Strange messages


The man sounded drunk.

He stumbled over the words left on the message, giving up on bigger ones half-way through.

But it was the closing line that really got me.

“Beware of a man with ‘nuke’ in his name. He might just nuke the world,” he said and I handed the phone back to a coworker.

The man thought Newt Gingrich was named “Nuke” Gingrich, and was very concerned that he’d live up to his name. The message went on, long and rambling, words slurring into each other.

Two minutes later the co-worker was handing back the phone. Another message, this time the voice sounding clear. He’d had an episode, a delusion, and saw President Richard Nixon and his top advisers contract some sort of spidery parasites in their heads. They went crazy, bombed the world with nuclear weapons, then came to their senses and went back in time and destroyed those parasites, averting nuclear disaster.

I try imagining spidery parasites and time traveling and Nixon and nuclear weapons all rolled into one very strange film. I’m not sure why he called to tell us about it.

Turns out they were old calls, stored on a coworkers phone and brought out now and again. And those kind of calls aren’t uncommon. People have strange ideas, or call while drunk, and the resulting messages are long and hard to follow but often entertaining. One that’s gone around countless times from circulation is from an irate woman, furious because it’s late morning and her Sunday paper isn’t on her doorstep yet. It’s not until after she has railed and threatened to end her subscription that we hear a voice in the background: Honey? It’s not Sunday. It’s Tuesday. And the call abruptly ends.

But I think these are my favorites. And if you ever meet a man with “nuke” in his name, beware!

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Filed under Notebook sketches, People

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