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Tiaras and Trucks

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Call

I have to admit that I was without inspiration for today’s Red Writing Hood prompt, but I decided to set my timer and get to work, since the whole point is to flex my writing muscles a little. The prompt in question? "In the middle of the night, you get an urgent call from a friend you haven’t talked to in years. Something terrible has happened. What is it and why is he/she calling you?"

There are voices you expect to hear on the other end of the phone when it rings in the middle of the night, but your college roommate isn’t one of them, at least not when you haven’t seen aforementioned roommate since a disastrous homecoming tailgate over ten years ago.

“Jay? Pedro’s missing,” the familiarity of his voice came flooding back to me. I met him at freshman orientation, and we hit it off immediately, which basically meant we both drank a ton and hit on girls way out of our leagues.

“Dude. It’s three in the morning!” I protested, more convinced than ever I was still dreaming. Until this moment, I hadn’t said “dude” in years. It had been an inescapable moniker during the four years we lived together, in our fraternity house and filthy rental houses that charged exorbitant rents and laughingly kept our security deposits each year.

“What? Nah, not here. Did you hear me? Pedro is gone,” his voice went up almost an octave as he repeated his words. Of course. It was earlier on the West coast, where I was fairly certain he was still living. We still had enough mutual acquaintances that I would have heard about him falling out of favor with his girlfriend, well, his woman friend.

Groggily, I tried to focus. On a voice I hadn’t heard in a decade. On what he was saying. On why he could possibly be calling me about it.

Nothing. I had nothing.

“Uh, Pedro?” I finally asked, after what felt like minutes of listening to his panicked breathing on the other end of the line. Insensitive? Maybe, but the pieces just weren’t falling into place. A son? That didn’t seem to fit, considering the Mayflower blood he claimed and the blue blooded lineage of his woman friend, well, his sugar mama, as I had pointedly mocked him over the last beer we ever slammed together.

“Yeah, Pedro,” he answered, obviously misunderstanding my question. “Gone. He’s been in our basement for at least six years,” his voice was back to its normal tone, but I could hear panic lurking beneath the surface.

What?

“Man, I knew I should’ve gotten rid of him a long time ago. I mean, those pictures…” his voice trailed off, angry and upset.

Pictures?

“She’s gonna kick me out, man. We met at the same hotel. She’s gonna know when those pictures were taken!”

And I knew. Suddenly, I knew everything.

He had met the sugar mama when we were in Mexico, spring break, our senior year. She was dripping with diamonds bigger than most of the bikinis down there; her radar clicked on him, and he charmed his way out of paying another dime during our trip.

No one thought it would last longer than the week, including him, which is probably why he hadn’t stopped sleeping his way through the younger, more attractive bodies sprawled on the beach, one of whom had a camera and extremely lowered inhibitions.

Ten years since we’d talked, and he was calling to tell me an old piñata was missing? A piñata we bought on the street as a joke to “smuggle” his dirty pictures home? A piñata he thought was going to end an eleven-year relationship?

I hung up the phone.

This is (hopefully) obviously fiction. However, the character of Pedro was inspired by TJ, who lives in our basement and who was once kidnapped, but who was never used to smuggle anything, anywhere. Well, to my knowledge. Ryan acquired him before we were dating.


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