Wrong Numbers . . . and Spinning New Stories

01Back in the answering machine days, I’ll admit that I sometimes used mine to screen calls. Then Caller ID came along, and I really liked seeing the name pop up on my phone screen before I answered a call.

I use Caller ID to decide if I’m going to answer a call or not. If it’s someone plugged into my phone’s directory and the name comes up, then I take the call. If it doesn’t have a name and only identifies a number, I figure that my time is my time—so I let it go to voicemail. I only want to talk to the people I know. Not individuals or companies that want to sell me things, tell me how to vote, or want my opinion. Hey, I give that opinion all the time on my blog!

Last night while the hubby and I were watching TV, my phone rang. Now this is pretty unique to begin with because my phone never rings. Well, hardly ever. I am a serial texter. You want to get in touch with me? Text me. The rare times I get a call are when my dentist’s office calls to confirm my upcoming appointment (unlike my salon and doctors, who all text or send me an email) or if my mom returns a call I’ve made to her. My cell rings maybe twice a month.

So even hearing the ringtone surprises me when it occurs. I slipped my phone from my pocket and saw it was a local area code with no name. My rule stands. I don’t answer calls from people I don’t know. Most don’t even leave a voicemail anyway.

But this one did.

His message went something like this: “Hey, Jennifer. Just sitting at the office. Hoping that you were going to call. I’ll still be here a little while. Hope to hear from you.” All this in what sounded like a middle-aged man trying to sound sexy as he left a message.

First off the bat? I’m not Jennifer. Immediately, my writer’s brain sprain into action. Jennifer had met this guy at a bar. He pressured her for her phone number. She really didn’t want to give it to him, so she made one up. Now I’ve never done that before . . . but I know women who have because they don’t want the confrontation/explanation of why they refuse to give away their digits.

I didn’t call him back. Sometimes I will if I believe the other party has reached me in error. I returned calls to collection agencies for over 8 years when they kept calling for Gannu Long. He must’ve left town owing everyone in sight. I’d politely explain I owned this number and had no idea who Mr. Long was or how to locate him. Once I had someone leave a message regarding the time for a funeral. I called back and informed them that they hadn’t reached the correct party. They asked if they’d dialed “7856.” I let them know it was “7896.” They thanked me and hopefully got in touch with the person that needed to attend that funeral.

But I didn’t do that with this call. And after 8, about an hour later, he called again. This time he must’ve left the office because the area code was a cell phone exchange. “Jennifer (not sounding quite as sexy this time, just weary). I’m disappointed that you didn’t call. I (long pause) just don’t think this is going to work out.” No names. No goodbye. Just a click.

Part of me wanted to call Mystery Man back. But if she really had given him a fake number because she didn’t want to talk to him, then I didn’t want to rub it in and make him feel even worse than he did, thinking a stranger was laughing at him over the whole situation.

Yet when I went to bed, my writer’s mind wouldn’t turn off. Had he written the number down wrong? Was I ending a great romance before it got off the ground? Would he think maybe she’d had an car accident and was in a coma in a hospital, and that’s why she didn’t return his two calls? Or did he give off a stalker vibe and she was terrified and just made up a number to give him? My mind raced with all kinds of possibilities. Who knows? I might be able to get a story out of this one day.

And if Phone Guy calls again, a 3rd time? I think I’ll answer and let him know that he has a wrong number and there’s no Jennifer here. Then the ball will be in his court.

Meantime . . . what if he was a gun for hire? Jennifer’s husband suspected her of having an affair (or worse, had proof of it) and paid for this guy to cozy up to—and then off—her? Or what if she really liked Phone Guy and was so nervous that when she gave him her digits, she reversed a few? Or what if she’s dyslexic and wrote it down wrong when she gave it to him? Or . . .

You see what I mean? Writers can mine stories out of practically anything!



About laurenlinwood

I'm a romance author who loves reading, movies, music, and sports. Connect with
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One Response to Wrong Numbers . . . and Spinning New Stories

  1. Kathy Hogan says:

    Your mind DOES go places! I never answer the phone either unless I recognize the person on Caller ID. This is an example of why I don’t answer. Yesterday we returned home after being away for almost a month. There were 33 calls on the answering machine and 49 calls listed on called id. The answering machine had filled up. Granted this was during the elections but probably only 4-5 of the 33 messages were from anyone I would want to speak to. Like you said, it’s my time. Bug off.

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