1990s. A man about the age of 30 sits upright on his bed, his pillows propped behind him. The phone rings twice. He answers.
Voice on the other end
-Hi, yes. I’m calling to see if your refrigerator is running. Is it running?
The man smiles, knowing full well to sidestep the punchline.
-The motor is at full tilt.
-Well, catch it before it falls!
The man’s face lights up.
-Excellent recovery! I applaud your prank call!
-Thanks. How are you, anyway?
-I’m a bit depressed actually.
-Depressed? Why depressed? You seem alright to me.
-Only so much can come across between two strangers on a telephone.
-I guess so. Anyways would you like to talk about it? I’ve got nothing going on.
-Well, maybe. I don’t know. I get embarrassed.
-Come on. Mental health shouldn’t be such a taboo topic. I know for a fact you’re an upstanding guy. You were bright enough to play with a prank caller. And now I, as that prankster, am here as an ear for you.
-That’s true. And so kind of you. I really do applaud the way you handled my comment – the motor is at full tilt, and all that.
-Anyways, I’m alright. I’m okay.
-It’s just the days, you know. I just turned 30 and I don’t know where I am. I don’t know where I’m going. I get up and go to work.
-What’s your job?
-I’m an accountant.
-That can’t be fun.
-It isn’t fun.
-Do you like numbers?
-I despise numbers.
-You should’ve been a linguist.
-I despise words as well.
-My touch is off.
-That’d be ok. I am allergic to wool though.
-You could make cotton hats. There aren’t enough cotton hats in the world.
-That settles it. I’ll be a cotton hat salesman.
-I’m so glad I could help.
-I’m glad too. Thank you so much.
-Are you feelin’ less depressed?
-That’s better than nothing.
A quiet moment arises between the two strangers, in which neither one wants to talk anymore but neither one wants to end the phone call. The man coughs slightly and then:
-I’m afraid I have to go now.
-More prank calls to make?
-You know how it is. Friday night. Prime prank call time.
-Well I’m very happy you prank called me.
-I’m happy too. Go make a cotton hat. In a little while when you’ve got your business all set, I’m going to buy a cotton hat from you.
-Is that so?
-It is. I can’t wait to wear your cotton hats.
The man hangs up the phone and stands up from his bed. He goes over to his wardrobe and takes down one of his hats. He puts it on his head for a moment, removes it, and looks inside to find the tag, curious as to what it’s made of, and it’s 100% cotton.
The phone rings.
-Hello is Amanda Hugandkiss there?
The man smiles.
-Let me check. Can you hold?