The ringing of the
telephone at two a.m. in the morning is always a frightening thing
especially when one has as large a family. Uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces,
nephew's one and all are and have been in accidents or for some reason or
another can need assistance. Dee and Sam had an on going disagreement
about having a telephone in the bedroom. He had always wanted to take the
calls coming in during the night. In his kindness he always tried to
protect her from what might be a traumatic message. However, as the years
pushed along she had to end up answering it anyway because he plain would
not hear it.
As quickly as she could go
sliding down the hall she did. There was the chance of waking her daughter
or waking her mother. Dee's mother was 90 but that made no difference.
She was as lithe as anyone and she would answer the thing if no one else
Dee looked down at the
caller I.D. and did not recognize the caller. Neither did she recognize
the person's voice who was speaking. Having had languages bounced off her
from Native American to Spanish, Elizabethan dialect of her cowboy family
and years of voice training it was with this she listened to the young man
as he asked for someone she did not know. Mentally she was judging him to
be approximately twenty-six or seven. He was no youth and had a certain
worldliness about his voice. She recognized even the part of town from
which he hailed. Like the professor in My Fair Lady she was mentally
evaluating his speech.
“I'm sorry!” He told her.
“I'm sorry.” “I think I have the wrong number.”
“No one by that name
here.” Dee was relieved, and would have hung up the phone but he
“You poor thing.” He
said. “What are you doing up at this hour.”
Dee would have been the
first one to admit she sometimes was too quick with responses, but for
some reason she did not retaliate. She kept silent.
In her mind she was saying,
“Look!” “Whatever you are, drug dealer, con artist, seeking revenge for
something, or just really a wrong number, I have that number on my caller
I.D.” When she was younger she probably would have. Age does have its
rewards at times.
The call did unnerve her a
little. The Bible study she had attended earlier was in that same
neighborhood holding this man's almost indistinct dialect. Had someone in
that neighborhood seen her go into the building where the study was held?
Was it his warped twisted way to terrorize her? All these thoughts were
going through her mind and almost as if her mother suspected something was
amiss she quietly spoke to her daughter. “Who called?”
Of course, Dee was not
going to voice anything of her thoughts to her mother. There wasn't
anything certain about anything. “Just a wrong number, Mother.” She
reassured the older woman.
“They didn't want
anything?” Her mother at ninety was not easily lied to either.
“No, he said it was just a
wrong number.” Dee told her.
“It was a man?” The
older woman had not been a social worker for nothing. She was ever alert
as to possible trouble.
“A young man?” Dee told
“It wasn't someone calling
one of our girls?” And she was referring to those many grandchildren she
“He didn't ask for anyone
in particular that I recognized.”
The two women for decades
had worked through so many crisis situations it was like they went about
the thing as easily as they had done so many times before. Quietly they
visited over a hot cup of tea.
Finally, Dee told her
Mother, “I don't think he will call again.” “I believe I'm going back to
bed.” She did go through the house checking the doors one more time
though, and she was angry with herself for allowing the pro of a con man
get to her this way. It wasn't as if she was ignorant and had not
experienced this heavy harassment years ago. On one occasion a person
they thought they knew came in the middle of the night asking for money
for the trip to Oklahoma City to see his baby in the hospital. She had
been so gullible to give him money. It didn't even help to hear the many
other people talk about having been done the same way in order to feed the
young man's habit. That feeling had nothing to do with the money. It was
just the sadness to think someone they knew as a boy growing up, a
neighbor, was so brought to his knees by a habit to have to con neighbors
The next morning as her
husband was early to rise he pointed at the caller I.D. “Who called at
two a.m?” He wanted to know. It was five thirty at this time.
“I'm not sure.” “It almost
sounded like someone I know.” “But, I can't tell you exactly who.” Dee
found it was best to be honest with her husband. He usually had a
“Well, anyone who calls at
two a.m. should have the favor returned.” As he dialled the number, he
wasn't rewarded with an answer. That was worrisome too. The young man had
a caller I.D. too?