Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Part Four: She Answers The Phone

"Maybe I'll just let it go to voicemail, and then hand it over to the driver," Katie said. She wasn't sure who might be on the other end of this phone.

"Don't you want to know who it is?" Melissa's voice was incredulous.

Katie wasn't sure. The driver looked like a nice guy; she was sure he'd get the phone back to it's owner.

"Oh, give it to me," Melissa reached out a hand towards Katie, who pulled it out of her friend's reach and answered it.


"Hello?" The voice on the other end was faint. Katie pushed her hand over her other ear so that she could hear better.

"Hello?" the voice, (male, with an accent of some sort -- Irish? Scottish? Something vaguely-but-not-really British, anyway....), repeated. "I think you have my phone."

"Hi!" The cab was slowing down. Katie watched while Melissa reached into her wallet and paid the driver. "I found it in a cab!"

Katie pushed her way out of the cab, plunging her cotton flats into a cold, slushy puddle. It was all she could do not to swear into the phone.

"And where are you now?" asked the voice. Katie looked up and around herself. She and Melissa were standing in a back alley or something, surrounded by old warehouses and not a lot else. There weren't any street signs that Katie could see.

"Uh..." she looked at Melissa and mouthed, "Where are we?" Melissa pulled the flier out of her pocket and handed it to Katie, all the while pointing at the building behind them, with a handmade sign on it that read, Sampleicious! "That's it! I'm going in!" Melissa said in a loud whisper, turned and rushed towards the sample sale.

Katie stared at the flier, found the address, and told the voice where she was, all the while picking her way across the melty, slushy puddles towards the Sampleicious sign. Melissa of course had leaped across this slush like a gazelle, or something equally limber and graceful, but Katie, with her sodden shoes and the phone clutched to her hand, manoeuvred as best as she could.

"Oh," said the voice. "That's way across town. Last thing I knew that phone was at North York station." He sounded oddly delighted by this news, and Katie wondered what he meant by "last thing I knew." What kind of weirdo was this?

Katie pulled open the door and peered into the warehouse -- rows upon rows of clothing on racks, and miles of women pulling garments out of boxes and off hangers. The noise was defeaning. Katie shut the door again and stood outside the building so that she could hear.

"Yeah, your phone had quite the adventure today," said Katie.

"Oh, yes, it did," said the man. "What's your name?"

"Katie," said Katie, cautiously. "What's yours?"

"Owen," he said. "But it's spelt E-O-I-N. It's Irish. Eoin."

"That explains the accent," said Katie.

"Yep," said Eoin. "Listen, Katie, can you do something for me?"

"What?" Katie asked warily. She wondered if this guy was getting pervy. She'd once done participated in a phone survey about deoderants and didn't realize until she was half-way through the questions that the person on the other end was getting off on her talking about her armpits.

"Can you take your picture please, and then text it to me at this number? It's 416-" Katie hung up fast. It was pervy. She shoved the phone in her pocket and pulled open the warehouse door so she could join Melissa. The phone rang again.

"Listen, you -- " she answered the phone with the angry words already out of her mouth.

"Katie, no, it's not like that," said Eoin. "I should have explained. It's an art project." He said it all in a rush.

"A what?" Katie liked art projects. She decided to listen for a minute.

"I have been sending my phone around the city for a few days. Every few hours I call it, and get the person who answers it to tell me where they are, and then I chart it on a website, with that person's photo, and then I get that person to just put the phone somewhere for the next person to find. If you're not comfortble, you can just put the phone down now and I'll cut you out of the project. No worries, no pressure."

"Hey, that's cool." It really was cool. Katie didn't think he was pervy anymore. Even though he was asking for her to email her picture to him, she supposed he wasn't asking for her to pose naked, or anything.

"I know! That phone has gone everywhere," Eoin said. "So you'll do it?"

"Of course!" Pulling the phone away from her ear, she held it out in front of herself and smiled broadly, snapping what she hoped was a cheerful, sweet photo. "Okay, now what do I do?"

"I need you to send me the photo over text to this number -- it's stored in the phone under Art Project -- and also, can you text me the address of where you are again so I can map you?"

Katie did as he asked, and her photo whoosed through the magic of modern technology and mere seconds later, she heard Eoin say, "Hey, Katie! That's an awesome smile."

"Thanks," she said, and wished she could see Eoin. What if he was terrifically cute? What if he were super handsome? What if he was scarred from a long, hard, Artist's Life and he was looking for love to save him? "So what happens now?"

"Now I take this photo and map it. Thanks for your help! You go put that phone someplace someone will find it and we'll see how long this goes for."

"When do I get to see it? Could I ... come to your studio?"

"Oh, Katie, that's not how I work," Eoin said. "You'll just have to wait for the launch like everyone else."

"Oh. Okay." It wasn't okay. Katie wanted in on this thing from the start. "When will that be?"

"When people stop answering the phone, I guess..." Eoin's voice trailed off. "Look, it's been great talking with you, but I have to go, okay?"


"Thanks again for your help."

"No problem," she said, and then heard Eoin disconnect the phone. She stood there for a while and felt deflated. She missed art. There was a time she used to make it all the time. She used to have projects, too. She'd even almost had a real show, once. She stared at the phone and willed it to ring.


Melissa comes outside to get Katie's advice on some possible dresses for the party


Katie is approached by a homeless lady looking for change


  1. Homeless lady looking for change!

  2. Homeless lady!

  3. only two choices? okay homeless lady (who wants fashion advice?) sorry .. okay homeless lady.

  4. I'm torn. Homeless lady, fashion advice...homeless lady, fashion advice...homeless...

  5. Oh yeah, and I just about peed myself over that deodorant survey bit! Too funny!

  6. The dress, the dress! I'm dying to know what she picks. And please say we haven't seen the last of Eoin.