Blake’s Ring Tones

Blake leaned forward and punched the volume button up to twenty-eight. Toby Mac pounded out “I Was Made to Love You,” in a beat he could feel through his feet as much as hear. He slapped his hand on the steering wheel in time to the beat. He loved this time of year; when the air was just hot enough to open all four windows and let the wind buffet him with relentless gusts and he could don his super cool designer sunglasses, $1.99 at the thrift store.

A few misplaced notes seemed to break off from the song and float away from it. It took him a couple seconds to determine the possible cause for the irregularity in melody. He reached his hand over and placed it on the cell phone that sat on his passenger seat. It vibrated against his skin in time with the off-beat notes. With his knee he kept the wheel still, while he reached one hand to punch the volume down, and the other to hit all four automatic window buttons at once.

The few seconds it took him to accomplish these tasks allowed him a moment of wondering. What adventure would this call bring? An intentional technological imbecile, Blake had shunned the idea of cell phones until he graduated college. Then he had reluctantly admitted the relative usefulness of the chirping objects. In the ten years and multiple jobs since he’d been out and under the spell of the dratted device, it had led to more adventures than he could count.

His first year out, he’d taken seriously to ring tones. Darth Vader’s theme music had summoned him to a small plane from which he jumped into a fire-ravaged forest in California. He had done this several seasons before Darth, but that particular call had landed him on top of a tree with a tattered chute, five broken bones, and a punctured lung. It had also ended his short-lived career as a smoke jumper.

The years of “Suicide is Painless” had been more of a volunteer period than actual career, as he and his side-kick Winnie, a black-and-white Border Collie, spent countless hours roaming mountains as a search-and-rescue team.

When he ran out of money, he switched his ring tone to the more mellow and sappily smooth “Unchained Melody” and spent some time answering to Hostage Negotiation calls.

Then he met Candy. After they got married, he took a safer job as a small-town police officer, daily answering to a series of Broadway tunes (Candy loved Broadway musicals). Though it had led him to hospitals, jails, schools, and once to the local hardware store, it didn’t take him long to grow bored of that job, so he downloaded the MI music, bought some Tom Cruise sunglasses and started his own PI business.

He had been content with the job and ring tone for several years, happily beating his steering wheel to the radio on his drive home to Candy and a retired Winnie.
All these thoughts bumped softly against the edges of his conscious thoughts before he got the phone to his ear.

“Hello?” He pressed his lips together in a grimace no one saw as he listened. “Are you sure? I thought this wasn’t going down for at least another week…Uh huh. Five minutes?” He pressed hard on the brakes, and cranked the steering wheel, coaxing the car into an illegal U-turn. He’d get his friend to write him a ticket later.

“I’m on my way. Hold tight.” He closed the phone and cajoled a few extra MPH out of the vehicle. He shook his head at himself as he drove. Hundreds of adrenaline pulsing activities raced through his head as a blur of amateurish stunts, and all dumped on him at the drop of a call. His greatest, most nerve-wracking adventure was about to begin…and he’d only had nine months to plan for it.

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~ by sdbullard on July 12, 2012.

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