7 Missed Calls

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
The last thoughts and goodbyes of a dying young man

Submitted: December 02, 2014

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Submitted: December 02, 2014

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~~7 Missed Calls...
 “Oh come on Rich, even you couldn’t have really believed they would have gone all the way.” I said to my boss as we locked up for the night. Davis my boss just won a bet against me for 20 bucks over the Dolphin’s Super Bowl win.  “Let’s be honest here t hey suck.”
“Do you ever stop complaining?” he replied with a yawn.
“Have you met me?”
“True.” He then did something that surprised me he tossed me the key to the restaurant. “You know the security code don’t you? How ‘bout  you lock up and I’ll take $5 off your debt.”
“You aren’t afraid I’ll rob the place?”
“Nah,  I know you don’t have the stomach to steal from me. Just check the restrooms and the kitchen then lock up.”
“Will do. Have a good night, you jerk.”
“Night, you little punk.”
As I worked I started to think of my life. I’ve worked here for nearly 5 years now, I played high school football for four of them, and now I'm off to college. I’ve been through so much in my years here. So many memories and so much bull crap. It really has been fun.
I finished my end of the night work and head out. I set the alarm and locked the back door. Normally the other employees and I would sit around and have a bull session  outside. Even though I was alone , I still instinctively sat down on the curb and decompressed. I took a few sips of my soda and just breathed in the cool night air. For some reason this always calmed me down.
After a few minutes I was surprised because I heard footsteps. “Who’s walking around at 2 in the morning?” I sighed “Probably some drunken idiot.”  I got up to walk home when I heard the footsteps get closer and the man shouted.
“Hey kid stop.”
Before  I could fully turn around I felt a cold metal object stuck in my side. “It was a bad time for you to be walking around kid. Now give me all your money.”
“Whoa, dude chill out I only have like, 5 bucks on me.”
“That’s crap , I know you work here I saw you lock up so I know you have more. I’ll say it one more time. Give  me your money!”
“Ok here, and here’s my iPod.” 
“That’s it?”
“I have nothing else other than a flip phone that barely works.”
“Not enough kid.”I heard him fire his weapon and felt a terrible pain in my back, it was the  worst pain I had ever felt, it felt like someone stabbed me in the back with a white hot iron rod. I grabbed my wound and felt my pouring  out. Thankfully,  I’d learned enough from crime dramas to know that applying pressure to the area would h elp slow the bleeding. I fell to the ground I saw my cowardice attacker run away. While clutching to my side I crawled up against the wall of my restaurant. I couldn’t stand, the pain was too intense.
I couldn’t even think properly. My only thought was call an ambulance. I took out my phone and dialed 911. But no answer, I tried again nobody answered. I tried two more times and still nothing. “Oh come on really? .... Is my luck really this bad?”  my only other idea was call my boss. He must still be awake I have nothing to worry about he’ll pick me up and everything will be fine.
I dialed the number and 30 excruciating seconds later I got the leave a message. “Damnit, Richard pick up! Please pick up.”
Nothing. I franticly tried again and the same thing happened.
I knew it was pointless; h e wasn’t going to answer. He was probably already asleep. I had this sudden feeling of hopelessness over take me and I could only think to say goodbye.
“Rich look, I-I just wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done  for me.  For the job and for all the favors. I always took your generosity for granted and I'm sorry. I won’t be able to go to work tomorrow so, you’re gonna want to call in another bar back when you wake up.” I sucked in air when the pain took a sudden increase. I resumed speaking a minute later when it subsided. “Good night boss. It’s been real.”
I hung up. I feared I’d  never be able to argue with him again or make a bet with him based on zero  knowledge of what I was betting on. “I gotta try again.” I said this as I retried 911 as nobody answered me again. “Why? Why is this always my luck I can’t win a bet I can’t beat my father at poker… Wait, of course my dad! He can get me.”  I felt myself become more cheery as I quickly dialed my father’s number. No answer straight to the machine. I didn’t let that get me down it always does and he always picks up after a minute. “Hey Dad wake up! Dad! Come on you old goat, this  is serious.” Nothing. “ This isn’t funny anymore Dad, pick up.” My excitement returned to dread when I realized even if he woke up he couldn’t get me to a hospital. We didn’t own a car he can  barely even walk. What could he do? This realization destroyed me. Fighting back tears I told my father my goodbyes as I did b efore with my boss.
“Dad... I know we never saw eye to eye, I mean seriously we are practically three generations apart, us  agreeing on anything would be a miracle. Anyway  I wanted to say I'm sorry for always doubting you and for never showing you the proper respect. You’re my elder and I should have known this already. I wish I had wanted to play catch with you more, I wish I had more time.” I had to hold back tears. “I'm sorry everything fell apart for you, I never really appreciated how much you struggled for me. I truly am sorry, dad, I never really said it but I love you.”
‘Click.’
I just sat there in silence. Gripping the bullet wound. Thinking about my life and my failures. I was reminded of my one triumph. Even though I considered it a half victory it was still a victory. I played on a fantastic football team with the best athletes in the state. I may not have played much, b ut I was still on the team. As I remembered all this and feared this was my end I decided to call my Coach and give him my thanks.
This time the phone didn’t even ring it went straight to voicemail. “Hey Coach it’s me the Rudy of the south. I'm not gonna bug you with any more annoying requests or anything, I  just wanted to thank you for never letting me quit over the years. You pushed me to compete with those philistines  on the field. You and I both knew I had no business being there, b ut you never gave up on me. You made sure I stayed on the team even though  I had no talent. You taught me what it means to be a leader and a teammate. You know, I never said it before but you were always kind of like a father  to me whether or not that was your intention. I will always be grateful for you looking over me. I couldn’t have done half of the things I did in high school if it wasn’t for your guidance, a nd for that Coach, I  thank you. It was a sincere pleasure playing for you. I hope you get this message and I ask you to tell the other coaches thanks too. Goodbye sir, I’ll miss you all.”
I winced as I closed the phone again. “I have to hold on.” I told myself. “Maybe somebody will walk by and help me. I just have to stay conscious. ” I'm not sure why,  but for some reason I flashed back to when I was just starting football. I was a short kind of chubby freshmen who along with never playing a sport before, had  no idea how to play football. Yet there I was with the prime examples of what training and determination can do.

On my second week, w e were running laps around the track. I was pushed to my breaking point.  I collapsed to my knees and nearly passed out but a man ran over to my side and helped me stand up. The man put his arm around me and helped me run. The kid was the star lineman Alex who was a powerhouse leading the offense as a freshman he was also my complete opposite. I couldn’t believe he would waste his time helping some benchwarmer like me,  but he did. He helped me finish my last lap and set me down behind the bleachers to cool off. He looked at me and said,  “You alright?”
“Yeah  I'm fine I just need a minute.”
“You suck at this.”
“Thanks for the news flash.”
“No problem,  but you need help.”
“Yeah , mental help.”
“No, you just need a mentor. That is why I'm here from now on,  I'm gonna train you. I'm gonna turn you into a lean mean football machine like me and  I don’t want to hear any objections.” And just like that I had a loyal friend and teacher who for the next two years tried to transform  me into a great player. Of course, it didn’t work but he was the first man to really try . I owe him so much, and I needed to tell him.
 I took my phone out again and dialed another number,  knowing he wouldn’t pick up. I just wanted  to clear the air with my brother in pads.
“Ya, ya the caller you have dialed blah, blah, blah.” At least almost certain death didn’t stop my near legendary sense of humor. “Hey Alex it’s been a while since we last spoke and, all  but I can’t let my petty anger hold me back anymore. I understand you not telling me you were leaving the school and I was never really mad, I  just didn’t want to admit I was gonna miss you. Now I just needed to call you and tell you how much I appreciated your friendship and teachings. I know I wasn’t the best student but,  I did learn a lot from you and it meant everything to me that you took the time to try and help me. This all probably sounds pretty dumb and girly to you, b ut I needed to let you know you were my closest friend. Like you always said, I'm too serious and sappy, but  I do love you like a brother and I wish I could have repaid your kindness. Goodbye brother, it  was an honor and a pleasure.”
I had a lot of brothers but there were two that stuck out above the rest: Alex  and Timothy. Timothy was a year older and was probably looking out for me upon Alex’s request. We played football together and even worked together for a while. He was blunt and rash,  but a kind and friendly man who always put his friends first. He once saved me from getting jumped by two large guys. Unfortunately  he couldn’t save me again because he was off at college. I could still send my regards to him.
“Hey Timmy brother, it’s been too long since we last spoke, but I need to get something off my chest. You were a truly loyal friend. You endured a serious beating to save me. You almost lost an eye and broke your arm for me, the  loser on the sideline. You always gave me the best advice that like an idiot I never listened to. I always did the opposite especially,  with women. Unfortunately I just realized that most of my closest friends were people I took for granted. I regret never listening to you and being so weak that I caused you such pain. Please I beg you for your forgiveness…. Oh right you’re not there to respond… I'm sorry brother I feel so much shame from my sins and taking advantage of your loyalty but I need you to know I did appreciate you I did listen to you even if I didn’t act the way you taught me. You were wiser than you seemed. I’ll miss you Timothy I pray you will forgive me. Farewell comrade.”
Again I sat in silence alone in this dirty parking lot right next to the dumpster and the other trash. Praying for a miracle I knew wouldn’t come. I felt my phone vibrate and I thought for a moment that I was getting a response, but  it was only my phone taunting me by warning of a dying battery. “Ya because that’s my biggest issue right now.” I thought, “Is  there anyone else I should say my goodbyes too?” Lilly. I had to tell her goodbye. Before I could call I felt a terrible feeling in my throat. The feeling started to rise until I had to spit up about an entire mouth full of blood. “I'm getting close to the end.” I said to myself and more blood came up. I cleared my voice as best as I could and called my dear friend.
“Hello Lilly, I know it’s three in the morning but you need to hear what I have to say. You always kept me in reality. You kept me from going off on stupid ideas or doing the most ridiculous stunts. I understand now how important you were to me. If it weren’t for you, I ’d probably have ended being eaten by a whale or thrown in jail for saying something insane on T.V., or getting shot .” The irony is not lost on me . “You kept me in check, something  I always resented you for but I see now I needed somebody to smack some sense into me every now and again. Yours was the thankless friend everybody needs and never understands until it’s too late. Well,  I won’t wrong you anymore thank  you Lilly  for everything. I have no idea how you put up with me for so long but I'm glad you did. I love you. I should  have said this every day to you please forgive me. I wish you the best. Sleep tight, don’t let the fleas bite.”
 I just barely managed to laugh on  the phone before I hung up. It was extremely difficult now to breathe and my phone’s  battery was almost dead. “I probably only have just enough for one more call. I know who I need to speak to.” I searched my contacts for her number fearing my cell would die before I could call. There it was, Bianca.  the woman who brought me to the light and saved me from myself. I called her and cleared my throat  the pain had become less intense for my body felt cold and numb. “I have to just hold on just a little more.”
Voicemail as expected. I took a deep breath and spoke as clearly as I could. “Bianca hi, it’s me. Obviously it is I mean you have caller ID.” A klutz to the very end, I  said in my head. “Anyway I have to express my deepest gratitude to you. You who brought me to Go d and kept me from the  path of self-destruction I was on before I met you. I need you to know how indebted I am to you for  being in my life. I don’t know how to put it… y ou were there whenever I needed you and never asked for anything in return; never did an unkind word leave your lips. What I'm trying to say is thank you and I get that I shouldn’t ask for anymore from you but I have one more request for you: pray  for me. That an d please always know that even though I never said it I truly honestly lo--”
My phone vibrated once more as it shut off never to be turned on again… It died just as I was going to finally tell her my feelings. My last chance to let her know how important she really was to me and it was gone. I felt a lump start to swell in my throat but this time I knew it wasn’t blood “What? Is this a joke? No this can’t be.” I couldn’t even feel anger. I could only feel the tears flow down my face and fall into the pool of blood now surrounding my body. I let all my tears run down, no  longer needing to hold them back. I laid down; I removed my hand from the wound and looked towards the stars. “One final cruel joke at my expense.” I finally managed to speak as I felt my life seep away… “Well that is what I was best known for, for being unlucky.” The world grew darker and I embraced my demise with what little dignity I had. 

 


© Copyright 2020 Dante Alighieri. All rights reserved.

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