Steven Pisano CC
The Men Are Calling
Hey, kid. It’s us.
I’m sorry, who?
You can’t tell? It’s us, the men.
I see. What’s this about? I’ve got to be getting back. I’m in the middle of a puzzle—well, Jordan and I are. She’s looking at me and kind of raising one eyebrow like she wants to know who I’m talking to.
That’s why we’re calling, actually.
Because she’s looking at me? Or…the puzzle? I mean, I think we’re good. It’s only 500 pieces. Plus, it’s all these different kittens poking out of flower pots, so you can kind of divide the work into different colorings of kitten fur. Also, I’m not sure you’d be much help, being on the phone and all. Even on speakerphone. Oh, now Jordan’s asking who it is. They say it’s “the men”? I’m sorry, I guess I didn’t catch your names.
You know us, kid. We’re your old gym teachers: How’s that layup, bud? Remember to hit the showers, pansy!
Mr. Colbrees? Mr. Stimac?
Well, not just them. We’re also your coworkers—you know, the semi-pro fisherman and the former marine with the blue lives matter tattoo.
How? How’d you get this number?
We’ve always had your number, kid. But we’re not done with the introductions. Here’s your soccer coach, your Tom-Selleck-look-alike podiatrist, your dad’s old boss, the guys from that summer you worked construction, that college roommate you were randomly assigned who used the n-word and LOVED hockey. That backwards-hat bro you randomly befriended in the nosebleeds at a Sox game. Your grad school classmate’s husband, the one with the extra-firm handshake. The ex-principal who hit on your neighbor while she was breastfeeding, your—
Okay, okay. But why exactly are you calling?
Don’t you get it? All this kitten puzzle crap? The long hair. Hippie. Didn’t you think about painting your nails the other day? When was the last time you looked under the hood of your car? Used a drill? Jesus, boy.
How do you know all this? Why do you care?
How could we not know? How could we not care? You’re us, kid. We’re you. These things get back to us, one way or another. It reflects on all of us.
I’m sorry. I don’t understand. What do you mean?
Jesus, was he always this dense? Get the kid. Let’s put him on the line.
What is this?
What is this? It’s an intervention, boy. You cried for help and here we are. Ah, here’s the kid… Hello?
No sense playing dumb, bud. I know you better than any of these clowns. Don’t you recognize me?
You sound familiar. It’s just...
Like talking to myself.
Mike Keller-Wilson lives, writes, and teaches in Iowa City, Iowa. He received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and has been published in Arcturus Magazine and The Wondrous Real. In his day job, he teaches writing and dad jokes to a captive audience of 7th graders. You can find him on Twitter @Mike3Stars.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.