I did not get to sleep until 8:00am this morning (another story for another time) so I'm pretty much ready to crash. Forgive any potential incoherence in advance.
Willow and I were on the phone yesterday, when I saw another call coming through. It was a phone number I didn't recognize and my heart gave a little jump: Barman Ben. It had been nearly two weeks since I gave him the story. I had been too busy to give it much thought and didn't expect to hear from him.
"Willow, another call is coming through, but I'm not going to take it. I think it might be Barman Ben."
"Are you sure you don't want to take it?"
"Absolutely. I want to see if he leaves a message and what he has to say."
It was a while before my phone beeped again. I was going to finish talking to Willow before checking my messages, but curiosity got the best of me.
"Do you mind if I call you back?"
Not at all.
I checked my phone: three missed calls, all from the same number; one new message.
It was Barman Ben. He left a 1:52 minute message (long, right?). He did have a deep, rather sexy phone voice, but sounded utterly exausted. Without transcribing the whole thing, here's a general sketch:
"Hi, it's Barman Ben from Cozy Bar. I can't talk too long, my voice is pretty shot, and I start rehearsal tomorrow. But I did want to tell you that I thought your story was really, really good, and I think you are very talented. I would have called sooner, but I figured I'd see you in the bar, and then got busy with other things... But I did want to call because I read the story probably the day after you gave it to me, in one sitting, and remembering what I felt reading it, it was just so detailed, I didn't want to put it down. There's something really wonderful there. Maybe when I get out of this play and whatever else is going on... I want to make a short film and if you have the time, maybe I could grab one of your short stories, if you have one collecting dust. I'll let you know about this play when it goes up, if it looks like it's going to be any good. Anyway, I'll see you when I do. I'm not going to be around that much. I did want to thank you again for giving me the pages. It was such a nice gift, a rare gift, and you are super-talented, and I'm happy to have gotten to see a bit of your work. Have a good Sunday."
To save this message, press 9.
And that's it, just like that, the fantasy is over, my image of Barman Ben irreperably shattered.
It was dreadful to learn that Barman Ben is an... an... (even writing it saddens me, but I must)
I need to pause just to shake my head. I had hoped Barman Ben wouldn't be such a stereotype, but alas.
At this point, I'd rather get romantically involved with a man in prison than an actor, so even if Barman Ben showed a keen interest in me, I'd never, ever go there. Besides, there were enough hints in the message to express how unavailable he is. Which is fine, because I am not available, either.
Still, it has to be said that the message is quite kind and complimentary. The fact that he read the story, saw "something really wonderful there", and called to tell me how "super-talented" I am, makes me feel good. And hey, he still inspired a hell of a good short story, so that's worth a lot.
Now to find my next muse...