Categories > Original > Drama > Don't Hang Up2 Reviews
I like...fixed some things that didn't make sense.
Steadiness was always a quality he lacked. It was made blatantly clear to him when he pulled that trigger in the first place. He tries to hold his breath, conceal the hurt in his gut. His eyes flutter to stay awake, if he could just keep his pulse going for a little longer, just get the blood to stop betraying him...
He’d always thought that there was one person, at least, that he could rely on. But he was stuck on this road alone. His window had closed just as fast as it had opened. He's morbidly surprised. Didn't he deserve the slightest bit of recognition? Guess not. His emotions seem to blur together in a hasty thought; that human survival instinct. He bites his lip, reaching awkwardly for the phone. Impatience was stirring amongst the people outside of the phone booth, but he didn’t care. As long as he could block them out, pretend that this fast and ugly city wasn’t around him, he was alright.
It dawned on him that this one person was probably the only reason he was still alive. Actually, it wasn’t so much the person; it was the fact that someone out there was willingly giving him their phone number. It was pure hope, unmasked as pure ignorance.
“911, state your emergency.”
“I lost someone.” He taps his foot, his bitter paranoia uncontrollably leaking out.
“We’re tracking where you are now. Where did you lose them?”
“No! Don’t track me. I mean, I won’t be here.” His eyes shift from the pain in his side to as far as he can see...wishing for California, where they can tug on his heart once more. Maybe they could force out a reaction. Something to ease the numbing?
The dead tone of disbelief can be heard through the steamy lines connecting Tupelo to Omaha.
“Is this a real emergency?”
“Of course it is!” He pulls at his matted hair exasperatedly. He sighs into the phone, hearing the sound of nothing coming through the other line. He knows that the woman is still there. His eyes peer over, catching ones of an unhappy man, who seems to have spent most of his life on a toilet seat, chomping down America’s newest diabetes chain. The kid looks away. He shrinks to the icy glass walls and connects his mouth to the receiver with the palm of his hand. “I got shot.” He whispers. The woman strains to hear.
“Alright, then, the ambulance should be there anytime soon.”
“No!” He shouts, attempted to hit the glass. “I can’t.” He slides down while the signs of his existence leak away. He’ll just be yesterday’s headline. He sees it in his head: RUNAWAY BLEEDS TO DEATH IN TUPELO PHONEBOOTH. He's frantic. He feels the glow of the streetlights, drowning like he is, under the screaming neon lights offering booze. This fast and stupid city, yet if he had to die anywhere, it be here. Here is where he wound up. Everything happens for a reason, he supposes.
“And why is that? The ambulance will be there shortly.”
“Because I shot myself.” The woman sits in her calmly collected cubicle. Statuettes surround her, staring up at the ceiling. Magnificent in their everlasting beauty, just fucking glowing in their ability to never change. She looks down at her tired hands, her bones make themselves obvious at sharp, painful edges. She breathes in deep, her face modeling one who has stood and watched a beating take place...disgusted and angry, but motionless all the same. One who’s watched someone die, felt the beat of a thousand dead soldiers and held their hands in the carcass of her heart. She’s loosing this one. She knows this kid. He used to live right on Florence Boulevard.
“The ambulance is two minutes away. Please stay where you are.” All she can muster up. She wonders where his mind came from. That boy who used to sit on the curb with freshly picked daffodils, hand them out to the passing people is now bleeding out in a dreadful phone booth.
He wishes he could see the woman’s face, to figure out how heartless she really is. Is it only him? Or does she always speak so monotone, always feel so callous? Even when a sweet and innocent girl is dying…will she be the same? He shuns the phone, tossing it meekly from himself. His fingers slip as he clambers at the glass wall. He scrambles to get up, aware that he can’t because of the gun shot wound in his side and how the blood is full on his hands, making it almost impossible to reach the stale air on the outside. He gives up all together. He can't help but feel some sort of odium towards that sickness infected ground.
He can only think now of one thing: daisies.
Daisies for no particular reason. Daisies that he’d never smelt. He liked flowers. He liked how simple their lives were. How they could so easily make someone smile. He'd never smelt many, only the street weeds. He could smell absolutely nothing. The pain was making him nauseous and delusional. He was sure he was about to die, because he smelt daisies. His face panics as he closes his puffy eyes. He hadn’t even realized he was crying.
The woman on the line breathes in deeply. She sees her reflection, distorted on a dusty frame. She pictured the perfect family, not telling anyone that that girl in the photo is not her real daughter. She likes to keep it on her desk, pretend that she has someone to go home to when all she really has is a finicky TV. Her face is wrinkled and her eyes bore into those reflected. She can’t help but feel alone. Desperate. Fearful. She buries her feelings, at least for a few more moments and turns her voice to that same robotic tone. How she loathes it.
“Are you still there, sir?”
The kid can’t answer. He’s too lost. The people outside look in, horror stretching across their normally expressionless faces.
This? He can’t help but shake under pressure. It's as if he's in a display case. They’re all watching him through the glass, trying to get in. He couldn’t nor would he ever let them in. He holds the door shut and leans back. His bloodied hands run all over his face. Breathe, breathe, he has to remember. He has to stay calm. It must be nature's instinct...the need for survival, the indecisiveness.
A man with a suitcase tries to be Superman. He bashes the glass with his newly manufactured briefcase. That's when the women around him swoon. But this kid couldn’t let anyone in. Secrets too dark to be heard by anyone, to even stand like statutes in his mind would fall vibrantly from his dying lips. They would drown the world in misery because one goddamn man wanted to be the hero.
The glass shatters, falls around the kid. Cuts into his left eye.
He’s worse off. Someone wanted to know what was inside his feverish mind. He shouts, pleads to just be left there, because no one person can ever make him live again. But the man with the briefcase simply won’t listen; he honestly doesn't care about the kid. He only wants his Lois Lane, dreams that couldn't ever last.
It’s all just stupid pity, far too sickening to touch. They back away as he pleads insanity, his pupils so small, all you can see in blue…blue…blue. He isn’t blaming anyone. Isn’t looking at anyone, just up, past the coasted dark sky.
The woman hung up the phone and wept for the hearts she'd never been able to save or even offer the slightest bit of hope. She simply didn't care anymore. So what if the other operators could hear her? She was too disgusted with herself, too pissed off at all the people she’d become. She had tried to change, drown all those who she’d been in her tears. But the face she saw in the reflected glass framing the happy girl was too unfamiliar. Too terrifying. It only made her tears run faster, because now, now, she was looking on as an outsider. Her eyes, stung with sadness, finally became clear. She wasn't so blind now. She saw what everyone hated about her.
And it was toxic.
Though, it was as it stood. Through the steamy static sessions of like-minded fools, from Tupelo to Omaha, it was whispered. A cry of nothing to no one.
“Don’t hang up.” He dared the woman, faltered in a last breath of air.