Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Helpful Jesse -- A Theme Thursday "Telephone" Post


Sorry I'm dragging my silvery, foxy butt as regards Part Four of "Old Home Week," fellow babies, but those gosh-durned real-world concerns I've often complained about lately have been taking me away from much of my blogging time.


However, I did manage to toss off a relatively short Theme Thursday post, for today's theme, "Telephone."


And here it is.

Thanks for your time.

* * * * *

Jesse Adams, Jr. had just finished an extremely busy day. He'd coordinated all his class schedules, bought the few remaining books he'd needed, and even made time for a little clothes shopping at a nearby thrift store.

Freshman year at Newbury College in Massachusetts promised to be overwhelming.

His errands done for the day, Jesse headed for his new home, the two-room off-campus apartment in Brookline which his father, a young but moderately-successful lawyer, had arranged for him. As he reached in his pocket for the key, he remembered that his neighbor across the hall, Sharon, had it. Today was the day his new telephone service was supposed to have been connected, and Sharon had graciously agreed to let the phone installer in to do his work.

Jesse's knock brought Sharon, an older but still-attractive blonde woman, to the door. "Oh, hi, Jesse!" she exclaimed, happy to see him.

"Hey, Sharon, everything go according to plan with the phone today?"

"Oh, sure. Let me go find your key," she said, leaving him at the door while suiting her actions to her words.

Once inside his apartment, Jesse dropped a few packages unceremoniously onto a recliner and headed for the kitchen counter.

There sat his prized possession, an early touch-tone telephone from the mid-1960s. Jesse owned a cell phone, of course, but this antique was a special thing! He had bought it at a flea market roughly a year ago and -- with help from his brother -- had painstakingly altered it to work with modern telephone outlets. Other than that adjustment, it still looked as it had more than forty years ago. It was even missing the * and # keys, which hadn't yet been included as features at the time of this phone's creation!

Even as Jesse reached into his wallet for his new telephone number, as provided by the phone company, the antique telephone rang!

That's odd, thought Jesse. Who the hell has this number already?

"Hello," said Jesse. There was no reply. "Hello?" he repeated.

"Who's this, man?" said a lazy-sounding voice.

"You called me, so tell me who you are."

"Don't hassle me, man. Just get Sunshine to the phone."

"Sunshine? Nobody by that name here." Not that I'd admit it if there were, thought Jesse. Sunshine! Geez!

More to himself than to Jesse, the man exclaimed, "Wow, man, I can't believe she's shackin' up with someone else already!"

"She's not 'shacking up' with me! She doesn't live here. I don't even know her."

"Stop messin' with my head, man!"

"I'm not! Look, you've obviously dialed the wrong number..." It suddenly, absurdly occurred to Jesse that after nearly fifty years of touch-tone technology, nobody had yet come up with a word to replace the erroneous "dial."

"No way, man. You think I'm high or somethin'?"

"I hadn't even considered that. Until now."

"Well, unconsider it, man! Right now, I'm as straight as Dick Nixon."

Unconsider? Is that even a word? Jesse wondered, as the man began slowly and sarcastically recitng the number he'd called.

"6-1-7..." he began, stating the area code, "7-5-4..." Jesse waited patiently until finally, the man had given him the remaining four numbers.

"Okay, that is my number, but I just had it installed today. When was the last time you called this chick?"

"Less than a week ago, man, right after me'n'my old lady split."

"Split? You broke up?"

"Well, yeah, man. And she's still got my albums. And my bong."

"Your albums? You mean, like LPs?"

"What else could I mean, man?"

"Sorry, I just have a thing for old stuff... Anyway, it's none of my business, but... why don't you just cut your losses and get on with your life? That's usually best, after someone dumps you."

There was a long pause. "She didn't 'dump' me, man, I dumped her."

"Oh. Then this really is all about the LPs... and your bong?"

"No, man, I..." For some strange reason, the man was evidently mellowing toward Jesse. And Jesse was feeling somewhat concerned about this archaic-sounding guy as well. "I only dumped her because I got vibes she was gonna dump me."

"What 'vibes?' What did she do, or say?"

"She didn't say nothin', but she was, like, always pushin' me away whenever I tried to make it with her. She'd tell me not to touch her boobs, 'cause they were sore..."

"TMI, dude."

"Huh?"

"Too much information. Anyway, go on."

"Or she'd have a headache... And the mornings were, like, the worst bummer, man. I'd try to get cuddly and she'd jump off the mattress and run to the bathroom to puke! I was literally makin' her sick, man, you dig?"

"And those are the reasons you assumed she wanted to break up with you? Headaches, sore breasts, and morning sickness? You dork, it sounds like she's pregnant!"

There was a long pause before the other man spoke again. And, as he had earlier, he spoke more to himself than to Jesse. "Pregnant. Pregnant. Far out."

"Look... What's your name, anyway?"

"Huh? Oh, nobody calls me by my real name, man. Everybody just calls me M.C." He laughed softly. "You know, like the MC5?"

Whoever or whatever that means, thought Jesse. "Look, M.C., if you still care about this Sunshine, and it certainly appears that you do, hang up this damned phone and go to her." Jesse thought for a second. "Umm... You do have a car, don't you?"

"I got a VW van, man." Of course, thought Jesse. And I'll bet there's a bumper sticker from the 1969 Woodstock Festival on it, too. "She's about an hour away from me, but I'll make it. And hey, man..."

"What?"

"What's your name?"

"Jesse."

"Like Jesse James? Far out. Look, man, if she is pregnant, and it's a boy... I'm gonna name it after you, man!"

The two men said their goodbyes. Jesse hung up, feeling rather pleased with himself.

He called his parents' number.

"Hello," said his father, answering after only two rings.

"Hey there, Jesse, Senior! It's me, Jesse, Junior!" he said brightly. "I just got my new phone connected."

"Your old phone, you mean," teased his father.

"Well, yeah," the younger Jesse agreed, "but you know what I meant. I was just calling to give you my new number."

"I've got it now, on my caller ID screen. I'm writing it... Oh, wow."

"Oh, wow what?"

"The number they've given you is the same number I had when I was a little boy! Right down to the area code, in fact."

"The area code? How is that possible? I'm in 617, but you were raised in 508, where you and mom live now!"

Referring to his home town of Worcester, the elder Jesse said, "Actually, it wasn't 508 then. When I was a child, the population of Massachusetts was quite smaller than it is now. There were only two area codes for the state then. Worcester was in 617. The western part of the state -- like Holyoke, where your Grandpa Morton came from -- was 413. 508 didn't even exist until... Well, I don't remember the exact year, but it was shortly before you were born."

Jesse laughed. "You crack me up when you do that."

"When I do what?"

"Start explaining things in detail like you're filming a documentary! How has Mom put up with you all these years?" he joked.

"She likes it. In fact, she finds it sexy!"

"Ew. The thought of you, Mom, and the word 'sexy' is just TMI."

"Oh, stop. So tell me, what's new? How are you adjusting, so far?" Jesse (the son) started regaling Jesse (the father) with his day-to-day activities, leading up to the strange phone call of a few minutes earlier.

"And this character said his girlfriend's name was 'Sunshine,' did he?"

"Yup. I thought all the hippies were Grandpa's age. How'd I wind up with one who sounded like a relative kid?"

"Not sure. But I swear, half the women back then must have had 'Sunshine' or 'Sunflower' for a nickname! In fact, even your own Grandma Irene was nicknamed Sunshine! I remember hearing her called that when I was a toddler."

All of a sudden, half a dozen details came together in young Jesse's mind. The hippie on the telephone who called himself "M.C." and his odd references. The whole area code thing. Grandma Irene's "Sunshine" nickname years earlier. "Holy...! Dad, can I call you back?"

"Sure. Why?"

"I have to call Grandpa Morton."

"Fine, but... Again, why?"

"Well, for one thing..." Jesse began enigmatically, staring with an almost awed expression at his antique telephone, "I just remembered that Grandpa Morton's middle name is Charles... which starts with a C."

26 comments:

  1. LOL! Good one. Loved it. MC? Or CM? I'm confused. It's probably all those flowers and the peace sign on the VW bus. Pretty colorful, that.

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  2. oh wow. nice twist...kinda like Frequency. way cool daddy-o!

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  3. Ahh, nice. Connections. Otin's is similar. You two are on the same "Frequency."

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  4. You and Otin must be on the same wave length. Spooky phone time travel! Loved the Jesse character.

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  5. must be some mix up in the space/time continuum. What does that mean, anyhow? I blame sun spots!

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  6. absolutely awesome. I love it. I love the twist. Happy TT

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  7. Cool story...with a twist! Happy TT!

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  8. I am SO glad I went with the time travel aspect rather than having the call be from the ghost of M.C./Grandpa Morton! It seems that everyone's reading Otin's incredibly cool post first, and after the coincidence of my Dracula's Castle post last week, and the lovely Candie's post on the very same subject... It's hard to come up with a unique take when 40 other people are writing about the same word!

    Anyhoo... Thanks for the comments, folks. I've spent most of today catching up on much-needed sleep, but plan to do the rest of my TT visiting tonight.

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  9. Oh yes, very nice! I like this one very much! Really cool story!

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  10. Oooh . . .nice Otin did someting similar with a great twist. I'm sort of sorry I missed the hippy era . . just a tad too young.

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  11. A splendidly enjoyable story for Theme Thursday.

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  12. I love stories like this - a rather Back to the Future-ish type of thing only in reverse (if that's possible). I'm to read Otin's as I understand it's similar. Glad to read that you got some sleep! Happy TT!

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  13. I love a good twist! Nice work, Foxy.

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  14. Nice, twisty tale! Second one with phone calls from beyond that I have read! Far out, man!

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  15. You blew my mind with that, Silver Rantz! That is some excellent, excellent shinola.

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  16. Very cool! It is interesting to read something and kind of know where it's headed because that is where you might have gone with it! I absolutely loved this! (I hope that I did not miss the next part of the other story!!??)

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  17. I just hope everyone appreciated the razzer-frazzer WORK I had to do to make everything fit together. Seems you all did. Whew!

    Only saw a handful of TT posts earlier. Looks like a long night ahead of me...

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  18. Foxter. Ooops, Silver Fox, sir. Do you see Subby? I know you live close to him. Tell him hello if you see him and that I think of him often.

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  19. Yes! I see Subby almost every week. He is having MAJOR computer issues and has to use the public library for PC time. He can hardly catch up on emails, never mind blog. Please spread the word!!!

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  20. I had to laugh out loud when you wrote about the person on the other end asking "who is this?" T That has to be my biggest pet peeve about the phone. People calling me and abruptly asking, "Who is this?" Arrghh...

    Kinda makes me wish we had Faber's Euphonia to fully show facial expressions....tee..hee..

    Very funny post...

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  21. @Rebecca: I guess M.C. was affronted by a male voice answerting his girlfriend's phone. But yeah, it bothers me when people do that, too. A rude "Who's this?" usually prompts "Well, who were you calling?" from me.

    Heh. Faber's Euphonia might have enabled Jesse to say. "Heyyyyy, hippie! You look just like my grandfather did, about forty years ago!"

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  22. Nice touch and is there more? I mean, who's the phantom caller?

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  23. Nope, no more to the story. These people won't even show up in "Old Home Week!" Grandpa Morton Charles Adams ("M.C.") made the phone call sometime in the late 1960s when he was about twenty years old, and somehow wound up connecting with his own grandson in 2009. Then after reconciling with his pregnant ex-girlfriend, "Sunshine" (Irene), M.C. named their son after the stranger who helped him see the light! So not only was Jesse Junior named after Jesse Senior, but Jesse Senior was named after Jesse Junior as well!

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  24. I love it! :)

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