Yesterday I was jogging on the peninsula, which is not unusual for me. If you aren’t familiar with Erie, Pennsylvania the Presque Isle peninsula is beautiful. The running trail starts out along the bay and goes around the peninsula onto the lake Erie side. I’m not quite up to jogging the entire trail. (It’s a little over 13 miles…hahahaha…Nope.) At around 2.3 miles the ranger’s station is nestled into the trees near a pond. The station, a squat brown building that the trail loops around, also houses public restrooms. On the front of the building is one of the last remaining pay phones known to man. It should be roped off as an antique. Viewing it is a window into a mysterious past where people actually carried around pocket change.
On this day, while I’m dragging my body around the peninsula with promises of a doughnut if I can just make myself keep going another mile, I hear an odd ringing. An old fashioned ringing.
The pay phone was ringing.
It was like a scene out of The Matrix or a bad horror movie.
I stopped and spun a circle, the feeling of being watched overtaking me. (I may have an overactive imagination. I prefer that to “paranoia”.)
I almost didn’t stop, but my curiosity got the better of me. I approached the phone slowly, sweating, exhausted from my run, the ringing surreal. I stretched out my hand half expecting to have someone jump out and laugh.
Holding my breath I picked up the receiver. Who will be there? Will someone say, “Hello, Brightly.”
I pick up. No voice greets me. “Hello?” I whisper, breathless, heart pounding.
My pulse skyrockets. Then, “Hello. This is the $$$$$$ Collections Agency. I’m looking for Enrico *last name totally slaughtered*.”
I laugh fairly obnoxiously. “This is a payphone in the middle of Presque Isle State Park.”
“Are you sure?”
“We’ll try again later.” (Clearly not believing me.) The person hangs up.
Points for persistence, I have to say that.
I continued on with my run, but I almost wish I hadn’t answered the phone so I could have pretended that I was in the middle of an espionage movie, starring (Insert Your Favorite Action Star HERE.)
I hope you all have a little weird in your day today, just a little something to keep things interesting.
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Life hasn’t been good to Jeb Birchman. When he attempted to escape his abusive, zealot father, he found himself on the streets, making a living the only way he knew how, the victim of more violent men—one of whom orchestrates a series of vicious attacks that leave Jeb deaf. Now that he’s aged beyond his latest client’s interest, Jeb knows he needs to escape his risky lifestyle before it’s too late. Seeing one last chance for himself, he earns a GED and enrolls in college.
Freddy Williams enjoys a life that couldn’t be more different from what Jeb has survived. He loves sports, being a personal trainer, and hanging out with friends. The son of deaf parents, Freddy is an outspoken advocate of the Deaf community and works as an interpreter at his college. When he meets Jeb at the bookstore, he’s struck by how attractive he is, and as they get to know each other, he finds Jeb’s good heart just as appealing. By the time he learns of Jeb’s past, it’s only a few steps behind them, and Freddy must make a choice between school and his familiar routine and protecting the man he’s falling in love with.