The phone rang and I picked it up.
As soon as I did I thought,
“oh, you fuckin idiot! I told you not to!”
But I said, “hello?”
“hello,” said a mature voice,
Far out there in another world.
A world of business and money,
Of meetings and important things.
Very far away from my world.
“is Jenny there?”
“uh, no!” I shouted, too loud.
“oh. She already left?”
I did some thinking,
Made some deductions.
If this person knew she was going,
He must know it all.
He must know that Jenny,
One of the owners of the house I was sitting,
Was taking a trip up to Bali with Craig,
The other owner of the house,
To elope and have a discreet wedding
amongst close friends..
“uh, yeah. She left two days ago- no! yesterday!”
“do you know how long she was planning on being gone?”
“uh, like two weeks- no! a week.
Hmm, I don’t really know. I’m not really clued in.”
I thought about how bad that sounded.
I was this house sitter guy who didn’t really know
Who it was I was house sitting for,
When they’d left,
Or how long they’d be away.
I was most likely a burglar,
For all this poor bastard knew.
“oh, hmm. She told me she’d give me a call
before she left.”
I waited a few moments, hoping he’d continue,
But he didn’t.
“uh...yeah...well, you know, women.
They say they’ll do things,
Then they get caught up with picking out shoes,
Dresses, that kinda stuff. All that bullsh-tuff...”
“shtuff?” I thought to myself. “bull shtuff?”
“you must be the person taking care of the house?”
I thought about it for a moment.
I’d been tearing through a box of cheap wine,
And my brain was feeling the rotgut repercussions.
“uh, yeah. I am. I’m taking care of...
Monty...too. The dog.”
I could feel the conversation heading south.
It occurred to me I had no idea who this man was,
He had no idea who I was,
And nothing important was getting exchanged.
I was about to hang up,
Blame it on a bad connection,
But then I remembered I was speaking on a land line.
“all right, well, can you take a message?” he asked.
I looked around for a pen and paper.
Then a pen or paper.
A pen to write a message on my arm,
Paper to scratch a note into with my fingernail.
Neither presented themselves.
“just tell her this,” he said.
I closed my eyes,
as though the memory system worked
better with closed eyes.
“tell her to call her father when she gets back.”
“oh, jesus!” I blurted,
Trying to recover with a fake cough.
“uh, what was that? call her dad? When she gets back?”
If you’re not sure about something,
always answer a question with a question.
“yes,” he said, very slowly. “you got that?”
I couldn’t help it.
I began to laugh.
The wine, the conversation, no!
It was the fact that some schmuck like me,
Some fool who’d lucked his way
into a house-sitting gig,
In the middle of paradise,
Knew that this Jen chick was up in Bali,
About to get married in a few days,
While her poor father,
The man who’d probably worked his ass off
his whole life to put bread on the table,
was being kept completely in the dark,
on what was supposed to be the brightest day
of his daughter’s life.
“um,” I gasped. “yeah. Yeah, I got that. yeah,
I’ll leave a message. Have her call you,
When she gets back.”
We hung up and I sighed,
vowing to never again answer the phone
in a house I was taking care of,
especially when the owners were in the middle
of some grand eloping scheme.
It just wasn’t worthwhile.