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Don’t Miss The Call

Don’t Miss The Call

 

The A.C.

 

The door chimes at All Morning Diner when a young brunette lady walks out.  Her loose white blouse and frilly black skirt, along with her sweet smile, foreshadows no hint about the hectic day she is about to have.

 

Moments later, Craig, an average looking young man simply wearing a plain blue t-shirt and khaki shorts, spots a cellphone laying in a booth as he is about to leave the diner.  “Hey look Scott; this phone is the same model as mine,” comparing it next to his own.

“Okay, so what?” Scott seems to always have a smirk on his face.  His tight jeans and black jacket go along with his intended sleek look.

“Never mind, let me turn this in real quick.”  Craig goes over to the cash register and gets the attention of a cashier, “um excuse me, someone left their phone here.”

A cashier turns from a customer he is helping, “oh, just leave it there.  I will get it in a moment.”

“Hey man, hurry up.”  Scott is waiting impatiently by the door.

“Yeah I’m coming.”

The door chimes, and Craig does not realize he has accidently left his phone on the counter and slid the phone he found into his pocket and set in motion his hectic day.

 

“Crap dude, I have the wrong phone!”  It took a few minutes in a taxi for Craig to pull out what he thought would be his phone and then shout this to Scott.  “I need to go back to the diner and get my phone.”

“No man, we have to get to Horizon Park; there is no time to go back.”  Scott has been trying to drag Craig to some event at this park all day.

“You still haven’t told me why we are going.  Let me use your phone to call the diner.”

“Whatever, here.”  Scott tosses his phone to Craig.

After a few rings someone picks up, “Hello, All Morning Diner.”

“Hey, I was there not long ago and turned in a phone,” Craig sounds as if he is about to tell a joke, “but I accidently turned in my phone and took the one I found.”

“Yes, I remember…,”

“Oh, good!  I will come right back,” Craig interrupts too soon.

“…no, listen.  Sorry, but someone kind of snatched your phone,” the cashier sounds hesitate to say this.

“How did that happen?”

“Um, well, so the girl, that owns the phone you must have, came in looking for it.  I showed her the phone you left, she knew it wasn’t hers, and then you called and she snatched your phone and took off as I answered your call…just now.”  He sounds like the one telling a joke now.

Craig does not say anything; only a groan escapes him as he hangs up.

“Are you done?” Scott reaches for his phone.

“Hang on, there is a problem.  I need to make another call.”  This time Craig calls his own phone, but the voicemail answers.  “Ugh, dumb!”  He hangs up and tosses the phone back to Scott.

“So, what’s the problem?”

“The owner of this phone has my phone.  I just tried calling my phone, but of course someone wouldn’t answer a stranger’s phone.”

A quick chuckle comes from Scott.

“What?” Craig stares at the phone in his hand.

“Nothing, just call with their phone,” Scott says this like it should be obvious.

“Well duh!  I would, but the phone is locked.”  Craig is getting slightly annoyed.

“Here, give…” Scott starts to reach for the stranger’s phone.

“Wait, my phone is calling!” Craig is surprised by this.

“Is your phone not locked?”

“Guess not,” Craig shrugs then answers.  “Hello?”

“Hello?  Good you answered,” a friendly feminine voice answers.

He pulls the phone from his face.  “It is a woman, and she sounds cute.”

Scott nods, and his smirk grows.

“You think…um…”  If a voice could blush, the voice coming through the cell phone definitely was now.

“Oh yeah, I’m Craig.  Sorry about the whole phone mix-up.”

“No it’s okay; I’m the one who forgot my phone in the first place,” she does not seem upset at all, “and my name is Sasha by the way.”

“Hi Sasha,” Craig smiles, “I tried to call my phone with your phone, but yours is locked.”

“Yeah I noticed yours was unlocked, so I tried calling mine, too.”

“About my phone, um… since it is unlocked please don’t look through the stuff on it,” now his voice is blushing as well.

“Oh, no no no.  I wouldn’t do that, but I did see that you have a voicemail…”

“Oh, okay?” Craig does not know how to respond.

There is a brief moment of awkward, but strangely not uncomfortable, silence.

“Get on with it man,” Scott is somewhat disgusted.

“So,” Craig returns to the original issue, “can you meet me at the diner so we can swap phones back?”

“Yeah I can…um, I don’t think I am too far away,” for some reason Sasha sounds somewhat puzzled.

Craig does not notice, though.  “Cool, I’ll see you there in a bit.”

“Okay…see you.”

“So, cute huh?”  Scott teases Craig as soon as he hangs up.

“Yeah…okay so I am going back.  Hey driver, can you just let me out right here.”

“What?  You don’t need to go now; we’ll be late.”  There Scott goes again about getting to the park.

“I’m not hanging onto some other person’s phone all day. I’ll meet you later; besides, traffic is slow right now so I’m sure it’ll be easy to catch up.”  Craig hops out of the taxi.

“Dude, you seem too excited about this dumb phone incident!” Scott shouts as the taxi’s door shuts.

Craig waves off what Scott said, but he knows it is actually kind of true.

 

“Aww man, I’m further from the diner than I thought,” Craig complains to himself while sitting and waiting at a bus stop.  “At least this next bus should take me to the bus stop right by the diner.”

A young lady, wearing a white blouse and black skirt, walks up to the bus stop and seems like she is looking around.

Craig notices she is pretty cute, but also wonders what she is doing.  “If you are waiting for the bus, there is room on this bench for you to sit and wait.”

“Okay,” she says while gently sitting down next to Craig.

There are a few minutes of silence, since neither of them are any good at striking up conversations with strangers.

Craig is the first to gather the nerve to say something.  “So, you kind of looked a little lost earlier.”

“Oh, yeah.  I’m new to this area, so I’m still trying to figure out the best ways of getting around to different places.”

“Maybe I can help.  Where…”  Craig is cut off by the sound of buzzing.

“Sorry, that’s um…my phone.”  She gets up and walks over to the side of the bus stop to answer the phone.

It is at that moment Craig gets a feeling something is wrong.  He checks inside all his pockets and panics.  He forgot Sasha’s cellphone in the taxi.  “Oh crap!”  Craig shouts as he jumps up and sprints across the street.  Luckily, the bus heading to Horizon Park just arrived, and he makes it on just in time.

As the bus drives away, he watches the cute lady still talking on the phone and feels a little guilty about running off before helping her find her way.

 

Fortunately, traffic had cleared up, so it does not take long for Craig to get to Horizon Park.  He spots Scott right away, but the event about to start in the background surprises him.  “Um Scott, is this LARP?”

“Shut up dude.  It’s fun, and I thought you might like it, too.”  Scott’s smirk is gone.

“Okay,” Craig is trying so hard to hold in so much laughter.  The park is full of people dressed in an array of costumes and carrying a variety of foam weapons.  This is just not something he could ever picture Scott doing.  “Anyways, do you have Sasha’s phone?”

“Yeah here,” Scott tosses the cellphone to Craig, “you forgot it in the taxi, dummy.”

“I figured that, but thanks.  Now I need to hurry and go meet Sasha.”

“Wait.  There is something you should know,” Scott’s smirk is back.

“I don’t have time, dude.  I will see you later, so you just have fun here.”  Craig chuckles and immediately runs off.  While rushing to the street, Craig saw a taxi just drop someone off, and is able to catch it before it drives off.  “Can you take me to All Morning Diner?”

“No problem,” the driver replies flatly.

Craig hops in the taxi, and it occurs to him that the person who got out sort of looked like the woman from earlier.  Whoever it was, though, has already disappeared into the crowd, so he must have just been seeing things.

He looks at Sasha’s cellphone and realizes it is unlocked now; Scott must have messed around with it.  He calls his phone.

“Hello?” Sasha answers, but there is a lot of noise in the background.

“Hey Sasha, it’s Craig again.  Sorry it is taking me so long.  There was a slight problem, but I really will be at the diner soon,” Craig rushes through what he is saying.

“Oh uh, but I just got to…”  Sasha’s voice cuts off.

“Hello? Hello? Crap!”  Craig’s cellphone must have just died.  He does remember now that the battery charge was already pretty low when he had it earlier.  Oh well, he will be at the diner soon, so it should be okay.

 

When Craig walks into All Morning Diner, the only person there is the cashier from earlier that he originally, accidently, entrusted his cellphone to.

“Hey I’m the one who had the cellphone mix-up earlier.”  Craig addresses the cashier approaching the door.  “Did the other woman come back yet?”

“Oh, not since she ran off with the phone, but my shift is finally over so I am out of here.”  The cashier walks right past him.

“Wait man.  At least tell me who to look for before you go.”

The exiting cashier says nothing else.

“Ugh, I’m so dumb!”  Craig is upset with himself for not asking Sasha what she looks like, and all the other dumb stuff he had done today.  Since his phone is dead he cannot call again, either.  He could look through her cellphone, but he asked her not to look through his phone and it would make him a hypocrite if he looks.  All he can do now is wait and hope to get lucky.

 

Moments later, in what seems like a huge surprising coincidence, Craig sees the woman from the bus stop walking up to the diner’s door.  He opens it for her and is about to greet her, but the person he sees behind her shocks him.

“Guess who.”  Scott looks really amused with himself.

“Scott, what are you doing here?”

“Do you two know each other?”  The woman squeezes in her question.

“Well allow me to introduce the two of you.”  Scott’s egotistical tone bugs Craig. “This cute lady here is Sasha, and this pal of mine is Craig.”

“What?!”  Craig and Sasha are almost in perfect unison.

“Sorry, I didn’t recognize your voice when we met earlier.”  Craig is making sure he does not stammer even in his excitement.

“No, I’m sorry. I didn’t recognize yours either.”  Sasha’s voice is soft, but still a little frantic sounding.

“So, you have already met.  Well that doesn’t make sense,” Scott looks like there is a lot more he wants to say.  “Anyways, let me explain how this whole situation got extended longer than it should have been.”

“After you, Craig, forgot Sasha’s phone in the taxi,” Scott is making sure to gesture toward each person when he says their name,” I was able to use a couple tricks to unlock her phone.  I called her, while she was apparently waiting for a bus, and let her know I had her phone.  She took a taxi to meet me at the park, but before she got there, you did.  You took the phone and left without letting me tell you she was on her way, which would have saved us from this last step.  Sasha showed up right after you left, and, since I’m a gentleman, I escorted her all the way here to you.  Hmm, doesn’t sound as long of a day when I say it all out loud.”

There is an awkward silence between the three of them once Scott finishes talking.

“Oh, come on.  Isn’t there something you two need to do?”  Scott seems annoyed by the awkwardness among them.

Craig and Sasha exchange cellphones back without saying a word.

“Okay, you two, I guess you can just dwell in this awkwardness.  I am going back to the park.”  Scott leaves aggravated.

As the door chimes, the laughing begins.

“I don’t really know what to think of him,” Sasha giggles.

“Yeah, I just try not to ever think about him too much,” Craig jokes.

After a long day of back and forth for the two, they are both actually left in a really funny mood.

“So…”  Craig is preparing himself for his next cheesy line, “…would it be weird for me to ask for your number?”

 

END

Discussion (2)

  1. Ice Fairy

    Scott is god of love. I’m glad that both of them met in the end. The story was realistic, and lots of elements that made me remember silly things. In the end god bless Scott, you are my hero.??

  2. Kyrin Knightsbridge

    Hai, @theacstories, finally have some time so I’m reviewing one of your pieces as promised;

    The first thing that really struck me about this piece was the use of present tense, combined with third person omniscient narration. It’s not a combination that’s seen very often in modern fiction – I’ve only ever seen present tense used together with first person, and even then those works are overwhelmingly in the minority relative to stories narrated in the past tense. It’s an interesting stylistic choice, but it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea – so you should be aware that your piece may read jarringly to readers used to conventional narration as a result of this conscious decision on narrative tense.

    That aside, I think this piece could benefit from a little more love insofar as detail is concerned. I get that this is meant to be a short, one-off piece, which might have spurred you to err on the side of brevity when it came to writing, but there are a couple of instances where you could really bring out the character and personality of your characters with a few well chosen words. It’s especially important that you give Craig and Sasha, quite obviously the central figures around whom this story revolves, the attention that they need so that they can shine in their starring roles.

    However, to return to my earlier point, I feel that your choice of narrative tense does somewhat limit the extent to which you can do this. When employing third person omniscient narration, my experience has been that it’s rather difficult to write introspective scenes with varied sentence structures without a piece reading like a broken record. Perhaps as a consequence of this, we don’t get much introspection from either of the main characters, which means we don’t get an in-depth glimpse into Craig and Sasha’s thoughts or emotions. If you were to revisit this piece at any time in the future, I’d suggest you try rewriting it in first person, from the perspectives of both Craig and Sasha; I think making such a change would really make a difference to the overall reading experience.

    Other than that, the only other bits of advice I have to offer you would be to (i) emphasise showing your readers what you want them to see rather than telling them, and (ii) liberally sprinkle your piece with more dialogue. With regards to (i), I noticed a few cases where you erred in favour of merely telling your readers what is going on; ‘he opens it for her and is about to greet her’, ‘Craig’s cellphone must have just died’, ‘ … walks up to the bus stop and seems like she is looking around’. You can see how your piece might be spruced up with a different take on these sentences; you could use the chiming of the bell to signal Craig opening the door, with an extra line of dialogue to indicate he’s greeting Sasha and simultaneously acknowledging Scott’s presence; similarly, ‘Craig’s exhortations into the phone is met by a blank wall of silence’ would likely work better than what you currently have down. The last example could be significantly improved by describing what Sasha is actually doing and the emotions that she’s feeling at that particular moment – you’d expect a stranger to the city to be any combination of shy, hesitant, worried, anxious, nervous, frantic, desperate, panicking. You’d also expect her to act in a manner that reflected those emotions or feelings; are her footfalls light, or is she running, in a hurry to get to her destination? Is she actively avoiding eye contact with strangers, or is she looking around for passers-by who might be able to help her out? Including descriptions of Sasha’s actions would help your readers form a vivid mental image of your character with whom they can really relate.

    Other than these issues I’ve pointed out, there doesn’t seem to be much wrong with this piece at all. I’d perhaps advise you to revisit Scott’s rambling monologue explaining what happened to both Craig and Sasha, but otherwise I think you have a pretty decent short story. I especially like your use of the last line, which is particularly effective at hinting at the relationship that might yet blossom between the two (although I think everyone saw that joke coming from a mile away!) Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to add anything you might think relevant~

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