Recently, I purchased a new phone and got a new phone number along with it. I, of course, immediately listed the number on the donotcall.gov site which is managed by the Federal Trade Commission which makes its effectiveness kind of iffy. I also called the 1-888 number provided which also registers your phone number if you call from the phone you wish registered.
I thought I was all set until I got a wrong number call or at least I thought it was a wrong number call.
“May I speak to Mortimer?”
“Sorry, no one here with that name. What number did you call?” I was trying to be helpful.
When it happened again I began to wonder who in this wide world of ours is named Mortimer. The only Mortimer I knew of was Mortimer Snerd, the side kick of Edgar Bergen. (I think I just dated myself.)
After it happened a few more times, I decided to play along.
“May I speak to Mortimer?”
“I’m going to be in town for a few days next week. Can we get together?”
“Sure.” I didn’t have the faintest idea of who I was talking to.
“I’ll be at the Fairmont on the 23rd. If you’re available I’ll call back and let you know the room number.”
“By the way, I’ll bring the ropes and handcuffs. If there’s anything else you’d like to bring, please do.”
“I will – LIKE THE LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT.”
I guessed he would not be calling back on the 23rd. But, the calls kept coming in so, I finally asked. “Where did you get this number?”
“From the ad,” replied one surprised customer.
“Which ad was that?” I had a feeling it was not going to be in The New Yorker.
“Well, I’ve seen it in several magazines. The one that caught my attention was the one where you wrote about being a gymnast and could handle any assignment.”
“Yes, of course. Which magazine was that? I forget.”
“I saw it in Cybersocket.”
“Yes, I remember now. In which other magazines did you see the ad? I’m keeping track of its usage.”
“Well, let’s see. I saw it in Out, Pink, and I think I saw it in Flirt.”
“Oh, yes — Flirt, one of my favorites.” Holy crap! Flirt? My telephone number was in Flirt?
“Your rates are pretty high, but if you are able to do all the things listed, I’m for it.”
“Yes, of course, I have no unsatisfied customer.” I wasn’t telling a lie since I really did not have any clients.
“I’m very happy to hear that. I’m getting exciting just thinking about it.”
Good for you. “Now, regarding the rate.”
As I said, the rates seem pretty high.”
“Tell me what the ad quoted.”
“Well, it said two-fifty an hour or fifteen hundred for the night.”
TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS AN HOUR! Sweet Jesus, what did this guy have to do? “And you were interested in …?”
“I was thinking an hour, to begin with, and if you’re as good as I hope you are, I’ll go for the whole night.”
“I prefer PayPal.”
“That’s no problem. The hotel has Wi-Fi so I can make payment instantly and we can get started. This is very exciting for me.”
“Yes, I can imagine it is. Now about equipment? What would you like me to bring?”
“Well, let’s see. Handcuffs. And clamps if you have them.”
“Okay. Sure. Clamps – I have some.” I wondered what he wanted clamps for.
“Ropes, or I can bring some. I’m pretty good with knots in case you’d like me to tie you up.”
“Sure, why not. Anything else?” When he said ropes, I knew what that clamps were for or at last I think I knew what they were for.
“Lube, of course, but I can bring that. I have some new stuff that smells like new-car-interior. It’s a real blast.”
“I’ll bet it does. I’m always ready for a blast.”
“Do you have a whip? I left mine behind on my last trip.”
“You bet I do.”
“Oh, that would be wonderful. May, I call you Master?”
“No, you may call me Sargent O’Reilly of the San Francisco Police Department. DON’T HANG UP. This call has already been traced. We just need more information on where you are…”
The bastard hung up. I had his number on caller ID and thought of calling him back but assumed he was already freaked out. That would have been mean and I’m not a mean person — just fun loving.
The calls kept coming in as my education grew on how the other half lived. I was being asked to do things I had never heard of. The callers became suspicious when I asked for too many details. You had to be a contortionist to do some of the things requested.
Someone asked me if I was Master Paul. I said yes. The breathing on the other end of the line got so heavy I wondered if they were having some kind of an attack. When they gave a big sigh and thanked me I realized I had been drawn into phone sex without even knowing it.
I answered the phone, “Master Paul” a few times after which the calls really began coming in. There were so many calls I finally let them skip over to the voice mail. In one thirty day period I received three marriage proposals and a five thousand dollar bonus if I would drop everything and fly to Hollywood for an audition. Doing what? I thought.
Rubber and latex were so far beyond me, I would just say no when those requests came up. Leather, on the other hand, I said okay. Hey, I’m not all goodie two-shoes. I have my kinky side — occasionally.
I often wondered about the person who had this phone number before me. I decided he was probably in jail and didn’t need the number any longer. I began to think of the trouble I could get into so, I reluctantly had the phone company give me a new number. They asked me why — I lied. I pitied the poor soul who was assigned that number after me. Probably some little old retired lady who would absolutely befuddle the callers.
Alexander Graham Bell had no idea of what he created — or maybe he did.