Bzzt. Bzzzt. Bzzzzt. The phone’s ominous vibration knocks me off balance. I lurch toward the wall scratching our fresh paint job with the hammer’s claw as my left foot slips off the stepladder. Shit.
I regain my balance. Sort of.
Missed call. Dad. Double shit.
Why is he calling today? Oh triple shit. It’s Tuesday. It’s your day to talk. How can it be Tuesday already?
Jesus. Now what are you going to do? You know how you left things with Dr. V. But what if you can’t do it? You didn’t think out the logistics, did you? Last ring…
My index finger, detached, taps the green call button.
“Jenny. Where were you?”
“Oh. Sorry. I was just in the ummm…bathroom. Couldn’t get to the phone in time.” At least that explains why you’re out of breath.
“Oh. Well, I heard on the news that you guys are getting some really bad storms there.”
“No.” Oh fuck. Yes there. Maybe they are? How would you know because you’re not there, are you? You’re here. But he doesn’t know that. Nice way to blow your cover. Just buy yourself a little more time…
I nervously laugh off my error. “Haha. Oh yeah, we’re getting tons of rain, but it’s no big deal, Dad.”
“You okay, Jenny?”
“Who me? Yes I’m fine…” Christ. Why would you say ‘fine’ when you know that will tip him off more than anything?
“…I mean I’m great. How are you?”
“Huh. You sure you’re ok? You know you can always tell Daddy anything. I can always tell when something is wrong—just like I could with your Mother.”
“Thanks, Dad. No it’s good. I swear.”
“Oh okay. Well did I tell you that I think my neighbor is selling drugs?”
“Yeah, I mean who has thirty cars come and go all day long. You know your Father, I watch out for everything like a hawk.”
You’re not going to get away with this. He’ll send a police squad. He’ll find you.
“Uh-huh. That’s good, Dad. Listen, I have to go. I’m sorry to cut our call a little short. I think I ate something bad…” Don’t just leave it like that. He’ll worry. Fake worry.
“Huh. See I knew something was up. Hey you want Daddy to come there? I haven’t seen you in going on two months now!”
“Oh…ummm…uhhh…no, Dad. It’s a bad week at work. But I’m going to call you tomorrow. I promise. First thing. I’ll be better by then.”
“Well, okay. But I hope I’m going to get to see you soon. Everyone here always asks me ‘How’s Jenny doing?’ Nothing about your poor old man. Nothing about my heart. Just Jenny. They all want know how you are…”
“Jeez…that’s really great, Dad. Huh? Strange, too. Well, talk soon. Love you. Bye. Love you.”
I see the plan disintegrating like a bad batch of plaster. You better figure out what you’re going to do? What if he just shows up there and finds you gone? How can you keep this a secret? Mom already knows, anyways.