Even after 14 years, she’s gone but not forgotten


I don’t know about y’all, but I haven’t been gettin’ as many calls from phone creatures as I used too.

Maybe word got around or somethin’. I was gettin’ scared that I might lose my touch without some practice, but then I got one.

Phone creatures, for those of you who haven’t been readin’ this junk for very long, is what I call those pesky phone solicitors that call you at inopportune times to try to badger you into buyin’ somethin’ you don’t want, or need. Most people I know either indulge them or hang up on them. I like to mess with them.

“Yellow,” I said into the phone. There was no answer. “Yellow,” I said again, and then I heard the barely audible click that tells you it’s a phone creature.

“Good afternoon,” the lady creature said.

“Afternoon?” I answered. “I don’t know where you are lady, but it’s done got dark here.”

“Yes sir,” said the creature. “May I speak to Janet Mitchum, please?”

“Well,” I said. You could, but she ain’t here. In fact, I ain’t seen her for a while.”

“Do you know when she’ll be back?”

“Well,” I said. “This comin’ Thursday she’ll have been gone…let’s sees now…yep, it’ll be 14 years.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said the creature. “Has she passed on?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I told you I haven’t seen her for 14 years.”

“Uh, I don’t understand,” she said.

“Well, she said she wuz goin’ to the grocery store and she never came back.”

“Did they suspect foul play?” the creature asked.

“Did who suspect foul play?”

“The authorities,” she said.

“What authorities?”

“You know, the police.”

“Why would I call the police?”

“Weren’t you afraid someone might have abducted her?”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“You know, someone might have kidnapped her.”

“Why in tarnation would somebody do that? Anywho, if they had, she would have drove’em crazy in no time and they’d a brung’er back.

“Well,” said the creature, “did you miss her?”

“I never shot at her,” I said.

“No, I mean did you miss having her around?”

“Well yeah, I guess,” I said. “It wuz three days afore I got somethin’ to eat. I nearly starved to death. I finally had to call her sister to come over and feed me.”

“You mean you couldn’t make yourself something to eat?”

“That ain’t my job,” I said. “It wuz hers.”

“Well,” said the creature under her breath. “It’s no wonder she left.”

“I heard that,” I said. “And for your information, Miss Smarty Britches, she left ’cause we wuz out of groceries. She just ain’t got back, yet.”

“Sir,” said the creature. “I hate to tell you, but I do not think she will be coming back.”

“She’d better,” I said. “I’m gettin’ tired of her sister’s cookin’.”

“You mean her sister is still cooking for you?”

“Why not,” I said. “She ain’t’ got nothing’ better to do.”

“I can’t believe your wife has been gone for 14 years and you are still looking for her.”

“I ain’t lookin’ for her, but I’m expectin’ her home at any minute now. Hey…. what’s that? Well I swear. I think I hear her now.”

“You’re kidding, right?” said the creature.

“Nope,” that’s her alright. I can hear her wooden leg poppin’ on the floor. “Is that you?” I said loudly away from the phone. “It’s about time you got home. Did you get the groceries?”

“Well, I swear,” I said back into the phone. “Would you believe she forgot the groceries?”

“But,” said the creature. “Are you glad to see her?”

“I’d be a might gladder if she’d brung the groceries,” I said. “Hang on a minute and I’ll get her for you.”

“No!” said the creature. “No, don’t do that. I’ll call back some other time.”

“You sure?” I asked. “She’s right here. She can talk to you afore I send her back out for them groceries.”

“No, really,” said the creature. “It’s not that important,” and she hung up.

I returned the phone receiver to the cradle and turned around. Yep, you guess it. There was my dearly beloved, arms crossed, and one of those looks on her face.

“What?” I said innocently.

“Nothing,” she spit out. “I was just thinking about going to the store. See you in about 14 years.”


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