Desert Dial-up: I woke up this morning face down in hot burning sand, lucky for me the ants did not drag me off. But, I was confused because there I was out in the middle of no where and the only thing to be seen is a blue phone booth.
I groaned, the last thing I remembered was a heated debate about whether pineapple belonged on pizza. Now, I was marooned in a desert. Just great. Did I teleport? No, teleportation isn’t even a thing. Must have been the extra pepperoni. At least I wasn’t dreaming. Or was I?
I squinted, the sun was as relentless as a door-to-door salesman. I could already feel the sand turning my face into an overdone pizza crust. And then, in the shimmering heat haze, I spotted the most extraordinary sight. It was a phone booth. A blue one. Painted like it belonged to a Monet piece, standing stoically as if it was the most natural thing in the world to be out here, in the middle of the Sahara’s cousin.
As I stood up, dusting myself off, I couldn’t help but ponder. Who uses phone booths these days? Superman? Had he branched out into intergalactic real estate and was this his new weekend home? Or was it a secret entrance to some alien underground club – ‘Galaxy’s Got Talent’ auditions, maybe?
I approached it cautiously. Half-expecting an alien to pop out, extend a slimy green hand and say, “E.T. phone home?” But, nothing happened. I felt a pang of disappointment, immediately followed by a sense of relief. You never know with these aliens. They could be into pineapple pizza.
On the bright side, it was a shelter. On the even brighter side – I mean literally, it was scorching – I could use it to dial pizza delivery. The only issue being, I was still unsure of the zip code for ‘Middle of Nowhere, Barren Desert’. I mean, do they even deliver here?
And then, a chilling thought crept into my mind. Did they have any network here? My survival depended on the eternal rivalry between AT&T and Verizon, it seemed. The stakes were never higher, or more ridiculous.
Feeling as though I was living out a bizzare crossover between ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Survivor’, I decided to brave the elements and inspect the phone booth more closely. Strangely enough, it was as cool as a cucumber inside, a welcome change from the relentless desert sun. I flopped onto the phone booth floor, enjoying the respite.
Taking a deep breath, I picked up the phone, half expecting to hear the laughter of prankster aliens on the other end. But there was only silence. I tried dialing. 9-1-1? Maybe not. Pizza Hut? Worth a shot. What was that number again? 1-800-NO-PINEAPPLE? As I contemplated this, a soft but mechanical voice echoed from the phone, “Please enter your galaxy coordinates.”
I laughed so hard, I nearly fell out of the booth. Galaxy coordinates? I barely remembered my home zip code!
The sun was starting to set, or maybe rise again, it was hard to tell. And then, my stomach rumbled ominously, as though reminding me of my mortal predicament. Not to be outdone, my parched throat felt like the Mojave desert’s less popular cousin.
With nothing else to do, I started pressing random numbers. Maybe, just maybe, I’d get lucky. Maybe I’d get through to a confused but kind-hearted pizza delivery guy, who’d take pity on a stranger lost in the desert, teleport to my location, and hand me a big, juicy, pineapple-free pizza.
A minute passed, then two. Just when I thought I’d have to start munching on phone cords, the soft voice came back, “Teleporting… please hold.”
The booth started to shake. Lights flickered. I felt a whooshing sensation, and before I could say ‘extra cheese’, the desert landscape was replaced by the familiar view of my neighborhood.
I stumbled out of the booth, now parked casually on my front corner yard. My neighbors would have a field day with this.
Was this all real? Or was it a pepperoni-induced dream? I wasn’t sure. But one thing was certain. I was home. And I still didn’t have pizza.
And as I walked towards my front door, I glanced back at the now perfectly ordinary-looking phone booth, and chuckled. Next time I wanted a pizza, I decided, I’d stick to regular delivery.
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Thoughts & Ideas, Joseph Kravis 🙂
Categories: Thoughts and Ideas