Ten to One

An incoming call, a sequence of numbers flashed on his phone. Was 123-456-7890 even a real number? He never called them back, because the moment he thought of it, they called him again. He made the mistake of accidentally pressing the answer button when he wanted to ignore it. He hung up right away, but that just makes them angry. Now they never stop calling. 

Sometimes they leave messages. They told him his number was growing. What number? You’ll see, but you can’t run.

(0,1,1,2,3,5,8 . . . ) 123-456-7890.

The number increased along with the aggression of the creditor. Were they real? Who knows? It’s so hard to keep track of debt. Maybe they thought he was someone else. Maybe someone else had stolen someone else’s identity and made a fake phone number which was in fact, his. Not much one can do about it. The people who really want something will always believe that you’re the one who has it.

He’d like to believe they’re all fake from some other country where spamming people isn’t illegal. But once they told him the name of his childhood pet, things started to get weird. He heard snickering in the background, which made him think it might be one of his friends. This message came when he was out with all of them on the 4th of July. True, he couldn’t keep track of everybody at all times, but if his friends were playing a prank, none of them were looking at him to enjoy it.

(1,11,21,1211,111221 . . . ) 123-456-7890.

One time, the caller left the message that he hadn’t orgasmed during sex until he was twenty-seven. He had never told anyone that. Then the caller asked for a start-up payment of $5,000. After that, they’d discuss weekly increasing deductions. He didn’t have that kind of money. Virtually no one does, out of the blue. 

He came home from work one day and his wife asked him how he knew she was pregnant. He didn’t know. But she received a call from someone with a recording. His voice saying that she should do the world a favor and pound a pint of drain cleaner.

(0/1,1/1,1/2,2/1,1/3,3/2 . . . ) 123-456-7890.

She was standing next to a cake and a present. He had bought neither. Tonight was supposed to be a special night. Instead, she opened a letter from the bank informing them of the upcoming weekly deductions and house foreclosure. What am I supposed to do with this? she asked, pointing to her stomach. There was a note by the cake that he hadn’t written. ‘Noticed you’ve been getting fat. Is this really necessary?’ followed by an arrow pointing toward the cake.

During stressful situations, a teacher once told him to count backwards from ten . . .