602 - KEITH RAWSON
Kara’s phone roused her from her sweaty dreams. Her eyes cracked open, head pounding. Why’d she have to go out with Paulina and the girls from work last night? Who the fuck schedules a happy hour on a Wednesday? It was Paulina’s birthday and all, but why not wait until Friday? She knuckled sleep from her eyes, waiting for the sun to turn her head even further inside out.
That was funny, no sun?
Her bedroom curtains were sackcloth thick, but there was always a little light.
It was pitch black, dead of night and the ring on her phone, that wasn’t her alarm.
Her alarm was a calm, righteous chorus of church bells which slowly stirred her awake. What she was hearing now was the ring an old school rotary phone made. She chose the ring because she could hear it just about anywhere she left it in her apartment or at the office. She misplaced her phone three or five times a day...she hated her phone. Kara sat up, her head spinning, stomach going liquid, churning washing machine style. She stared at the phone, its digital display lying face down. She supposed she could just mute the little bitch and curl into a fetal ball and catch four or twelve more hours of sleep...but it might be her brother calling about their mother back in California, or maybe one of her friends calling and telling her the reason why it was pitch black in the seven in the morning was because the Chinese or some crazy Muslim extremist group decided to push the button and that the office would be closed today because of nuclear apocalypse.
She picked up the phone.
She glimpsed the time below the number 2:13 am, she’d only been asleep two hours.
The phone stopped ringing, but she knew the deal, he’d keep at it until she finally picked up...crazy little bastard.
The phone vibrated in her hand and she hit answer before it could ring again.
“Kara...Hey, I didn’t wake you up, did I?” Nick. Nick fucking Boyle.
Nick worked for one of those online colleges. Not one of the big ones, some little christian university that was starting to dip their toes into the online market, but they were...aggressive in their recruiting tactics.
Nick was one of their recruiters, one of their best if you listened to the line of shit that spewed out of his mouth. She’d been dumb enough to request info from the small school, even dumber when she started flirting with Nick. Six months later, she was still kicking herself stupid over ever making the call.
“It’s 2 in the morning, Nick, what the fuck do you think?”
“Is it that late?”
“Are you at the office?”
“Oh yeah, money never sleeps, ya know. So, have you put anymore thought in getting back into school?”
“No, Nick, you know you’re not allowed to call me anymore.”
“Look you, little cunt. This is my job we’re talking about! If I don’t get you back into school, they’re gonna fire me!”
“You bitch! I’m gonna find you, I’m gonna come gut you like a fish and play with your fucking BLOOD! I’m gonna pluck out yer eyes and fuck your skull!”
“Good night, Nick.”
Kara clicked off.
When the calls first started, they scared her, now they were just an annoyance.
Fuck her skull? Where did he come up with this shit?
Kara turned off her phone, rolled into a ball and decided to call in sick the next morning.
BIO: Keith Rawson is a little known pulp writer who lives in the alkaline desert wastelands of southern Arizona with his wife and very energetic three-year-old daughter. His stories have appeared in such publications as Plots with Guns, Pulp Pusher, CrimeWav.com, Bad Things, Powder Burn Flash, A Twist of Noir, Beat to a Pulp, Needle Magazine and many others. Keith is a frequent contributor to BSCreview, a staff writer with Spinetingler Magazine and, along with Cameron Ashley and Liam Jose, he edits and publishes Crimefactory Magazine. You can also find him stroking his overinflated ego at his blog, Bloody Knuckles, Callused Fingertips.