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  • A short tale of life in rural Virginia

    Some years back, my sister had been down at the county landfill, working lots of overtime since she'd split up with her husband.

    Her neighbor had a key to her place for emergencies—she was pregnant and phone-less, and back then you couldn't pick up a phone at Rite-Aid.

    Late one Thursday afternoon, a woman knocked on the neighbor's door. She seemed shaken, distraught.

    "May I please use your phone?"

    The neighbor let the pregnant woman into my sister's trailer. She used the phone, then drove away.

    When my sister got home from work, her answering machine had eleven threatening messages from a strange man on it.

    "You bitch, I know my wife is there. I'll kill you if you don't get her back here."

    The other ten messages were pretty much the same.

    The sheriff came out with a deputy and they listened to the recording of the man ranting on. He'd left his name and phone number.

    "Ma,am, we'll go and pay him a visit, but you might want to change your phone number, just in case."

    The deputy took my sister aside.

    "Miss," he said, "do you know how to use that Colt you've got?"

    "Yes," she responded. "My dad taught me how before he gave it to me."

    "Well, if this caller shows up, don't be afraid to use it. But after you've used it, drag him into the trailer and bash the shit out of your lock like he's broken and entered."

    She didn't hear from the man again but she practiced some with the Colt. Her long-distance got turned back on when she changed her number.

    She hoped that woman got away from her asshole husband, but sure wished she'd done it from a pay phone.
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