"File room. Allan speaking."
"Hi! Hi! Hi! How are ya? How come you never call me anymore?"
"Oh. Fancy. Hi. I'm fucking great. I never call you, ever. You call me, is how it works...how did you get this number anyway?"
"Nevermind that. I have some news that you are dying to tell me, don't I?"
"Fancy, there is a reason that I never call you. It's because you rarely make any sense."
" Oh, don't be so dense. You know what I'm talking about, don't you?"
I did, but I didn't want to make it that easy for her, so I played dumb, waiting for her to go on. She didn't say anything.
Sometimes she doesn't have to.
"Do you mean the new job that I'm trying to get?", I asked as a diversion," they seemed totally gung-ho last week, the Firm checked my references; they even told my old boss that I was their leading candidate, so I placed a follow-up call this morning and was told that they weren't making a decision until at least June 30th, which sorta contradicts what I was told last week..."
"Oh, you silly man. I don't mean the job. I mean the other thing. You know."
Jaysus. I knew exactly what she meant. How much does she know, I wondered to myself.
"Oh...right. You know about that? ", I queried lamely. Fancy has a way of knowing things about me. I have long ago learned to stop questioning the how of it.
"Well, I know the general details, but I wanna hear more. I'm nosy like that."
"Um. OK. I have this friend, right? And we have been..."
"Ooo! Oooo!", interrupted Fancy,"Is it a girl? It's a girl, isn't it? Oooo!"
"Well, yes...as I was saying, we have been writing and talking for almost a year and a half..."
"Oooo! You like her, don't you?"
I'm never going to finish this sentence. This must be what it is like to talk to me, I thought.
"Yes, I do like her. A lot. Unlike you, she brings out the good in me."
Fancy let my little jab pass and proceeded with her typically intrusive questioning. I did my best to answer without embarassing myself. After a few minutes she paused, mulling over what I had told her.
Then she laughed for nearly a full minute. I could feel my ears turning red.
"Hhahahaa...you hung her picture up on your desk? That's priceless! You are such a softie. And those other things you did? Man, that's...well, you have it bad, is all I'm saying. I wish someone would *edited* and *edited* for me. How come you never *edited* a *edited* for me?"
"Honestly? Because I don't like you very much."
"Oh, poo. We both know that isn't true. You can't live without me."
"OK. I'll concede the latter point. But that doesn't mean that I like you."
"Suuurrre....", she drawled, mocking me,"still, I can't believe that you * edited* a * edited* for her..."
Oh, man. Was that too much? It felt like the right thing to do. Fancy was making me nervous.
"Uh, would you stop mentioning that? It's supposed to be a surprise and this is a public blog. I'm getting tired of editing your remarks...and, uh, er, um...do you think I did OK with it?"
"OK? I'd say so! I'm actually really jealous of her. And of you. It's so sweet that I think I'm going into diabetic shock."
Christ, I thought, my imaginary friend is making fun of me.
"Geez, Fancy", I said, " I told a real friend and they were happy for me-for us. The least you can do is stop making retching sounds, ya know?"
"Oh, I'm just having fun. Don't be so sensitive. Besides, you know what's going to happen, don't you?"
Then she told me. Her words sounded quite familiar.
"Fancy, that's mighty strange," I replied, "only a few people know the whole story and they all say the same thing."
"Ha! I knew it! It scares you, doesn't it?"
"No", I lied.
"Liar. You can't lie to me. I know you too well."
" Yeah, yeah...OK. It terrifies me. A little. My friend feels the same way. We have talked about it."More laughter. When did Fancy develop a sense of humor?
"What the fuck", I felt compelled to ask," is so goddamned funny?"
"You know what I just told you? Some people spend their entire lives wishing for that. You? For you, it's your deepest fear. That's kinda crazy, if you ask me."
"I didn't ask. And yeah, it is a little crazy. So what?"
"So nothing. I'm just jealous, is all. Now I know why you never call me anymore."
"Fancy," I repeated, "I never call you. You call me...that is how it works."
"Well", she huffed," you be that way. Someday you'll come looking for me and I won't be around."
"Somehow I doubt that."
"Doubt which part?", she asked, "that you'll look for me or that I won't be around?"
"Both", I answered, hanging up.