This month’s exercise was inspired by real life events. Apparently, a company in the UK have been employing scare tactics by ringing people in the middle of the night to tell them they need to buy insurance against burglars. Our task, then, was simple: “The phone rings at 2am. Create a scene of up to 800 words.” Here’s my effort… I’m not as happy with this one as I was with my first-up effort – mostly because I wrote this on the due date and based it on an actual conversation because the prompt didn’t fit any of my current projects.
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‘The phone is ringing. The phone is ringing? THE PHONE IS RINGING.’
The thoughts took a while to make sense in Brad’s head. In these days of instant messaging and social media the usual noises that came from his phone were alert tones and, at first, Brad didn’t even recognise his ringtone. Now that he was a bit more awake and a bit more aware he rolled towards his alarm clock expecting it to be not long after he had gone to bed. He was wrong. The square numbers screamed 2:00 and, within seconds, Brad was bolt upright with phone in hand.
“G’day, mate. Bad time?”
There was no urgency in his best friend’s voice. Whatever was happening in Danny’s life that made a phone call at this time of night seem like a logical course of action, he clearly wasn’t in danger.
“It’s about Jess.”
“Ok,” Brad shuffled in to a more comfortable position. Danny and Jess had been together for around five years. They’d bought a house together. Brad had a fair idea what Danny was about to say.
“We broke up.”
“What?” This wasn’t the – we’re getting married – announcement Brad was expecting.
“Things weren’t working out. They hadn’t been working out for a while.”
Wherever the conversation went from there, Brad wouldn’t know. Danny was more than his best friend. He was a role model; the brother he never had. Brad thought the relationship between Danny and Jess was one for the ages, like something out of a book or movie. The Notebook had nothing on them. So all the while Danny went through the details of his relationship breakdown, all Brad could think was, ‘if he couldn’t do it, what hope do the rest of us have?’ His mind drifted to all of the arguments he had with Angela recently, to all the times he’d gone for a walk to cool off before he said or did anything stupid. His relationship was already cracked, Danny’s had shattered completely and with no warning.
“I’m sorry, mate. I feel terrible for dumping this on you.”
“What are friends for?”
“Yeah, but…” Danny trailed off. Brad knew that his friend had said all he was going to. It was one thing to talk about his relationship with Jess, but Danny was never going to vocalise his feelings for Brad. Both men knew this.
“Anytime, mate. Anytime.”
“Cheers. Anyway, I should probably let you get some sleep.”
“No worries. Speak soon, yeah?”
“Yeah. See ya, mate.”
Despite the assurance they’d speak soon, Brad knew they wouldn’t really talk. Sure, they’d chat. They’d chat about inconsequential things, like sport, but they wouldn’t talk. He put his phone back on the bedside cabinet and glanced at the clock as it blinked from 3:04 to 3:05. He blinked too. He slid back down under his covers and hoped that sleep would find him soon.