The Red Phone

The red phone rings. You pick up the receiver. “Hello?” 

A woman’s voice. “I want to speak with Edwin Persky.” 

“Just a minute.”You put her on hold, then punch in the letters: P-ER-S-K-Y. The sound of a phone ringing. A woman answers. “Hello?” 

“Edwin Persky, please.” 

“Hold on.” 

She puts you on hold and you listen to a pop orchestral recording of “Try to Remember” while she connects with Persky. Pretty soon she’s back. “This is Edwin Persky,” she says. “What can I do for you?” 

You go back to the woman on hold, and say to her, “This is Edwin Persky. What can I do for you?” 

The woman’s voice becomes seductive. “I want to have sex with you.” 

You switch back to Persky’s interlocutor. “I want to have sex with you.” 

She speaks with Persky, then relays his response. “What are you wearing right now?” 

Back to woman one. “What are you wearing right now?” 

“I’m wearing black lace panties and a garter belt. And nothing else.” 

You wish these people would show a little more imagination. And why the garter belt if she’s not wearing hose? You can see her as she really is, sitting in her kitchen wearing a ragged sweatsuit, eating cookie dough out of a plastic container. 

You tell Persky’s rep: “I’m wearing black lace panties and a garter belt. And nothing else.” 

“Jesus,” she sighs. Something about the way she sighs conveys more intimacy than you’ve felt from anyone in six months. A shiver runs down your spine. 

She relays the come-on, then replies. “I’m taking off my pants. My mammoth erection thrusts out of my tight boxers. I fall to my knees and rub my three-day growth of beard against your belly.” 

You pass along the message. Cookie-dough woman says, “I come down on top of you and take your organ into my mouth. My tongue runs over the throbbing veins.” It’s too much. “Don’t say that,” you tell her. Say, “I grab the term insurance policy from off your cluttered desk and roll it into a tube. I place the tube over your dick, put one end into my mouth, and begin humming ‘The Girl from Ipanema.’” 

“‘The Girl from Ipanema?’What’s that?” 

“Don’t worry. Just say it.” 

The woman hesitates, then says, “I grab the insurance policy—” 

“—term insurance.” 

It takes her three tries to get it right. You pass it along to Persky’s rep. 

“That took a while,” she says, after she passes it on. “At least it’s original.” 

You snicker. “I had to help her. What’s Persky doing?” 

“I expect he’s whacking off. Shall we speculate?” 

“So does he have a reply?” 

“Let’s see—‘I’m thrusting, thrusting, into your red mouth. I pinch your nipples and’—Jesus, I can’t say this. Tell her he says, ‘I smear warm guava jelly over your perky earlobes while transferring three hundred thousand in post-coital debentures to your trust fund.’” 

“Debentures—I like that.” 

“Thanks,” she says. 

You relay the message to cookie-dough woman. She replies with something about waves of pink pleasure. You don’t bother to get her on board this time, as you tell Persky’s interlocutor, “I double your investment, going short Euros in the international currency markets while shaving your balls with a priceless ancient bronze Phonecian razor of cunning design.” 

She comes back: “My amygdala vibrates with primal impulse as the sensory overload threatens to reduce my IQ by forty points.” 

Now this is what you call action. And a challenge. You are inspired, and come back with a fantasy about Peruvian nights and the downy fur of the newborn alpaca. It goes on like this for a while. Cookie-dough starts gasping, and the pauses between Persky’s replies stretch. Soon his interlocutor and I have time on our hands. 

“Are you working this Tuesday?” you ask her. 

“No. You?” 

Nihil obstat. Take in a movie?” 

“Sounds good. I’m Janice.” 

“Sid. Meet me at the Visual Diner on McMartin. Seven-thirty?” 

“How will I know you?”

“I’ll be wearing lace panties and a garter belt,” you tell her.

“Okay,” Janice says. “Look for my throbbing organ.”