“Hello sir, I’m calling with an exciting chance for you. You have been selected. ” He cuts off the telemarketer before he can go into his spiel.
“How did you know I was a sir? You just started hammering the moment I answered.”
“Oh, your phone line is listed under a Mister William Pike.”
“Ok, yeah, of course, but people just call me Bud. Anyway, I don’t want anything so thanks and bye.”
“Wait, how about the chance to win a year’s supply of beer?”
Bud stops, finger hovering over the end call button and raises the the phone back to his ear. “I’m listening. I was just about to open a cold one. What do I have to do? A questionnaire or something?”
“You just need you to go outside, it will only take a minute.” The telemarketer responds promptly.
“Is this some kind of prank? Do I know you?”
Silence now on the line. Bud makes his way through the house, opens the front door and steps out onto his unruly, overgrown yard. A dog bark echoes through the quiet night.
Bud smiles, he’s almost certain now a friend is getting ready to jump out of the bushes.
“I can hear a dog on your end as well. Aren’t you in some office, somewhere?”
Without a moment’s pause, the telemarketer answers. “Yes, I am. Karen has a new seeing eye dog, it has been barking all day. I’m surprised no one has strangled it yet.”
“Sure, Karen. Ok, I’m outside.” He takes a quick scan but can’t make out any lurking shadows.
“Perfect. Look up at the stars and tell me, if this was your last night alive, what would you wish for?”
Confused, he asks, “What kind of question is that? What beer company is this for?”
The telemarketer ignores the questions. “You know this isn’t the first time we have spoken. You probably don’t remember. The last time we spoke, you said, you wish I was here in person, so you could kill me with your bare hands.”
This prank was taking an unsettling turn. Bud remembered the call, he had joked about it at work.
“What do you mean, here?” he asks, not wanting an answer.
A prick, like an insect bite, distracts him. He slaps at the spot but it already feels numb. A warm feeling flows from the nape of Buds neck. He thinks nothing of it until the sensation of hot breath tickles the fine hairs behind his ear.
“Is this what you wished for? Because I did.”