“Leave Migel alone!”
The voice on the other end of the phone is female, a rich contralto, melodiously flavored with a Spanish accent.
“Leave Migel alone!”
“Uh… Excuse me? Who is this?”
“I am Migel’s girlfriend!”
I try to process this. The connection isn’t great – I suspect it’s coming in via a cell phone – but even so the voice is rich and theatrical, so much so that I suspect this call can’t be for real.
Revelation hits me. I was expecting a call from Jim right about this time. I bet this is Mary, one of Jim’s co-workers. (Mary was the lady with whom I was shooting bows and arrows, as I detailed in my wandering of September 29, 2010, “Chiles and Sherds and Other Stuff, Too”).
I can almost envision the scene. Mary is working closely with Jim right now. He says something like, “Hang on. I promised Jane I’d call her.” He punches in our number. Mary grins wickedly and takes the phone. “Let me talk to her.”
So now I smile. Two can play this game.
“I have no idea who Migel is. In fact, I’m waiting for a phone call from my husband.”
The voice falters only slightly, “Leave Migel alone!”
“I have no idea who Migel is. Who are you?”
The call goes dead. When Jim calls me, on schedule, two minutes later, he has no idea who that could have been. We resolve that it was a genuine wrong number.
But the incident stays with me. I find myself thinking what I’d say if the voice calls again. I dub her “Margarita” – both because the name is exotic, and because I wonder if a bit of alcoholic over-indulgence triggered the call.
“Listen, Margarita,” I think about saying. “If you can’t trust Migel to the extent that you phone perfect strangers to warn them off him, then is he worth it?”
“But it is not him I do not trust,” that remarkable voice responds. “It is the other women. You say you do not know Migel, so I will tell you. He is, how do you say it? Magnificio! Magnificent. Other men are dogs. He is a lion!”
“Still, Margarita. Consider. Male lions are really not the best husbands. They’re lazy and good for pretty much one thing. They leave all the hunting to the women, just lie around, looking, well, magnificio. Are you sure this is what you want in your life?”
“I live and breathe for Migel.”
“Pity you can’t trust him to live and breathe for you.”
Imaginary phone line goes dead.
I’m left wondering. Who was she? Where did she get that voice? I imagine an actress or singer. It would be a pity if that voice spent its life stocking groceries or taking orders for burritos to go.
Is there really another woman? Is Margarita right to distrust Migel? Where did she get the number she was dialing when she got me? Had she stolen Migel’s cell phone, perhaps? Was she going through his auto-dialer calling every number not clearly identified?
Ooh… That could cause some problems. What if she called Migel’s boss? Some important business contact? His great-aunt?
No… My name wouldn’t have been in his auto-dialer. Did she find the number written sloppily on a scrap of paper in his pocket and come to the wrong conclusion? For a while, a local garage had a number close to my own. What if Migel had taken his car in there?
What sort of person is Margarita that she would call a stranger rather than confront Migel? What sort of person is he? Does she fear him as well as love him?
One of the most commonly asked questions writers hear is “Where do you get your ideas?”
I offer you this with a grin…