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Ketch Creeley
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm

Joined: 03 Jun 2014
Posts: 207
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11613.30 Silver Crowns


PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:47 am    Post subject: Concatenation Reply with quote

?...does it matter that our old selves are lost to us as surely as the past is lost, or is it enough to know yes we lived then, and we are living now, and the connection must be there? Like a river hundreds of miles long exists both at its source and at its mouth, simultaneously??
― Joyce Carol Oates, Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang

February 29th, 2016


A storm was coming. Ketch could read it in the buoy lights beyond the harbor, restless red and green chops against a careening field of black and white caps.

On the table next to him with his palm resting lightly atop it was his cell phone, dark screen between his fingers a complement to the contemplative quiet and the steady rise of smoke unfolding finger after gray finger that disappeared before reaching the ceiling.

There was a time in his life when voices were transmitted by actual wires, when sound was funneled through tightly wound cables in sleek back sheaths and sent racing between telephone poles littered with rust-clouded staples, fragmented signs, and hand-lettered, xeroxed flyers with best representations of things loved and lost. Reward if found; please return. The lines hummed with a thousand voices zooming a thousand messages back and forth in a slightly-less-accessible, hard-wired world. Surprise was still a possibility, then: a sense of suspense that could only be appreciated in jaded retrospect: who was calling? who would call?

What message were they carrying?

Behind Ketch, atop a thin, purposeless rectangle of countertop dissected from the rest of the kitchen by the refrigerator was the pale green anachronism of a push-button, wall-model phone, unhung but attached to a landline he never used--a package deal with the internet and cable that he wondered why they bothered with, anymore. He?d have to look in the directory to even remember what the number was.

For the first three months after moving into the apartment, tight clusters of calls came regularly between 6 and 8 p.m. and, most of the time, were directed to a voice mailbox that had never been set up. The few times Ketch answered, it was in a voice dulled by the expectation of nuisance. The conversations never lasted long, were so unsatisfying for both parties that he finally quit bothering; he wanted nothing that was being offered. Gradually, the length of time that passed between calls expanded until they rarely came at all.


When the phone?s bell jarred the quiet, his first thought was of the hundreds of voicemails that might have piled up over the months, the recorded messages that cut off without a human voice to answer, the telemarketers that just hung up, the wrong numbers. Missed connections, messages unreceived, no sense of loss attached to it on either end. Another forgotten tree in an unacknowledged forest.


It was the hour, maybe, that had him answering the call, the way continued ringing took on an insistent tone. Or curiosity because it occurred well beyond the window of solicitation. Lethargic scrape of chair legs across a wooden floor, unhurried shuffling. At 3 a.m., the only phone calls that came were either dire or inebriated. Or both. And they were always on his cell phone.

Drunken solicitor? Wrong number? Who? Who, who, who?

?Hello?? he answered, voice a cautious nostalgia for the suspense of old wires. The connection on the other end--the voice itself--was so vividly real that it took him two tries to answer the inquiry that came back.

(This post is attached to the Quantum Leap playable, with a side dish of A Test of the Emergency Broadcast System. Thanks to Jewell and Shae for the inspiration.)
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