The Cell Phone Story

The Farewell
The Return
Thanks and Dedication


Someone spilled blood many years ago
Someone spilled blood but do you know
That from the backwoods where the Chuck Berrys grow
Come your long, tall daddies of rock and roll
Take me to your backwoods now

Trembling fingers are finally dialing digits that feel foreign and lonely as she taps out the number. She's uncertain, unfeeling, tentative; she's confident only in the knowledge that she didn't want to call, but needed to call. Necessity is dialing the number for her.


Surely he'll understand. The absence of his voice for the past five days is enough to make her do crazy things like dialing his number at two o'clock in the afternoon. Crazy, stupid things, because she's sure he's not going to pick up, and she'll just get his manager, and all of this business of trying to talk to him for a mere minute will have been a complete waste of everyone's time.


Including hers. Including his.


One sharp intake of breath, and she can feel her nerves unraveling.


He isn't going to answer the phone. His manager isn't going to answer the phone. She's going to get his answering machine and feel inclined to leave a message, and then she'll end up sounding exactly like all of the whiny girlfriends he's had and hated in the past.


She's ready for the answering machine. She's ready to be the cool, calculating, doting-but-not-hopelessly-devoted girlfriend that he needs her to be.



"S-sorry. I must have the wrong number."

A pause, and then... "Sam? Sam, is that you?"

Somewhere, she can hear the faint sound of her brain flatlining. "Yeah. Yeah, it's me. Listen, Irving, I'm sorry to bother you, but is he there?"

"Who, Nick?"

No, not Nick. I called to talk to Tommy fucking Lee! Isn't this his number? "Yeah. Yeah, Nick."

"Oh." Another pause. "Is this an emergency or something?"

"Not...not really. I just hadn't heard from him in a few days, and..."

"Wait. Sam? He's coming. Just a second."

She covers her face with her hands, knowing that he's going to be pissed because she bothered him in the middle of the day, wanting him to miss her as much as she misses him, knowing that he never could.


She closes her eyes, hoping to memorize the sound of his voice in case he chooses not to call for the next five days. "Hey."


Her eyebrows can barely climb fast enough. "Forgotten me already?"


"Oh, I've just been busy. What's up?"

"I was hoping you could tell me. I hadn't heard from you in awhile, so I thought I'd start picking up my end of the long-distance bill."

"Gotcha." A pause in which the silence is enough to suffocate the both of them, but it doesn't. Not yet, at least. There are nine months left in the tour and they are determined to survive. "Listen, babe, can I call you back? This is a really bad time."

"Really? I'm sorry. I just...I'll let you go."

Shit. And it's quickly becoming the word of the day. Soon, the word of the year, he's sure of it.

"I'm glad you called, I'm just in the middle of a photo shoot right now, and they want me back in front of the camera."

"Of course." She should've known. She did know, and she hates how much she doesn't care.

He flinches at her tone of voice. Mentally, he's crawling back into the dog house, hoping their Labrador retriever won't mind sharing the space with him.

"Will you be home later tonight?"

Of course I'll be home. I'm always home. Where else do I have to go? "Sure."

"Great. Super. I'll give you a call tonight, then."

"Great. Super."

He knows that she's mimicking him, but he doesn't have the time and she doesn't have the patience.

"Until tonight, then."

"Until tonight." A pause in which uncertainty takes over, and then... "Love you."

"Yeah. Yeah, me too."


He rushes to the front of the camera, and she forces herself to listen to the sound of the dial tone.

lyrics and music by the Red Hot Chili Peppers