The Telephone Calls

Just before  nine a.m. yesterday, when Hubby and I were leaving home for breakfast at McDonald’s, my cell phone rang. The caller appeared as “unknown,” so I ignored it.

Five minutes later, on the way to the restaurant, the phone rang again, this time registering from New Jersey. Weird, I thought. Two scammy calls within such a short period.

“Aren’t you going to answer it?” Hubby asked.

“No, I don’t know anyone in New Jersey. Obviously it’s the same person using a different number. I never answer the phone if I don’t know the caller, especially on my cell phone.”

While eating breakfast, I checked whether the callers had left messages; there were none.

After we arrived home, my cell rang several more times within the space of a half hour. Calls from Missouri, Manitoba, and Quebec. What? This was becoming ridiculous. When the next call registered Massachusetts, I answered—not because I knew anyone in Massachusetts—but because the caller obviously wasn’t giving up.

“Hello.”

Silence greeted me until a tinny voice hit my ear. “Granny?”

My first thought was my granddaughter, Abby. It sounded a bit like her, but Abby was in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, not in Massachusetts. Despite that, I blurted out, “Abby?”

No answer, but I heard noises. Voices in the background.

“Hello.”

Was that a little girl’s voice? I couldn’t make out her words. It sounded like Abby; no, it wasn’t Abby. It didn’t sound like her. Or did it?

“Abby?” I asked again.

Silence. Then gibberish. No, the caller wasn’t anyone I recognized. The voice wasn’t Abby’s.

“Hello, hello.”

Was that a giggle? Two girls? Three? No, one child. A frantic child. I couldn’t make out her words.

“Hello?”

Just when I was ready to hang up, a little voice piped up, “Daddy’s here, but he’s being mean.”

Mean?

“Abby?”

Abby and her father, my son, had spent the night at my daughter’s house. As far as I knew, they were still there.

More indecipherable words. The voice sounded far away; it was. The caller was in Massachusetts. And Missouri and Manitoba. Was there something about the “M” locations?  And Quebec. Oh, let’s not forget Quebec.

“Is this Abby?”

The little girl sounded like Abby; then again, she didn’t. No, the voice was that of a stranger. But did she need help?

Was that another giggle? No, she had begged for help. My Daddy’s mean.

“Hello, hello?”

The line had been disconnected. Had the father discovered his daughter begging for help?

Had it been Abby?

I telephoned my son. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I’ve been getting a ton of weird calls.”

“Oh, that’s just Abby and Taylor.”

I sighed. Whenever Abby and Taylor, eight-year-old first cousins get together, there is trouble. Double trouble. Trouble times two!

“But the calls are coming from all over the world.”

“Abby’s installed a new app,” my son replied.

What? An app to call anonymously from locations all over Canada and the U.S.? Is that what scammers and telemarketers do?

“She said you’re being mean to her. I was worried.”

“Everything’s fine. I’ll talk to her.”

“Are they calling other people or just me?”

“I don’t know. I’ll tell her to stop.”

We disconnected. I breathed a sigh of relief that it had just been two mischievous girls. Abby the instigator, of course, because Abby was the one with the tablet and a Facebook account and apps galore. More knowledgeable about technology than Granny.

I couldn’t help but wonder, though, about young girls seeking help from anonymous strangers. My Daddy’s being mean.

 

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