Jeff and I pulled into the motel parking lot. As the engine shuddered to a halt I immediately switched off his awful music.
"You don't have respect for the 'tunes," he complained as he jumped out of my pickup.
"That's because you have no respect for the electric guitar," I slam my door, "you are the product of Europe, underage drug use, and bad taste."
"Better than being the product of your mom," he quipped, feeding a bill into a vending machine.
"Whatever," I say, digging through my purse, "what time is it?"
"About ten 'till," he says, cracking open his new orange soda.
We enter the rented room moments later and I half-expect to hear that familiar ring again. I breathe a sigh of relief as I glance at the digital clock on the bedside table, 10:57PM.
"I think it's interesting that she calls at exactly the right second every single night. I mean, doesn't she have to use the bathroom? Doesn't she sleep? Like, all these motels have their clocks set at slightly different times, right? I mean, what's her deal? She's like the Time Whisperer," Jeff wonders, itching and picking at his ear repeatedly.
I try to tune him out but I've wondered the same thing for a long time. I glance at the clock again. 10:59PM
"Can you hand-" I begin, "Never mind."
The notepad is by Jeff but who knows where his hands have been. I shudder at the passing thought and very quickly replace it with images of Bambi. The second hands approach 11:00PM.
"Do you think we know her? Like, do you think we've met her before?" Jeff asks.
The second hand lands on exactly 11:00PM. I hover my palm over the receiver of the ancient ebony telephone. But nothing happens. Seconds trickle by and at 11:01PM she still hasn't called.
“Maybe she had to pee today,” I say, trying to rest both of our nerves. Instead, Jeff jumps at the sound of my voice as it interrupts his thoughts.
The phone rings at 11:03PM and I jump to pick it up, “Hello?”
“Eh, hello, this is the front. Did you want a wakeup call in the morning? Same time?” A woman with an indecipherable accent asks.