The Fabulous Sinkhole and Other Stories

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Probably a bill collector or one of those phone solicitors. I started to leave but a wave of guilt swept over me. Shouldnt I, at least, answer the phone? What if it was a family member that didnt know what had happened to him. Didnt he or she deserve to know what had transpired? Yes, maybe I should go in and answer the phone. Wasnt that the Christian thing to do? They must have heard me on the porch or heard the phone ringing.

Yes, they were definitely in the house. Well, that did it! I wasnt going to jeopardize the lives of his birds. I made my way back to the front door and tried the handle. To my surprise, the door squeaked open. I entered the living room. Old Man Baldemar had never let menor anyone else for that matterset foot inside the house. He was always pretty clear about that. Just leave the.

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Youll find an envelope there with your pay. Yeah, it was a little mysterious, but that worked fine with me. So it was a little scary stepping into this ancient, musty house for the first time. Judging from the aged adobe walls, the house might well have been there when Arroyo Grande itself was founded more than four hundred years ago.

I mean, that certainly could bethe walls were made of white-washed thick adobe. I entered the living room and quickly realized what I was hearing was not just one phone, but severaltwo, three, perhaps a dozen! Now that was really odd! I followed the sound into an adjacent hallway. The hallway was a real surprise, because from the outside the house looked like it might contain all of three or four roomsa really tiny little barrio house.

But once inside, the house seemed enormous. I followed the long hallwaygeez it was twenty feet long! All the time trying to figure in my mind how such a lengthy corridor could fit inside the house that looked so tiny from the outside? I passed a closed door on my right, and then a closed door on my left and then I found a door from which the ringing phone seemed to be emanating. I placed my hand on the doorknob and felt a weird kind of thrill. My gosh, it sounded like all the phones in the world were inside.

I opened the door and walked in. I just stoppedstood there with my eyes wide open and goose bumps inching along my spine. Oh, my Gaaahd! The room looked like something out of a high tech nerve center. There were dozens and dozens of thin metallic shelves, one right above the other, each separated by no more than four or five inches. Shelf upon shelf upon shelf, all the way to the ceiling. And arranged neatly on each shelf were dozens and dozens, heck there were hundreds of cell phones, all of them blaring away!

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I walked to the nearest desk and picked up. I saw that it had a label attached with a small piece of twine. What I did came natural.

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I answered it. I said into the phone. The ringing stopped. There was silence at the other end. I put the phone down and it began to ring again. I saw that each phone on the shelf had a tag on it, each with a name, a city and state and a date. And not all of the cities where in the United States. Many of the cell phone listed cities in other countries. Joel Jurez, June 24, , Valladolid, Spain. Kenton Youngstrom, Olso, Norway, October 17, Kirk Whistler, January 17, , Manchester, England. Ngethe Maina, May 22, , Nairobi, Kenya.

The list went on and on. I took a step back and took a deep breath. What did all of this mean? I got spooked, so I decided to leave the room. I walked out and closed the door behind me and just stood there a moment. | The Fabulous Sinkhole and Other Stories

To my surprise, the ringing stopped! I opened the door and looked inside.

The cell phones were still there, but the ringing had stopped. Wow, it was really spooky.

I turned and looked across the hall at the first door I had passed. I couldnt resist it. I opened the door and if my surprise at the first room had blown me away, this one really knocked me inside out. It was an enormous room, with comfortable stuffed chairs, wood paneled shelves and elegant wooden bureaus and ancient roll-top desks, at least a half dozen of them! I pulled out a drawer of one and there, neatly arranged, were rows upon rows of gold wedding bands.

Yes, and each wedding ring had a tag attached with a name, a city of origin. I could see that some of these rings were really old.

Fabulous Sinkhole and Other Stories, The

Some were dated in the s and s! Isadora Melencamp, December 26, , Augusta, Georgia. Thats when I lost it. I plopped down on the floorthere were absolutely no chairs in the roomand wrapped my arms around my legs and just rocked back and forth.

The fabulous sinkhole, and other stories

I had to think this out. Was I going crazy? Was I having some kind of psychotic episode? A delusion?