Monday, February 21, 2011

"Pretty Little Things"

Saturday morning, Kat and I were in our office, doing our usual Saturday morning stuff (which in this house consists of coffee and clattering keyboards), when we were distracted by a low, persistent buzzing. At first we couldn't place it (we live in an old house, so strange noises are commonplace), but eventually, we pegged it: it was my cell phone. And it was going nuts.

(An aside: can strange noises be commonplace? It seems as if they definitionally cannot. And yet the regularity of their occurrence has no bearing on the oddity of the sounds themselves. But I digress.)

I should state for the purposes of this post that a) I am a bit of a technological curmudgeon, and b) I'm also a tad misanthropic, which is to say I don't often use my cell phone, and when I do, it's usually to talk to the woman that, on the Saturday in question, was sitting right next to me. So when I opened the phone to find I'd missed several phone calls (no messages) and received a text ("PLEASE CALL") -- all from the same number -- I was puzzled to say the least. The calls all came in between midnight and three AM on Friday, which somehow only added to the intrigue.

I looked up the number online, expecting nothing more than to find a listing of "Cell Phone" and maybe a city of origin. Turns out, the calls weren't from a cell phone. They were from a landline in Manhattan registered to a company called Perfect Things. Curiouser and curiouser. (Did you know you can text from some landlines? Until Saturday, I didn't.)

You can see where this is going, right? Mystery writer receives a series of calls and a cryptic text from what sounds like a house of ill repute? Yeah, I called them. Turns out, Perfect Things is a self-serve Laundromat on Broadway. It further turns out that they're closed at the time the calls came in. When I asked who might have made the calls, the woman I was speaking to told me in broken English, "Don't know. Maybe the boss."

The question is, who the hell's the boss? Springsteen? Danza? Gotti? Inquiring minds want to know!

The upshot of all this is, my telephonic adventures drew to a close maybe ten AM Saturday. By ten AM Monday, I put the finishing touches on a 2,700-word short story called "Pretty Little Things". The beginning will be familiar to anyone who's read this post. The end, I'm willing to bet, you'll never see coming. And I'll say this: from idea to final draft, I've never written anything so quickly in my life.

So where will "Pretty Little Things" end up? Dunno. An editor friend's expressed some interest. For now, that's all I can say. More details as I have them.