Welcome to the Call Me MAYbe Flash Fiction Challenge!!
All stories begin with "The phone rang" and are no more than 1,000 words. Deadline to submit is May 31. For full contest rules and prize list, visit this link: http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2013/04/next-month-call-me-maybe-flash-fiction.html
#19: Who Ordered Pizza?
“The phone rang. That has got to be the dumbest ending line to a story – ever!” Mandie tossed the summer issue of Tin House onto the table. “Nobody’s adventure ends that way. Begins, maybe, but ends? No way.”
Tricia peered over the top edge of Dan Brown’s latest thriller. “How about that time Tom called, and you picked up the phone and said ‘Get lost’?”
“Ah, see, my story didn’t end when the phone rang. There was more to follow. There’s always more to follow.“
“Speaking of follow.” Tricia’s eyes were focused on some point behind Mandie. “Guess who just walked in the door.”
Mandie turned and found herself face to belly with Tom, who never did understand the concept of personal space. As she shifted her chair away from him, Mandie noticed a pair of long, shapely legs planted close to Tom’s. The body and face above those legs belonged to a Victoria’s Secret model. She couldn’t begin to imagine why a beautiful female would hang out with a loser like Tom.
“Hello, Mandie – Tricia.” Tricia nodded, Mandie stared, her mouth open, until Tricia kicked her under the table.
Blushing, Mandie cleared her throat. “Hi, Tom. Long time no see.”
“Who’s your new friend, Tom?” Tricia asked.
“Yvette.” He drew her closer to his side. “Yvette, meet Mandie and Tricia, old friends and classmates from Dartmouth.”
“Would you like to join us?” Tricia’s invitation received an evil-eye look from Mandie.
“Thanks, but we must decline. We’re meeting a wedding planner.” Tom searched the coffee shop. “I don’t see her yet, but there’s a free table over there that I’d better grab while it’s still available.”
Yvette still hadn’t said a word, her face frozen in a model’s unnatural smile.
Mandie kept sneaking glances of Tom and Yvette, catching them once with their hands entwined like snaking vines, another time with their noses touching. “Oh, yuck! Get a room!”
Tricia rolled her eyes. “Why are you so interested anyway? You always said he was a self-centered loser.”
“Yeah, but he was my loser,” she sighed. “At least he was until I intercepted that phone call from his brother.”
“Who told you about Tom’s latest tryst with an old high school flame.” Tricia closed her book and set it down. “And from where I sit, that makes him a total jerk not worth the time of day.”
“Or a phone call,” Mandie added, laughing. “Not even one that ends a story.”
Two evenings later, Mandie found a note tacked to her apartment door. The paper was bright pink and the ink purple. The message was simple: He’s mine now.
“How creepy,” Mandie said to her cat. “A note from Tom’s new friend.”
Mandie set her keys and the note on the sideboard near the door. “Just wait ‘til I share this tidbit with Tricia. She’ll love it!”
Before she could place the call, Mandie’s phone rang. She glanced at the screen. “Private Caller” was displayed.
“Tonight.” Then silence. The call ended.
Mandie’s heart skipped a beat. Now she really needed to talk with Tricia. She called her immediately. “C’mon, Trish, answer the phone.”
“Hi! This is the voice of action, as in “Trish isn’t here right now, just me” So please leave a message and I’ll be sure to get it to her.”
“Crap. This is yoga night.” Mandie turned back to her front door and flicked the deadbolt.
“Okay, Mandie, calm down. The phone call was probably just a wrong number.”
Before she could move, a loud pounding rattled her door. Holding her breath, she peered through the spy hole. An agitated Tricia stood in the hallway.
Mandie fumbled with the locks and pulled the door open. “Tricia! What are you doing here? Don’t you have yoga?”
Tricia was already halfway across the room. “Close the door.” She hurried to the window, closed the open blind, then peeked around the edge.
“What is going on, Tricia? Who are you looking for? Were you being stalked or something?”
Tricia turned her flushed face toward Mandie. “It’s that new friend of Tom’s.”
“She followed me to my yoga class, then just stood in the doorway eyeing me.” Tricia headed for the kitchen. “Do you have any wine?”
“So she was checking out the yoga class. So what?” Mandie pulled two glasses from the cupboard. Tricia grabbed the wine from the refrigerator.
“And, there was a message on my phone today.” Tricia took a big gulp of wine. “It said ‘He’s mine now.’ That was creepy. It had to be from her.”
They both jumped when the intercom buzzed.
“You invited somebody over tonight? I’m sorry, Mandie, I didn’t mean to intrude.”
Mandie shook her head and poked at the intercom button. “Who is it?”
“Pizza for Mandie.”
“I didn’t order a pizza.”
“It’s paid for already. Should I just leave it here or bring it up?”
Tricia mouthed “leave it.”
“Just leave it. Thanks.” She looked at Tricia. “Why’d you say that?”
“Too many creepy things happening today.” She headed for the door, then turned back. “I’m not going down there alone.”
Mandie shook her head and followed her to the lobby where they found a pizza from Luigi’s, their favorite pizza parlor.
“I didn’t order pizza,” Mandie insisted as they headed back to her apartment.
She set the box on the kitchen counter and opened the lid. “Oh-my-gawd! It’s Hawaiian with artichoke hearts, my favorite. But, only Tom and you knew that.” She eyed Tricia suspiciously. “YOU ordered this, didn’t you? And YOU made the call earlier to me. You’re just trying to creep me out, aren’t you?”
“What’s that paper stuck under the crust?” Tricia reached across the pizza and freed the note. “Your life is in danger tonight,” she read. “What does that mean?”
“C’mon, Tricia. Game is O-ver. Fun is fun, but this is enough.”
Before Tricia could respond, the lights flickered and went out.
And then the phone rang.
Judy Beaston draws her inspiration from the interactions of people and nature. Some of her favorite haunts for inspiration include The Japanese Gardens, ocean beaches and any coffee shop. When not lost in the words of poetry and stories, she enjoys the creative connections found playing tenor saxophone. Three grandchildren help keep her views on life youthful.