Calling from the Ice Age
By degrees sometimes, one loses heat for other people. Whole tribes move on leaving no trail at all, at first anyway. Then traces appear, sounds like “remember,” images like “me.” Music rises out of dusty corduroy, the sofa by the window. The very air conjures jazz memories of how it felt once to be on the inside with them.
Later the snow comes. The winter blasts its wintry mix and the mailbox sinks at the end of the driveway. You lunge for it anyway, hungry for a word, any word, even complaints in the form of postcards from Florida, with personal appeals to the sounds of yesteryear: “Hey, cousin, what is with your phone? If I called Pennsylvania 6-5000 once, I called it 4999 times. Ha! You need some money?”
It’s your own fault you let the telephone go silent.
Purely by accident, you learn that certain people have been known to activate a pay phone with a single noise: that’s right, a squeak, a honk, a twitter, a tweet. One perfectly pitched sound from the inner walls of their throat and they can call anywhere, anytime. It’s a gift.
If you had such a gift, you believe, you would dial up your personal history and return to the moment when you said or did the thing that began to smother the flame inside you. You’d chase those wintry blues all the way down the coast and drown them in the lambent waters of Key West.
Convinced that you would recognize that sound if you ever heard it, you keep on plunging through the snow, onto the public library and the yellow pages, all the time wondering what might be the going rate for private voice lessons these days.
About the Writer:
Wayne Cresser lives on an island in Narragansett Bay with his wife and dog. His work has appeared in seven print anthologies, most recently Spank the Carp 2018, online at Gravel, Shark Reef Literary Magazine, Jerry Jazz Musician, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters and Story, and in such print journals as The Ocean State Review and SLAB. Most recently he has been a Finalist, Flash Fiction Category, at The Newport Review (2012), and a Finalist, Fiction at Jerry Jazz Musician (2017).