I’ve had 13 of them, one every morning, at precisely 10:59 a.m.
The number does not identify the caller, so it’s no one I know. 277-453-6657.
When I take the call 13 days ago, I figure it’s a solicitation, but then again, it could be from Hollywood, accepting the screenplay to my latest book.
But instead, a deep, husky male voice proclaims: “I know what you did.”
Then, a click and silence.
I gasp that first time. He knows what I did!
Then I frantically reach back into my recollections to deduce what awful thing I did. At my age, the memory banks are so full, I feel like I’m grasping at straws floating in a deep sea of mud.
Whatever did I do? And is the voice talking about what I did the day before? The week before? Years earlier?
I shake away the sudden headache that shoots sharp arrows into the crease between my eyebrows.
Stupid crank caller. I’m going to report him! I reach for my cell, which I realize I’ve flung across my desk as if it’s on fire. Upon retrieving it, I press the ‘recent’ button.
No number is listed.
I imagined this?
The day runs away from me as I try to bury my worry. Maybe, finally, I am losing it.
Whatever “it” is.
I wake up the next morning, refreshed and relatively calm. After enjoying a long walk in the brisk spring air, avoiding puddles from the recent rain, I return home and brew a cup of hot tea. My cell rings, and I answer it cheerily, thinking it’s my daughter. “Hi! You’d never guess…”
“I know what you did.”
I scream, drop the phone, and run out of the room.
Mortified, even though no one is home to witness my silliness, I run back to the kitchen and pick up the phone.
No indication that I’ve received a call.
Day 4, 5, and 6, I wait for the call.
On Day 7, 8, 9 I scream, “WHEN?”
On Day 10 I punch in the numbers 277-453-6657 and call.
An alarming screech ensues. Then silence.
Now, it’s Day 14. I think I’ve figured out what the caller knows.
So I choose to not answer the phone at 10:59; I need to put my plans in place. Should I call the police? A bodyguard?
The phone rings at 11:09. My heart skips a beat.
When the phone rings at 11:19 my heart skips two beats every 30 seconds.
But then, at 11:29 p.m., I hear the ding of a text. From 277-453-6657.
“Turn numbers into letters,” the text demands.
What? This is not what I’m expecting. What I did was not a crime of numbers, nor of letters, it was an offense that could …
But wait. I’m a writer. I should be able to understand a clue of letters.
I translate each number on the phone into a synonymous letter.
And then I understand.