The Call: Part One

Click. Click. Click. The rhythmic sounds of Art Newhouse's finger on his computer mouse quietly echoed throughout the empty warehouse he called an office.

"Refresh, refresh, refresh prince of Bel-Air," he said out loud to no one in particular.

This wasn't uncommon. Punching in to an 8 hour day with no coworkers or responsibilities to speak of lends itself to insanity, and Art was 4 months away from Bellevue. All he knew was that the money was decent, and that there weren't too many other jobs that would pay for him to keep his increasing portfolio of social media accounts up to speed. In fact the only duty he needed to fulfill was to answer the old blue rotary style telephone that sat just to the left of his computer, and in the 186 days he had sat at that desk it had yet to ring.

The fact that the warehouse had internet at all in itself was a bit of a surprise. Nestled in an older, less savory area of town, the warehouse had been built sometime in the late 1800s, but no one was sure of the exact date. Art himself had ruminated on this a few times before, but was orften interrupted when a passing rain shower would stop overhead and be kind enough to show him where the roof wasn't quite up to snuff. Fortunately his desk was in a drier area, and save a few drips, his head would stay protected from the rain. An ever-present musty smell permeated the building, not enough to be overpowering, but enough to serve as a reminder of its age.

This day was one of those rainy days, a fact unbeknownst to Art when he had first fired up his aging '93 Mazda Miata he had inherited from his late Grandfather's estate. His Grandfather had worked for years saving up for a sports car of his own, but the Miata was a bit of a shocker to anyone who knew him. At 6'4" and a weight appropriate for someone who had enjoyed many an evening with a beer, no one really thought he could even fit in the car. Fit he did though and he drove the car many miles until his passing. For Art however, the little roadster was less aspirational as it was functionally operational. It's once glossy candy red paint now had all the luster of an eraser, and 6 years of dry-rot from where it had sat in a barn the final years of his Grandfather's life gave the car all the protection against the element s of a damp cloth. He usually would bring some rain gear in the event that he needed it, but with how sunny it was that morning Art saw no need for it. By the time he was 10 minutes down the road the situation had changed, and the rain came down in sheets, pooling water in the foot wells.

"Good thing I wore flip-flops today," Art thought to himself. It was time for a new car.

Click. Click. Click. For the hundredth time Art clicked the refresh button. The subject of refreshment? A lightly abused Hyundai Elantra Touring, fresh off of a rental lot. The online auction where the car was listed had no reserve, and 20 other bidders who for various reasons all were quite eager to possess the diminutive Korean hatchback. What should've been a simple sell, the listing had devolved into a war of attrition, and the price of the car was very nearly about to hit 5 digits. Why he kept bidding on the car Art didn't know for sure. The price was dangerously approaching his budget cap, not to mention he'd have to find a way to get traverse two states to pick it up. Maybe it was fatal attraction, but Art kept entrenching himself further in the quest for the car, and it was in the middle of this that a loud ringing filled the warehouse. The ringing startled Art at first, bouncing off the walls it was an unwelcome intrusion, but then he realized it was the blue phone.

One ring, two rings… Never good to appear too eager he thought, and on the third he picked it up, still unsure of what was on the other end.

To be continued...