Story Go Round 10/24/2010, #1

The Bluetooth from Beyond

(pre-titled by Terry)

Mike felt so successful and slick with his own catering business, running around, filling orders – that is, until the day he heard the voice from his earpiece.

Mike heard voices in his head – he was a real talker and even with his mouth closed, he liked to talk to somebody, but this voice, this deep soothing voice, was new. It felt different, like flies buzzing at the window. Like it wanted out, somehow.

“Let me out,” said the voice.

“Excuse me?” Mike said, tapping the earpiece. “Did you want to place an order?”

“Please,” the voice purred, “I need to escape this prison–“

Mike cut back in, “I’ve never catered a jail break before, but I don’t see–“

“I’ve been here, alone, for a thousand years.”

Mike paused. “Okay, so you’re really hungry. I still need to know what you want to order.”

The voice paused. “I want to order your help.”

Mike explained that he needed a minimum $50 order, name, address, and delivery time. So the person ordered 10 cordon bleu meals, a large bowl of taco salad, and a bottle of cheap wine. Then he sent it to a remote home on the top of Cracksmore Hill, where all those disappearances happened.

Everything will be fresh and delicious, Mike thought with pride, then carried on with the other conversations in his head and the phone call with his wife. At night he slept with his Bluetooth on. He stopped showering. His wife would find notes and lists and ingredients scrawled all over the walls, revealing an unsettling obsession with freshness and a predilection for strange meats.

“Mikey,” she said, “I’m worried about you. You’re not talking to yourself, and when that happens you want to interrupt my soaps and talk to me. You need to become your old OLD, solipsistic self again. Deliver more, make recipes less.

But Michael didn’t listen when Sheila called him Mikey. Mikey could mollify her. Michael was on the verge of a meal they would call his masterpiece and he had no time for any of them. Mike still helped him sometimes, but mostly it was just him and the Voice. You see, the Voice still talked to Michael, even though Mike couldn’t hear it. Mike just thought they were hangups, but the truth was that Michael answered those calls. And it was Michael who brought the delivery to the remote house, though Mike opened the door, when no one answered the knock.

“Hello? Anyone home?”

But Michael knew exactly where to go.

He found the basement and immediately began to set up tablecloths, cloth napkins folded into strange shapes, fine china patterned in marks that looked like skulls. Mike protested, but Michael couldn’t hear him anymore.

When all was ready, Michael pulled out their phone, took a deep breath, and hit Redial.