And kept ringing.
Zorikh Lequidre was quite possibly the last individual in his ten block radius who still owned a telephone with a genuine bell ringer, with the exception of Juli Planet Earth, owner of Arts and Craps gallery around the corner. Both Zorikh and Juli (who didn’t know one another) felt that a genuine bell ringer just added that touch of nostalgic class to an incoming call. This time however, the tinny hammering of metal on metal was neither classy nor nostalgic as Zorikh awaited the rescue of his answering machine.
Click. “Hi, you’ve reached Zorikh, I’m not able to get to the phone right now, please leave a message.”
Beep. “Hello Mr. Lequidre, this is Theodora Hayes.” Her voice was rich, yet not thick or deep and she spoke in a strange hint of an accent that reminded Zorikh of German, but not quite. “I see that you're reacting in the second most popular way to our little follow up calls- the time tested avoidance method. It's just a needle's eye shy in popularity of the rip-the-phone-off the-wall reaction that we get most often. Quite fortunate it is that you have a machine to answer your telephone calls, else…” Beep.
A half second later, Zorikh was able to blink again, then shake his head. “Whoa, strange lass…”
Ring…ring…ring…ring…click…Hi this is Zorikh…beep…”I’d have let the phone ring indefinitely, or at least until I grew bored. Quite like a siege, the phone waiting game yes? The advantage is the caller’s of course, since the ringing on this side is merely a digital tone in my earpiece.” Beep.
Ring…ring…ring…ring…click…Hi this is Zorikh…beep. “But I imagine on that side each repetitive little pulse that I hear in my handset begins to sound like a dentist’s drill, or one of those little monkey toys with the cymbals…” Beep.
Ring…ring…ring…ring…click…Hi this is Zorikh…beep. “You know, the siege of Acre by Alexander lasted quite a long time. Folk within the walls began to starve at first, then sickness slowly set in among the poorest of the poor, then spread upwards. The soldiers camped outside their walls, of course, had the run of the land. Very exhilarating time for the Macedonians, I hear…” Beep.
Zorikh, whose face was by now a very frustrated beet red, wondered if her information had been wrong. “Acre fell by siege engines…” he couldn’t help muttering in the telephone’s direction.
Ring…ring…ring…ring… Zorikh wrenched the handset to his ear. “What? What?” he roared into the mouthpiece. “I give up! Talk to me!”
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