9-1-1

9-1-1

Fiction for Processed World.

"Hello, how are ya? You have reached the Hoffman residence. I bill my time at two hundred dollars per hour. All my time. So knowing that, if you have anything worth saying, wait for the beep and leave a message . . . Hey, wait a minute, don't hang up, only kidding. If you are not mentally ill, contagiously sick, or a member of the Communist Party . . . beeeep."

"Roger, this is your wife. Cute, real cute. Could you please erase that before I get home. I'll be late tonight, honey. The casserole is in the fridge. Just have to heat it. You can handle it."

"Rita Hoffman's office. I'm away from my desk. Leave a message."

"Hi, dear. It's me. Casserole was great, really it was. Those correspondence cooking lessons really paid off. [Laughs.] Oh yeah, too bad you couldn't make it to the game. Rog Junior hit a two-run homer. You shoulda . . . "

* * *

"Rita objected to yesterday's tape. This one is simple: Start talking!"

"Hi, hon, it's me. Love your new tape. Really, Roger. Could you pick up Jenny at daycare? I'll be late again tonight. God, I hope you're home before after-school gets out. I'm counting on you, Roger. You did leave a message on my office machine saying you'd be home early. I'm counting on you. Gotta run, hon. They're waiting for me. Big molto meeting. Love ya."

"Rita objected to yesterday's tape. This one is simple: Start talking!"

"Hello, Mr. Hoffman. I'm going to leave a message on your machine. It's five thirty, Mr. Hoffman. We close at five o'clock. I thought we came to an understanding about this once before. This is the last time. I'll wait here with Jenny until six. See you at six, Mr. Hoffman."

"Rita objected to yesterday's tape. This one is simple: Start talking!"

"Hon, Mrs. Mitchell called. She left a message on my machine. I'm sure she left one at home, too--I mean on your own machine. You were supposed to pick up Jenny, remember?"

"Rita objected to yesterday's tape. This one is simple: Start talking!"

"Daddy, where are you? It's six thirty."

* * *

"Rita Hoffman's office. I'm away from my desk. Leave a message."

"Rita, I just picked up the messages off the machine. I did not, repeat, did not agree to pick Jenny up. That is your interpretation. An expansion, really an expansion of our exchange of messages. I will not be blamed by you, by Jenny, by that Mrs. Mitchell. Do you hear me, Rita? Let me . . . "

"Rita Hoffman's office. I'm away from my desk. Leave a message."

"Mommy, why don't you ever pick up the phone? It's six thirty. I got your message at school that Daddy's picking me up, but he isn't here. I'll be at the Mitchell's. Can one of you please pick me up?"

"Rita Hoffman's office. I'm away from my desk. Leave a message."

"Hon, it's me. Roger. It's seven fifteen. Look, something came up. I have to be on the coast for that merger. Plane outta here at nine o'clock. I don'thave time to stop at Mitchell's. You take care of it, O.K., hon? See you Tuesday. Counting on you; see you Tuesday."

* * *

"Rita objected to yesterday's tape. This one is simple: Start talking!"

"Folks, this is Mrs. Mitchell calling. Jenny is at Protective Services. That's Protective Services. You'll find it in the phone book under California, State of. You still owe me a check for October. This is Mrs. Mitchell. 'Bye now."

"Rita objected to yesterday's tape. This one is simple. Start talking!"

"Roger, how dare you!"

"Rita objected to yesterday's tape. This one is simple: Start talking!"

"Daddy, you were supposed to pick me up. I don't know where I am, Daddy." [Pause.]

"Mr. Hoffman, this is Sergeant Beard. Call me at 642-8001."

"Rita objected to yesterday's tape. This one is simple: Start talking!"

"Damn, I hate that tape. I landed, honey. Hope this doesn't wake you. Jenny all right? Oh yeah, I ordered the car phone. Love ya!"

* * *

"Rita Hoffman's office. I'm away from my desk. Leave a message."

"Mommy, where are you?"

* * *

"Rita objected to yesterday's tape. This one is simple: Start talking!"

"Mommy, Daddy, Mommy, Daddy, where are you?"

--David Alan Goldstein