Tuesday, July 24, 2012

pocket dial

I sat, staring at the computer, vaguely perusing the news but not really reading it, and listening to the waterfall sound of my ambition and education cascading out of my ears. My boss walked by and I minimized the news. She crossed her arms and made a high pitched sound close to a rabbit's dream dying. Then she went back into her office.

The telephone rang and I answered it flatly. The words fell out of the receiver into my brain matter. "I'm trying to reach Attorney John Staton, but he's not answering," the caller said almost in an accusatory tone.

I stared at the screen, fiddling idly with my cursor. "...Want me to transfer you to his voicemail then?"

"No, he's not answering."


The flickering fluorescent lights bounced off the rotten eggshell colored walls, winking at my apathy, grinning at my displeasure. A clock ticked as I grew seconds and minutes older and the whir of the elevators washed away any natural sounds of happiness.

This monotony continued for several dead moments. I browsed the craigslist classifieds for a new job but nothing seemed exciting. When you first get depressed, you want to rid your life of the misery. But after a few months, there's a point in depression where you don't want to do anything at all. Does change involve any effort whatsoever? I just want to turn into a caterpillar. Is that cool?

The phone rang again and I answered it. "Good afternoon, name of job, how may I help you?" After a second the caller didn't say anything. I could hear rustling noises and a far away sounding voice. I rolled my eyes. It was a pocket dial. I was about to hang up, but then I heard a bird whistle somewhere in the background. I ground the receiver tighter against my ear and continued to listen. There was a jingle of change and a loud flap of fabric and even occasionally a beep. I found myself riveted to the pocket dial, unable to hang up on this mistake. It was obviously a cellphone, stuck inside someone's pocket, calling out to me for some reason, invitingly.

I poised the maroon office phone directly in front of my face and squinted at the receiver.

"Hello?" I called out. My voice echoed inside some stranger's pocket.

Headfirst, I crammed my head into the receiver of the phone, and then squeezed my shoulders together to get my arms in. Once my shoulders were clear I sorta dove into the phone, thrusting hard to get my hips through and escaped from my office into the unknown.

Inside the phone there was a curving tunnel just tall enough for me to stand and barely wide enough. I walked through the gloomy telephone cavern. A bat flew past my head and I ducked. I kept my arms and hands in front of me in a futile attempt to protect and guide myself in the poor low light. As I walked, I could feel the floors rumbling beneath me.

The tunnel reached an end, concluding in a jagged cliff overlooking a dark cave. I looked below and saw only darkness. I jumped from the ledge of the tunnel and fell into the soft fabric of the pocket.

The floors stopped their stupid rumbling and everything halted and remained still as I fell into the abyss.

My weight must have added some pressure when I landed. A hand reached into the pocket, felt around for a second, and then grabbed me by the back of my shirt and pulled me out. The daylight was glaringly bright after the dark tunnel. I wondered how long I had been in the darkness.

Outside I could hear birds chirping, cars honking, and women laughing in the distance. I could smell a mixture of soap, Indian food, and trees. With my dayjob I didn't get outdoors a lot in the daytime during the week. This felt like a special field trip except I wasn't going to let any jerks draw pictures of boobs on two sticky notes and subtly stick them to my back.

When my eyes finally adjusted I was looking into the eyes of a young man about my age. He was holding me up by my shirt with two fingers because I was pocket sized. His brows were raised over his glasses and his brown eyes looked at me with gentle curiosity and sparkle.

"Hello!" I chirped up at him, my voice an indiscernable squeak. As I laid claim to existence, I began to grow back towards my normal size. Within seconds I was too heavy for the pocket bearer to hold up with two pinched fingers and he dropped me. I grew back to my normal height, stood up, dusted off my skirt, and thanked whatever spiritual karmic bullshit had allowed my clothing to conformingly change sizes along with me.

"H-h-hey," the gentleman said, pushing his glasses up his nose. "Were you just in my pocket?"

"Yes. It was nice. You must have good cleaning habits."

"Oh, thank you."

"No, thank YOU."

He looked at me for a second, clearly unclear of my backstory, and he wasn't the only one. I chuckled at nothing and shifted my weight from foot to foot. The pocket dialer man shrugged and jammed his hands in his pockets. We both looked into each other's eyes at the same time and then immediately redirected our gaze to our feet.

"So, I guess I should get going," he said.

"Oh... okay," I replied.

"Unless you, um, wanted to..."

"Well, sure, I probably have no reason to go back to work at this point."


He gestured in a direction and I nodded and ventured onward.

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