The Phone Call
By Dwayne MacInnes
The wind howled outside the old brick museum. It was fall and nearly midnight. Jason Peterson the auxiliary night watchman was patrolling the grounds alone. In fact, he would patrol the museum alone for the next three nights. The curator and the board of directors felt that they would temporarily close the museum for three days while the state finished some important roadwork. No one could visit the museum once the road crew closed the roads anyway.
Mark Hamilton and Bob Biggs, the regular security guards, decided it was a good time to take vacations as well. Therefore, the curator asked Jason if he would like to pick up some hours. The young guard enthusiastically agreed to work. He only ever picked up shifts if Mark or Biggs was sick or the museum had a special event planned.
Jason reasoned this would be a great time for him to catch up on his studies. He had spent half the semester partying instead of studying for his college classes. If he wanted to graduate in the spring, he had better start cracking open the books. There would be no distractions at the museum, neither could he expect to have one of his friends call him and convince him to paint the town red. In fact, Jason left his cell phone at home just so no one could reach him.
Before they left for the weekend, Mark and Biggs ran Jason through the museum grounds. There were new exhibits that Jason needed to be familiar with as well as a few changes in the museum's layout. The two regular security guards always walked Jason over the grounds before he started his shifts.
"So kid, you have your cell phone?" Mark asked. The guard was only ten years older than Jason, but he always made Jason feel like the gap was much greater.
"Naw, I left it at home," Jason replied. "I can't afford to be distracted."
"Smart," Biggs added. Bob Biggs was in his fifties; he had been with the museum for over twenty years and could remember nearly every exhibit that ever came through. He also placed more trust in things older. These "new fangled gizmos nowadays," a category in which he placed cell phones, were not to be trusted.
"These here are some records for the record player there on display," Biggs pointed out in a History of Rock and Roll exhibit. "I don't have to remind you not to play with them.
"Man, these take me back," Biggs reminisced. "We used to have 45s and LPs..."
"LPs meant Long Playing," Mark stated. "A record is what you would call a noncompact disc. You know like a big CD."
"I know what a record is," Jason replied dryly. "Sometimes I think you are older than Biggs. What's a CD?"
Biggs busted out laughing, "That's a good one."
Mark even joined in. He and Biggs loved to play jokes on Jason and when the youth could throw one back they loved it more.
The three men continued through the museum. Occasionally they would stop so that Mark and Biggs could point something of importance out to Jason. They nearly completed their rounds when they stopped at one last exhibit. The display read ‘Technology of Communication' and behind a sign that read ‘Please do not touch', a quill and pen laid next to a telegraph then next an old phone with a crank generator, followed by a rotary dial phone and then a touch-tone and finally a cell phone.
"I bet Biggs has a telegraph at home," Jason ribbed the older security guard laughing. Neither man joined in the laughter. This made Jason stopped rather uncomfortably.
"Uh, sorry," Jason replied. "I guess I crossed a line somewhere."
"It's not you kid," Mark said. He pointed to the black rotary dial phone. "It's that."
"I know what a rotary dial telephone is. Just because I never used one..." Jason began to say.
"Some say that phone is linked," Biggs said in a serious voice.
"What you mean it is connect to the phone line?" Jason asked.
"No linked to the dead," Mark finished.
Jason began to laugh again, "Very funny I almost bought that one."
When neither security guard joined in Jason abruptly stopped again. "What? No way," Jason stammered. "There are no such things as haunted phones."
"I don't know about that," Biggs answered. "What I do know is that Mr. Feldon died while on that phone."
"People die on the phones all the time," Jason countered. "It doesn't mean they are now haunting their phones. I think you guys have been here too long."
"Mr. Feldon isn't haunting the phone. It's Mrs. Feldon," Biggs said flatly.