by Wayne Scheer
to ignore the ringing telephone and let the
caller leave a message. He had set the answering
machine to go to message after three rings, but
his wife had obviously changed the number of
rings. By the seventh ring, he couldn't stand it
about Phil?" It was his sister-in-law, Marge.
She never identified herself. She just dove into
conversation the way a child might jump into a
swimming pool. "He was in a car wreck. He's
okay, just a fender bender, but it was enough to
total his precious Cadillac. The insurance
company didn't care that it had only eighty
thousand miles on it. As soon as they heard it
was a 1998 model, they wrote it off. He's
devastated. You know how he loved that car? The
truth is Diane couldn't be happier. She never
liked the color. 'Shit brown' is the way she
described it. I remember going to a restaurant
with them once. He ordered for Diane. He decided
they would split a pasta and a salad. It was a
Mediterranean pasta. You know, with olives and
artichokes? I can't stand olives. Make me gag. I
don't know how people eat those things. May as
well dump a full saltshaker in your mouth. Oh,
before I forget. There's a sale at Bragan's. Half
off shoes. We need to get there early--"
Phil? And which shoe is half off--right or left?"
Ernie, it's you. I thought Jan answered. What are
you doing home? Oh, that's right. Jan told me you
had the flu. You should rest. You sound awful.
Anthony Mason, you know, Larry's cousin? He
thought he had the flu, but it turned out to be
just a bad cold. The doctor wouldn't even give
him antibiotics. He nearly died--Speaking of
dying, did you hear about--
Anthony Mason? Look, Marge. Jan went to the gym.
I'll tell her you called. I was sleeping--"
still going to the gym? Good for her. I don't
want to keep you. I'll let you rest. You know I
had a membership at LA Fitness. I went about
three times and never went back. Is Jan losing
weight? I hope not. She's skinny as a rail as is."
tell her you called." I hung up before she
could say anything more.
probably complain to Jan about my rudeness.