeing being mad; you can trust me on that.
For another thing it was Kay who was calling, which did swept my anger away almost completely and left me quite perplexed. Kay, my little cousin Kay, was supposed to be fast asleep, in her room next door. So either she had gone completely crazy or… I stormed out of my room, yanked the door to hers open and flicked on the lights. Kay was gone. And the phone kept ringing.
I’d never done such a wild dash for a phone, and probably never will.
‘Where are you?’ I asked, maybe a bit to harsh – I could hear her draw through her teeth as she winced – but I was dead worried at this point. There were plenty of reasons why she wouldn’t be snug and safe in her bed, but any without horrible consequences completely escaped me at this moment.
For a very long moment there was silence. I held my breath and my heart didn’t do a single beat until I heard Kay’s voice, hesitantly but clearly:
‘Promise me you won’t get mad.’
That took a load off my mind. Oh, Kay was in trouble, no doubt about that, but it was the kind of trouble you got yourself into, and more importantly, the kind I she though I could get her out of.
‘Where are you?’ I repeated, less sternly this time.
Teriaki Gallery was a small but fine business dealing mostly in antique paintings, had a run-of-the-mill security system and was definitely closed at midnight. I got the uneasy feeling I knew where that was leading.
‘All right, how bad is it?’
‘I’m stuck… In an air duct.’
I really do hate phones, but what can I do? I love Kay.