Landline

some friends were on their way over to the house.
a communique revealed they were running late,
so I gave them my landline phone number
in case they needed to get in touch.
i have had the number for thirty years, a teen
being acquiesced to when I desired my own phone number
in the ninth grade. a pinnacle of individual identity.

the phone rang tonight, rare in this era of cell towers and
invisible connection.
it must be a robocall, or so I thought

“hello sir, we’d like to ask you about the fishing habits of the household.”

hello, hello, hello, hello, hello

“yes, sir. I’m really here.”

i decided to turn the tables, and asked her about her fishing habits.
i had never had a grand experience pulling a fish from it’s natural habitat.
my father’s best friend was an avid fisherman, and those trips down the river
or to the far cove always seemed to get in the way of perfecting the pivot
at second base, or interrupting the most recent plea for a drum set.
she was so surprised that I had begun to inquire about her background, that she
immediately responded with a concise description of her involvement.
“i like to fish from the shore, not so much from a boat. but I’m still like a
little girl when I have to put the bait on the hook, or pulling the hook out of the fish.”

“why do you have to define that moment within the supposed weakness of femininity?
i’m petrified of putting a worm on a hook, much less scaling a dead animal. why don’t you say
‘scared, like a little boy?’ “

“you’re right…..
but I still have to do this survey……”

i responded by saying “you have sixty seconds”

she gets the answers her superiors are looking for in forty seven seconds.
“thank you sir, that was the best call I have ever had.”

I hang up the phone and wait for the sound of tires grinding
the last of the winter’s sand in a slow stop
before the driver puts the vehicle into park.

ellery twining

the talent

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