Archive for the ‘Post: 11.0’ Category

Monday, April 2, 8:56 a.m.

My cell phone rings just as I settle into my desk at work. I glance at the number. It’s a got a 206 area code and I don’t recognize it. Normally I don’t answer unfamiliar calls. It’s almost always someone saying, “Uh, yeah, I was wondering if you carry laptop cords?” Then, trying not to sound bitchy but always sounding bitchy, I reply, “This is a private cell phone. Laptop Land is not at this number.”

I’m cursed with the discarded phone number of a small scale computer business. The Yellow Pages called me once to check on the status of Laptop Land. I begged them to remove my number from their business listings. They said they would, and maybe they did, but the internet listing will never die.

In the last two days, I’ve been getting a lot of calls from phone numbers I don’t recognize, most of them prefixed with the 206 area code. Despite the threat of laptop inquiries, I’ve answered all of them. Because it might be Jack. Because I’m so worried about him.

The previous six times my phone rang this morning, it was:

1) The cops (Seattle Police Department)

2) The Seattle Times

3) KING 5 TV

4) The cops (King County Sheriff’s Office)

5) Some Leo-esque crime blogger

6) Laptop replacement battery request

I grab my ringing cell phone and say, “Hello?”

There’s a long silence on the other end. I normally hang up when there’s a long silence. In my experience, it indicates the unwelcome presence of a telemarketer.

But then I hear a slow inhalation, cut off by a smoker’s cough.

“Hey,” a weak voice says.

“Jack?” I say.

“Yeah,” he says, then coughs again. “You okay?”

“Oh my God! Are you okay? I’ve called you about a hundred times. Where are you?”

Harborview,” he says. “Are you safe?”

“Me? I’m fine. What are you doing at the hospital?”

There’s another slow inhalation, then a belabored half-cough, half sigh.

“Could you come?” he says. “Please? I have to talk to you.”