Phone Games

  • 4 Pages

The payphone is occupied. Another person, a man, a quirky man, hovers around its perimeter; he closely resembles a jabberwocky.

“Excuse me, do you mind if I stare at you for a minute? I want to remember your face for my dreams.” Says the man. Though unquestionably a preternatural pariah, the mans behavior doesn’t warrant any extreme action on my part.

“OK, you can stand next to me as long as you don’t talk about the temperature.”

Soon enough, the man on the phone departs, allowing me to create a nice glass segway between myself and the man who wants me in his dreams. I dial Vanessa’s home number and while it rings think how nice it would be if the phone booth windows were tinted, a nice dark tint.


“Hey it’s me?”

“Where are you?”

“I’m at home – you just now dialled my home number did you not?”

“Ah, right you are. OK then, what are you doing?”

“I’ve been giving piano lessons all day, I’m somewhat fatigued. Goddamn, all of them are such horrible talent, with no enthusiasm. I really felt like slamming the lid down on the their little fingers today.

“So what’s your story? Where are you?” Vanessa purposefuly changes tact.

“I’m in the city, and I was sitting here holding a cigarette, and I realised I’d rather be holding you.” My swift chat is really a disguise for my lonliness. The truth of the matter is I don’t know Vanessa all that well, I feel horribly empty inside. On some days I wish I was on that plain, were people were unclathed, and were required only to be human and the love came as a given.

“That’s very sweet, want me to let you in on a little secret.”

“Sure I do.” Who doesn’t want to hear a secret….

“I’m not wearing anything right now.” She had cheeky tone in her voice.

I glanced around, cupped the phone with my plam and lowered my voice.

“Shutup, really?”

“I’m as scantally clad as the day in which I be, and I’m touching myself right now.” I could feel a growth in my pants.

“Oh Vanessa, don’t tell me those things, not now you bastard. It’s a ardious train ride to your house and now I’m going to be positively fidgety the whole trip.” As a matter of necessity I adjusted the bulge in my pant.

“Hand me the jump leads, the chickens have escaped!”

A third voice came over the speaker, in punctuated bursting shouts. I refrained from speculation, pausing for an explanation.

“That’s my brother. You know It’s amazing we can even hear him, he is in workshop outside and I’m talking to you from the sitting room at the front of the house.”

Vanessa explained all about the puzzling scream. It was a technique her brother had devised some years ago to evoke the grey ghost, call forth the thing behind the curtain. He would shout, scream, cry, words of abstraction . A controlled tourrets syndrome of sorts.

The curious cad, vanessas bother, utterly fascinated me. His grapple with the mysterious was surely unique; moreover, he was wonderful fun.

I pressed Vanessa for a rendevous with her brother, she seemed reluctant. “I’m not sure it’s wise to have you two in the same room.We have enough trouble with him as it is.”

“You’re brother is a fumbling ninny.” I said.

“How dare you sandbag my dear brother.” Vanessa’s malcontent was disguised none, her usually pleasant tone regressed sharply to one of icy hate.

“I did nothing of the sort!….Vanessa….. I was merely drawing a parallel between your brother and ninny’s. Seriuosly though, I’m just playing Vanessa.”

“I know, it’s just he is in the house now playing with those pop up toys, it’s incredibly irritating.” she said.

“pop up toys?” I asked. I had the generic images of a xylophone and a pop-up-book in my head, my imagination stalling, the only conglomeration of the two I could muster was the image of a pop-up-book resting on top a xylophone.

“Those little toys, they look like a tennis ball cut in half and fleeced.You press them down and after a short delay they pop up with a ‘pop!’.I’m sure you remember them. Anyway, go ahead and tell me what happened last night.You said you had a story for me.”

“Yes, ofcourse. I can hardly belive I could forget seeing a woman shot dead.”

“Goodness! Really? a woman shot dead?”

” Indeed, shot head in the dead.”

“Don’t you mean shot dead in the head?” vanessa was not dyslexic.

“A keen observation my dear woman, your mind is sharp, astute, your one of the finest peoples I know. But don’t tell me how to do my job. I don’t tell you how to do yours.”

“Anyhow, what was I saying? Ah yes, the shot head. So I’m sitting in a bar on the west-side…I suppose one could even say that this is.. -a west side story-.” I waited for at leat an obligatory ‘pfff’ or a grunt of aknowldegment at my little effort. Unadulterated silence…..erg.

“Fuck You!” I said.

“Exsqueeze me?” Vanessa suitably jarred by my silver tongue.

“You heard me, I’ll remember your lack of participation in my joke; albeit terrible. next time you make a bad joke I will make it my business to leave you floundering in murderous silence, what do you think about that, what do you say there?”

“You’re a petty man.”

“Yes, and I have a small penis.” I said.

“Right…the bar….Firstly, let me give a bit of breifing on this establishment. Right off the bat I would say it’s a very common place, certainly not equipped to cater for a persons with real taste. A refuge for sullen ruffians, with little on no regard for anyone but themselves or the latest bar fly whom, by sheer force of proximity, have be endowed with their lenghty and supercilious life story, which they promptly forgotten ten minutes afterwards.

I’m there purely for research mind you, I record everything via dictaphone and sell the resultant idiotic stories to the heavy-footed maladorits of the literary world. This night, this story, was certainly not fit for the hams.

At my table, essentially minding my own business, I notice a group of boorish revellers bustle in. They appeared to be celebrating a joyous occasion, the alcohol and goofy statements flow freely. I’m not at all dissapointed when a stripper dances her way past through to the gorgle of drunkards, she’s dressed up like a cop and starts to loosen her tie as she approaches. One thing which strikes me as odd is this one fella who seems bugged by the whole situation, and is looking very cagey indeed. I take a sip of my drink, look up, and this guy is pulling a gun from under his jacket, it’s one of those jackets with the orange lining, particulary goulish atire I must say. Crack! Crack! He shoots straight through the strippers head and she flops down like a natty doll.

It’s now my fervent hope that this lunatic doesn’t start randomly firing shots around the place, or worse, start kicking people in the cocks. Ever been at the gas station, minding your own business, and one of those big-wig, big-rig petrol pullers parks in, or around the station?”

“Sure I have.”

“It’s much the same feeling. You think – ‘Oh don’t blow now, you great big fucker. Just 5 more minutes give, me time to at leat fill up and leave, then after that blow the station to hell I don’t care.’-

Anyway, He does a hop skip and a jump over the dead girl, and scampers out the door. I finished my drink and left.”

“Wow, that’s intense.”

“Tell me about it, I’d been up all night, chewing my lip, these are not the things I want to see. Hey put your brother on the phone.”

“Oh, If you really want, hold your water, I’ll get the litte creep.”

…..(rustling) …….

“Jeffrey pick up you daft bastard!”


“Good evening Jeffrey.” I said.

“Your breath smells like peaches.” Jeffrey replies.

“The penguins are in the toilets.” I retorted.

I was prepared to verbally joust, I figured a volley of absurdity was something I could do.

“My son is a cold-hearted gangster, and I need a hug.” he said. I laughed out loud, attracting the attention of the people in line waiting to use the payphone.

Ok, I’ve had enough of you put vanessa back on the phone. But Jeffrey…?


“I’ll see you you crazy mongrel.”

“Ok bye.”

“vanessa? Vanessa? Vanessa?”

That bloody jeffrey, he’s undeniably useless. A considerable sized line of bodies had built up by the phone so I thought it best to just leave.

More Strange Stories…

Nils Erwin

Nils submitted this piece in 2004 with a link to his webpage "under the floor" which is no longer available.*** Here's an "about me" excerpt from his long lost webpage: *** "Shortly after I was born it came as quite a startle to my then already beleaguered parents (they had wanted a girl who could sew), that I would speak fluent spanish. My first words were: "Dónde está el tocador? Necesito refrescar para arriba." Which roughly translated means: "Where is the toilet, I need to freshen up." Fearing that I had some incredible gift, or even worse, that I was channeling a homosexual spanish immigrant, my parents paid a vagrant to drop me down a manhole along with a satchel of dried food with the hopes that I might surface one day quite normal and ready to join society again. Fortuitously, this tuned out to completely unnecessary, for as swiftly as I picked up the dialect, it abandoned me, and I returned to the normal incoherence of a baby."

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