Posted by: Rob | July 26, 2010

Sorry, Right Number

I still marvel at the way “things” work, and by “things” I mean my own bio-organism.  Have you ever wondered what would trigger an old memory?  Like, for instance, what would suddenly cause one to remember a piece of short fiction read years ago?  I didn’t question why the details of a Stephen King piece of short fiction – a teleplay, actually – bubbled to the surface of my consciousness a few months ago, although I probably should have.  I could not remember the name of the piece and so my search through the collection of Stephen King in our house came up empty.  I had wanted to re-read the piece and share it with Ann.

A google search today, however, identified the title of the piece as well as the collection in which it was published: Nightmares & DreamscapesSorry, Right Number is a compelling short, especially, in retrospect, for young widowed folk.  Wikipedia sums it up as well as I could:

One night, while the children are arguing about whether or not to watch Spider’s Kiss, the gory TV adaptation of her husband Bill’s novel, Katie receives a strange phone call in which the person at the other end of the line sobs, “Take… please take… t-t-,” before the line goes dead. She at first thinks it’s her daughter Polly, away at boarding school, then believes it’s her mother, then her sister Dawn; she discovers that none of them were the source of the mysterious call. The incident is quickly forgotten. Later, she finds her husband slumped in his chair, dead from a heart attack. The story then jumps forward in time to Polly’s wedding day, five years to the day of Bill’s death. Katie is in Bill’s old office when she finds a tape of Spider’s Kiss and puts it into the television. She is hysterical with grief over the death of her husband and accidentally dials the old house number. She is startled when it rings and is answered by herself five years previously. She tries to warn herself of the terrible tragedy that is about to befall her/them but is unable to speak her intended message of “Take him to the hospital! If you want him to live, take him to the hospital!” In her shock, she is only able to get out “Take… please take…” before the line goes dead. It’s then that she realizes the truth of what happened that night. The story ends with Katie crying over her lost chance to save her husband and a close-up shot of the ominous looking telephone.

Okay, so it’s a bit of a depressing story; what does it have to do with anything, you ask?  Well, sometimes context is all that is needed and a happening of some sort will make seemingly unrelated events gel into a pattern heretofore unrecognized.  Cryptic enough?

Let me explain.  Yesterday I discussed how I missed or misread physical signs and symptoms of an impending cardiac issue.  But I now realize that, given the history of interactions we’ve experienced with those on another plane, I also missed the hints coming from the other side.

After several knocking, creaky stair and bedside lamps turning themselves on incidents, I reported to Ann that I’d experienced a couple of odd encounters where something unseen had brushed the top of my head as I walked through the bedroom doorway and where I’d felt something unseen tickling the back of my neck as I stood at the kitchen sink.

“Well, maybe the message is for you then,” she’d said.

She was right.



  1. I remember that story, Rob, but I got my scary authors mixed up. I thought it was Hitchcock.

    I guess you should listen to those signs, eh? I’m glad you are doing better and glad you have a second chance to listen, unlike the people in the story. 🙂

    My best to you!

  2. the story sounds positively creepy.

  3. I’ve never been particularly good at reading cryptic signs. Would a post-it note be such a stretch?

  4. […] Perhaps I should pay more attention than he did.  August 7, 2010  anniegirl1138 Categories: ghosts, life after death, life as a caregiver, love and relationships, marriage issues, paranormal experiences, young widowhood Tags: encounters with ghosts, ghost stories, ghosts who live in my house, Rob and Me […]

  5. I have been following your story through Annie’s blog. Scary. I am glad you’re feeling better and on the road to recovery. Here’s the thing about second chances ~ you can listen more closely this time.

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