Non Fiction True Story

The Call
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Last night I was sitting in front of my computer playing spider solitaire. It’s a game I enjoy to repeat because I think it helps me fight off Alzheimer. Not that I have any reason to believe I have Alzheimer, I am just older now and memory was never my foremost skill. But playing spider gives me hope particularly when I occasionally win. I somehow believe that it will improve my memory when I so brilliantly stack the rows in order, suit and color and then make them disappear into tiny stacks if I get the order right. This is somehow soothing and my anti-Alzheimer workout.

My wife has the memory. During Jeopardy she will get 20 or 30 questions to my three. But she is younger. And smarter. I digress. I was having a challenging game of spider waiting for me to become tired enough to go to bed when the phone rang. You see, I am retired. A heavy workout day is when I go shopping, at the mall, using a cart.

Anyway, I was playing spider when the phone rang. It was late so that automatically raises my concern that someone has just died. My friends and relatives are all long in the tooth, to use a farmer’s phrase. Why else would you get a call late at night even if its 3 hours earlier in California.

My wife got a new phone a few months ago. It was part of our plan to foil the scam artists and fraudsters. We have decided to change our phone numbers every few years. The bad guys will have to work harder to keep up with our personal information and we get some peace and quiet before the next round of callers solicit us during dinner, breakfast or lunch. So much for the no-call list.

On occasion, she would receive a call that was from someone we did not know leaving a message on her phone in Spanish. It did not worry us much since they did not use our names and we did not understand the message, but all the same, we kept getting these errant messages from time to time. This was one of those nights.

We had just purchased a Bluetooth phone connection system to connect our cell phones via our existing cordless telephones. We use to have a landline but in our efforts to fool the scammers and fraudsters, we got rid of it. The existing cordless phone system was still around and used to communicate using the intercom function. That means that one cell phone will ring all of the cordless phones throughout the house and garage. You just can’t have too many cordless phones in case you get lost or need help. I am getting of an age where thoughts of needing help are occurring more often.

Well the phone rings and every cordless phone chimes into the cacoffiny. Because I can hear the actual cell phone also sounding in the other room, I know it is my wife’s phone. I pick it up and listen.

fox news cropped art The person on the other end is speaking Spanish asking some detailed question. The voice is slightly soft and I have a feeling that he is less than fully confident. He is not talking to a relative. Since I haven’t said anything, he does not know who I might be. Since he is obviously Spanish, I wait for a pause and proudly show off my extensive understanding by stating: “no compendia español senior.” The person on the other end replies in his native language that he understood I was speaking Spanish. I am not sure how I understood that and was very impressed with myself for even understanding or thinking I understood. He then said something I interpreted as “here, you talk with him” as he handed his phone to someone else.

Normally, I can get a few words of Spanish when people speak it, but other than understanding the tone and intent; I did not catch any of his words. It was the same style and flow of Spanish but there were no words I knew in the conversation. The person now talking to me was a nervous young woman who greets me in Spanish for which I reply: “Hello.” She immediately replies: “you speak English” is a modest Latino accent. I reply cautiously: “yes.” I am now on alert for scammers and fraudsters. She then asks if I have and how much was a room for the night in someplace. She lowered her voice at naming the place and I did not recognize it as a city along the border. I am sure my wife would have known since she is so good a Jeopardy, but I didn’t. I am also sure the NSA has a tape of the call for referral.

I told her she had the wrong number and I was not a provider of such hospitality. She then asked where I was on which I replied: “this is the United States.” Thinking she was still south of the border. She apologized and then rang off. (That just dated me.) For all my family and friends, back in the good-ole-days with party lines and local operators, in order to close a phone call, you had to ring the operator and tell her to disconnect the line or she would continue to charge you for the call. Today we just push the end button.

I realized some things about that call. The reason I did not recognize the Spanish was that it was not Spanish. It was Portuguese. They had started their trip much further south than Mexico. The man was the guardian and protector since he initiated the call. The reason for the trip was for the girl. She knew and spoke not only Portuguese, but Spanish and English as well. They had been traveling quite a while as evidenced by their tone, subdued but sound and somewhat confident but deferent. They still had resources. They were within range of the US border since my cell phone is country local, not international. They could almost be here.

They will need more courage now than even their trip demanded. They only faced murders, rapists and criminals then. They are entering a country of hate, where the haves and the haves-much are working hard to be Totalitarian and control the masses. A place where racists control the policy and power of our country. A nation of law enforcement people who kcan enforce laws that subjugate the weak and poor and un elected leaders who pronounce they will reshape this country into their own beliefs. ICE now commit random raids and round up people they suspect to be of a different place. We have just not had the “night of glass” in this country yet. All the signs are there. I hope that man and woman have hope. We need more like them here.

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