I have a habit of becoming completely captivated by projects like this. There is something about learning a new skill and creating something from scratch that occupies my mind to a point close to obsession. When I get in those moments, there is very little that can break through my tunnel of concentration and interest. Because I know this about myself, I consider it a near miracle that I even heard my cell phone at all that afternoon. However, amidst all the excitement of a new venture, I recognized the tune of Fallout Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” buzzing away in the corner of Will’s room. With a majority of my focus still on the decision at hand, I picked up my phone and took a glance down at the incoming number; it was from work. All of the phone numbers from the Air Force base started with the same three digits. Which meant, thanks to caller ID, I could ignore the call completely, let it go to voicemail, hope they called somebody else in to pick-up the slack, and promise to answer if they happened to call again. I went back to the computer screen with Will as he had just found a tower that would allow for better airflow at a cheaper price.
“That’s the one Will.” I said, excited about our discovery, and gave him the go-ahead to purchase. Just as we began filling out the order information, I heard the familiar melody of a new voicemail alert. The ruse was going as planned. Will and I went on to complete the order and, as we waited for the conformation code to hit my email, I decided to check the message to gauge the probability that I would be receiving a second call thus forcing me to make good on my promise. As I listened in anticipation for the unwarranted sense of urgency, I was surprised to hear the following message:
“Hey Steve, this is Stacy Morey. I was calling to see how you are doing and to hear how everything went down with you and Melissa. I heard some of it from Chris, but…well that’s another story. I know you probably didn’t answer because you recognized the base number. While I am over here, I have to connect through the base operator. Just so you know, I’ve only got fifteen minutes of phone time twice a week so I’ll try to catch up with you again another time. Take care!”
“The email is in and you’re order is on it’s way!” Will said, then swiveled his seat around to see me sitting on his bed with the phone to my ear, eyes as big as baseballs, and my jaw nearly touching my chest. “Dude, what’s up?” He asked, timid and unsure of what type of response he might get. “Do you have to go into work?”
“Will” I said, slowly setting the phone down beside me. “That was Stacy Morey.”
"No it wasn’t.” He said, not enjoying the assumed sarcasm.
“Dude, that was STACY freakin’ MOREY!” I responded and started pacing across the room. “That was Stacy Morey and I blew it man. She only gets two calls a week, she chose to call me, and I didn’t answer. This is totally karma.” I looked up at him for conformation; he met me with a confused look. “I am being punished in the most twisted and sinister way for trying to avoid being called into work. I totally messed this up!”
“Steve,” Will began, trying to calm me down, “If she called you once, she’ll call you again.”
“But what if I’m at work? She gets two fifteen minute calls a WEEK. I can’t have a good conversation at work and I’m sure she has plenty of other people to talk to. She’s deployed for crying out loud! Her family and friends are probably worried about her and look forward to the phone call that assures her safety. And Stacy, knowing all of this, still decided to use one of her fifteen minutes today to call me and I let it go to voicemail. Cruel, irreversible, voicemail. Let’s call this how it is, Will” I stopped pacing and looked at Will still sitting in his computer chair, now giving me a peculiar smile. “I’m putz man, a total putz.” I ended, returning the glance.
“Don’t stress over it bro.” He was still smiling and stood up to pat me on the shoulder, “Many a man has lost a woman because of the lure of computer towers and processors.” He said in laughter, clearly unsympathetic to my dire predicament.
“A woman Will? A woman?” I responded, shrugging his hand from my shoulder and returning to my amble deliberation. His attempt at getting me more wound up was a resounding success. “If this was just A woman do you think I would be acting like this? No! This is THE woman Will and THE woman is single and I am single and we could be THE couple.”
“Ok, first; don’t say THE like that again. You sound like your reciting and Old English poem. Second, if it’s meant to happen it will happen. Don’t stress about it now.”
I didn’t have time to decipher whether or not Will’s advice was sound. I had to figure out a way to contact Stacy fast so she knew I wasn’t purposely ignoring her.
“Email!” I said, thinking aloud and startling Will with how impertinent this response was. “I have her email address at work. I could just drive down there, log in real quick, and send her an email explaining the whole situation. She said it herself that she knew I probably didn’t answer because of the base number on the caller ID. All I would need to do is confirm her assumption.”
“You’re gonna look desperate.” Said Will, and as soon as those words left his mouth, I heard a familiar sound.
“We’re goin’ down, down in an earlier round”
I grabbed my cell phone from Will’s bed. It was a number from the Air Force base.
“Sugar we’re goin’ down swingin’”
There was a better than average chance that this was purely a coincidence and work would be on the other end of that phone call with an order to come in that would demolish my carefully thought out weekend plans.
“I’m your number one with a bullet”
“Hello?” I said, saving the call from the unforgiving depths of voicemail.
“Hey Steve? It’s Stacy.”