Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dead Man Calling…Collect



The call from His Favorite Gal ended abruptly and mid sentence, a familiar occurrence. After my initial phone conversation with Clay Silver Otter some 22 hours earlier, she called almost hourly. Nice weather fondled my drive back to the Chippewa Indian Reservation.
 
My writer’s mind noted Memorial Day as being less than a week away. Apropos I thought for the mission I was on. My old guy’s bladder hoped it could contain itself until reaching the village of Brevort some 15 minutes further east on Highway 2.

It all began a day earlier, Wednesday, at 2 in the afternoon. I was at home and up at 5 am to write, a new full time job for me since producing a bestseller. After a brief break to wolf down some cereal, I was back at the keyboard and hitting a good stride. By 1 o’clock I was happy with my progress of pounding out 3500 words. A half finished novella was in the works and I had just finished eating a late lunch.

My wife had cleared the table and my cell phone began vibrating and playing, “shake, shake, shake…shake, shake, shake…shake your butty.” The thing did an odd little device modified version of the moon walk dance. I let it ring just to watch it move a few inches across the shiny wood surface. I didn’t recognize the number on caller I.D. and was tempted to ignore it. Intuition won out and I pressed the talk button.
“Collect call from Clay Silver Otter do you accept?”

“Oh man, doesn’t it figure?” I said as my wife rattled dishes in the sink. She knew better than to answer and ignored me.

Looking to my expensive multiple faced watch; I timed the collect call from my long time on-again-off-again friend and tribal brother. I thought of every passing minute as a five dollar bill divorcing my wallet. Clay could be long winded but curiously kept the call short.

 “Hey Migizi Bro, don’t hang up man. Been a long time, my fault, always is, and I’m sorry but dude I’m in a bad way.”

Still eye balling my watch, I stood and went to the counter where I hit the brew button on my single cup coffee maker. I was planning for a long and drawn out call with the old fart of a friend. It had been a long time since hearing from him. I inquired of his current situation.

“What now? Nine out of the last ten times you’ve called me involved begging. You said a while? It has been three years brother, figured you for dead finally.”

I clocked off a seventeen second pause as I listened to the last of my coffee sputter into a cup. A demanding woman’s voice was in the background saying Clay’s name while giving him orders. Clay shushed her.
“Yah, funny you should say it that way man, yup, I guess I’m dead after all.”

My eyes followed the tiny second hand on the smallest of the watch faces. It mocked my uncomfortable silence in terms of more dollars spent as my face flushed with frustration.

“Dang it all Clay, what are you talking about?”