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You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Yo, Dad. It’s me. Give a call.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Hey, it’s me. Where are you? Call me, okay? We need to talk.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Pop. It’s Jonathan. Remember me? How about calling me back?

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Dad, I really do need to talk with you. It’s important.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

What’s going on? I called Julia. She hasn’t heard from you either. Is this another of your disappearing acts? Where the hell are you? Call me. I need some advice.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Okay, I know how much you like to avoid talking, but this is a bit much. Last time you pulled this, it lasted a couple of weeks. Tell me you’re not doing it again.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Pick up the phone, dammit. This is starting to piss me off. I know you’ve got your phone with you. You never go anywhere without it.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Dad, this isn’t funny. I don’t know if you’ve been murdered, drowned, kidnapped, or ran off with a new fling. You could be lying in a ditch somewhere. Call me back.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

In the off chance that you’re being a prick, I thought you should know that I called Uncle Jack. I can’t get up there myself, so I asked him to stop by your place. He said there’s no sign of you. House locked up, car gone. And where’s your dog? I know you’re out there. I need your help.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Okay, I’m worried. Satisfied? Actually, I’m beyond worried. I’ve called every emergency room within fifty miles. No one knows where you are. You’ve got half of St. Paul looking for you. Call me ASAP.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

You asked for it, Dad. It’s out of my hands. The police came. I gave them a photograph. They asked if you’d gone missing before. What was I supposed to say? And you’ll love this. They asked if you’d ever shown unusual or bizarre behavior. I so wanted to tell them the truth, it was killing me. In any case, you’re officially “missing.” Oh, I also told them about the place up at the lake, but they …

If you’re satisfied with your message, press 6. If you want to re record your message…

What I was going to say was the cops don’t seem interested in finding you, since it’s only been a week. So you’re safe from capture, unless I can show evidence of a crime or suspicious circumstances. For chrissakes, Dad, what’s going on?

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

I don’t know why I’m doing this. You’re obviously not wanting to be found, don’t give a shit, or you’re dead. I might as well be talking to myself. What am I saying? I am talking to myself. By the way, not that you’re interested, the advice I wanted is about Eileen. I think we’re splitting up. I got home last week and found a note. It seems that everyone in my life is disappearing.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Fuck you, Dad.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

I’ve left messages. Julia’s left messages. Uncle Jack’s left messages. And so have the police. But your in-box still isn’t full. So either you’re listening and deleting or someone’s hacked your phone. I don’t know what to think. But in case this isn’t you, what have you done with my dad, whoever you are?

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Look, I don’t know how to say this. But… I miss you, okay? And I’m needing you. This isn’t easy for me. Everything’s gone bonkers. What I’m trying to say is, this isn’t the time to disappear or die. My job’s in the air. My marriage is on the proverbial rocks. I don’t know what’s going on with Eileen. She hasn’t called in over a week. For all I know, she’s as dead as you are. Listen...

If you’re satisfied with your message, press 6. If you want to re record your message…

Fuck, fuck, fuck. As I was trying to say… I don’t know what I was trying to say. I’m in a world of hurt, and you’ve disappeared. I don’t know what to think. It hasn’t been easy on anyone, Eileen or me. Particularly these last few months. I’m being consumed by it. Never mind. I don’t know what the hell I’m saying anymore.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

I’m starting to go mad, Pop. Not angry, but mad, crazy mad. I really need advice. I don’t know what I should do. Remember when Mom left and all the hell you went through? Eileen’s note said that she needed to get away. What does that mean? She didn’t say where she was going or for how long or whether she planned to come back. Has she left forever? Is this the end? I feel like I’ve fallen into some sort of psychic...

If you’re satisfied with your message, press 6. If you…

You know something? You’re an asshole. Did I ever tell you what I really think? All those times when I tried to reach out to you. And you weren’t around or said nothing or left the house. It’s taken me too long, but I’ve finally come to realize you’re incapable of listening. Truth is, what’s going on right now is a metaphor for everything between us. You’ve never been there for me. And you’ve no idea...

If you’re satisfied with your message, press 6. If you want…

You’ve no idea how much that’s hurt. Even if you did, I don’t think it would matter. Why am I talking to your goddamn cellphone? Because the real you has never had any time for me. And truth be known… Forget it. Forget everything.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Let the record show that you’re the worst goddamn father, the absolute worst.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

I hope the fuck you’re dead. I don’t need this shit in my life. I’m through. Piss off. The end.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

Sorry... I just… I’m so damned angry. I didn’t mean it. What I said. Forget what I said. Okay? Just... just forget it. Why did I say that? You’re probably dead anyway, and you’ll never get any of this. I feel like an orphan. What am I supposed to do? Keep leaving messages on an empty line? Where the hell are you?

Hi, this is Jonathan. Leave your name, number, and a short message.

Jon, it’s Dad. Sorry I haven’t been in touch. Phone was turned off. I was with a new friend in Aruba. Her name’s Charlotte. Sorry to hear about Eileen. Give me a call.

You’ve reached Bill’s cell, leave a message.

THE END

BIO: 

Jim Woessner is a visual artist and writer living on the water in Sausalito, California. He has an MFA from Bennington College and has had poetry and prose published in numerous online and print magazines, including the Blue Collar ReviewCalifornia Quarterly, and Close to the Bone. Additionally, two of his plays have been produced in community theatre.

 

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