The phone rang. It was still early morning dark. She rolled over and the phone rang again and finally registered as something real, not the panicky climax to a bad dream. Her chest clutched, sure the nursing home was calling about the imminent demise of her father. But then she remembered that he had died six months ago.
So she rolled out of bed and lunged for the phone on her dresser. On the other end of the line a voice with an accent asked for her father.
“May I speak with Mr. Putnam?”
“He’s dead,” she said, surprised at how easily it came out. Her breathing slowed.
The voice went on, calmly. “May I speak with Mrs. Putnam?”
“No. She’s had strokes, can’t talk, and is in a nursing home.”
The soothing voice went on. “When will she be home?”
Her chest tightened again, this time with irritation. “Never. And she can’t talk anyway.”
“When would be a good time to call them?”
She gasped, then said, “When they reincarnate, and I don’t know when that will be.”
She slammed the phone down and stumbled back to bed. Quite cheerful now that for once in her life she’d had the right thing to say at the right time, she went right back into a deep, peaceful sleep.