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May 31, 2005

The Telephone Blues

Eric Muller's phone is friends with drug dealers! Okay, I have no evidence to back that up whatsoever. In fact, I have strong reason to believe Eric (and his phone) are not involved in any wrongdoing whatsoever. But he got a wrong number voicemail the other day from somebody who probably does live in the drugs & violence underground. It was a very funny and desperate voicemail. Hell of a wrong number, there, Sparky. Eric asksif anybody else has had a similar experience. Rather than threadjack his comments with a long cellphone wrong number tale involving drug dealers, I’ll tell it here.

Many years ago I moved to Washington D.C. for work. I bought a new cell phone, since back in the day, you couldn’t keep the same number for life, unless you wanted to pay roaming charges for life (while walking 10 miles uphill to grad school, each way). Besides, my new phone only weighed about 9 pounds and fit into an Alice Medium pack, unlike the 13 pounder that I had to carry around in it's own dialysis machine bag before that.

The number granted to me by AT&T, the All Merciful and Just, apparently had belonged to a drug dealer of no small repute immediately prior to my inheriting the number.

I knew this because I kept getting phone calls at 2:00 AM asking me for some “stuff.” I tried to elicit names, but they wouldn’t tell me theirs, so I wouldn’t tell them mine. (Good security, that, on both our parts). After a couple weeks and several calls, I got tired of playing the name game, and decided to play along.

So I started sending the callers to meet me in the worst neighborhoods I could think of in D.C. – open air drug markets, after hours clubs where homicides were commonplace, and so on. “Meet me at the Sursum Corda… North Capitol and First Place in an hour.” That’s where an infamous open air drug market, running three blocks on this little cul-de-sac operated until just last fall. The place looked like hell on earth, or like the free zone on last season's "The Wire." One time I said “I’ll see you in an hour at North Capitol and Florida Ave. I’ll be in front of the after hours club. Just ask the homeless guys if you aren’t sure where it is.” That location is right across from a BP gas station, where a guy was beaten to death fairly recently in front of a half dozen motorists, who just kept filling up their cars as he received a fatal beating. At the time, it was more famous in my mind for the boozed up SOB who staggered into the road in front of my wife and I, and attempted to pee on the hood of our car. This wouldn’t be remarkable, except it was during rush hour. And the old boy had a stunningly huge and diseased looking bit of plumbing too. I also used “there’s a strip club, ____, on Georgia Ave, near Silver Spring” [which was a notorious haven for violent thugs].

Most of the callers sounded male, young, white, and educated-ish, Georgetownies maybe, so I took great joy in sending them to troll for drugs in neighborhoods where white faces other than the cops are rarely seen. That way, they would be viewed as marks by the dealers or robbers, or as very obvious targets for law enforcement officer looking for suburban crack buyers, which they of course were. The bastards could have gotten me in trouble, so I just didn’t want to hear it.

Those calls stopped after a couple months. I wonder why.

The other calls on that number were more troubling. My dealer best friend who I never met also had the charming habit of getting girlfriends pregnant, then running off.

Two or three of them kept calling to ask for child support, and ranking me out for never seeing my baby child, and for not being a better baby daddy, baby. They never believed me when I told them that I wasn’t the guy, I wasn’t his boy, didn’t even know him, and only had this number because some minimum wage AT&T clerk punked me and gave it to me.

I think the girls thought that my pal, the drug lord, employed me to screen his unpleasant calls or something. Man, the stuff they’d lay on me was heartrending, including putting the little baby boy on the phone. Eeek. I felt so awful that I nearly started paying child support for the dealer’s kids, just to make the sad stories stop.

Though I drove off the drug buyers (or maybe got them killed or arrested) I never could figure out any non-inhuman method of giving the harem the kissoff, so I eventually just changed phone numbers, at a cost of roughly $100 to AT&T the Munificent. (It involved a trade up to a 4 pound phone and an agreement that bound me to AT&T for life, and for 100 free minutes a month for two thirds of the time I spend in the hereafter as long as it my hereafter involves areas bordering brimstone, so that I'm constantly in range of AT&T's towers).

It was inevitable, really. Sooner or later, if I didn’t ditch the phone, the pissed off buyers or ex-girlfriends were going to track me down and shoot me. In fact, I still worry a little bit that in 20 years, one of the pissed off little kids who thinks I’m his daddy will show up and beat me to death.

Of course when I think about how many laughs I had over sending Chad Whitebread to Sursum Corda at 2:00 AM, I wont be bothered. Hell, as the boy who thinks I'm his daddy is dropping the lead pipe on my skull, I’ll think about the insufferable Bradley Ford Bradford (or whoever) that I told to go to 11th and M, Southwest, to “ask the Black transvestite hookers where I’m parked, just say 'take me to the car', and they'll hook you up.” As those images flicker through my fading cerebral cortex, then I’ll realize it was all worth getting beat to death over.

Hell, life is pretty tough, and you just don’t get laughs like that every day.

Posted by Blackavar at May 31, 2005 11:08 PM | TrackBack
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This is hillarious! And a great piece of writing!

BTW, who is Blackavar? A new member of the Silflay Hraka community?

Posted by: coturnix at June 1, 2005 12:46 PM

Hi Bora,

Newish, though he's been dommenting here for years. Good Craft beer man. I recruited him to fill in while I'm away playing at Night Elves.

Posted by: Bigwig at June 1, 2005 01:25 PM
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