Parting Glances: Plotting Debra’s dialysis

Charles Alexander
By | 2018-01-16T12:27:59-04:00 January 24th, 2007|Opinions|

It began months ago with a friendly call, cellphone received, 9:00 a.m., “May I speak to Debra S—-, please.”
“There’s no Debra S—– here,” I reply, groggy from a Monday’s oversleep, wondering how the caller, a collection agent, got my number.
A day or so later he chimes back. I repeat politely I’ve never known Debra, was not about to make a belated acquaintance, and that, further, he’s calling a new cellphone number, judiciously shared only among a handful of 750-plus-points, three bureau, credit rated friends. (I fudge a little.)
“Please take my word. I live alone. I don’t know ANY Deb-ruhh. Honestly.”
Three days later another call. Different guy. “Who’s calling,” I ask with a tone of richly arched, dinnertime annoyance. “This is so-and-so at such-and-such collection agency. Are you sure you don’t know Debra S—–? Your number’s a reference.”
“Look. I’ve explained twice that I haven’t a clue in heaven or Hackensack who this deadbeat is. Stop calling.” A week later, a new credit pest. Same third degree. “This is ridiculous. Are you guys dense, or what? Let me speak to your boss. IMMEDIATELY!” I bark.
This go-around I’m out-proud direct, “Now listen closely. I want you to emphatically understand that I don’t know Debbie. Period. I’m single. I’m a gay man. G-A-Y! I don’t have a wife, a mistress, or a gold-digger girlfriend who I foolishly cosigned my life away for. Just me and memories.
“But I’ll tell you this [Mr. Dumb-Dumb]: I’m going to keep track of these calls, and, if need be I’ll get an attorney. This is harassment.” “Sorry,” he says blankly, and hangs up.
Satisfied I made my point, I enter date, time, comments. Three weeks go by. It starts again. Novel variation: a woman who, hunkering for Debra, says she’s with a kidney dialysis office, calling urgently about a missed appointment. “I’m quite sure Deb-BRA doesn’t have a salvageable kidney left,” I comment testily, click off, now adding the undercover spy to my hit list.
It takes a half dozen chime ins (including two 925 California calls) before my gay fuse short circuits. “Alright, if you must know the horrible, shameful, embarrassing, goddawful truth about my common-law wife, who’s pregnant, she’s in Oakland County Jail for murder!”
Having joyfully, gleefully, ecstatically, bare-facedly lied, I then and there do a sensible thing: change numbers. $30 fee waived, due to untoward circumstances. [Should any PG reader hear that Debba-do-do’s free on $1 million bond, keep it to yourself. She’s more trouble than she’s worth — in or out of dialysis.]
JOURNAL ENTRY #2: Dinner at Bob Evans, with reminders I’m getting older much too quickly. The menu carries Bob’s picture (1909 – 2007). On the wall hangs another memento mori. Framed. World Champion Detroit Baseball Team. 1887. With handlebar mustaches waxed, short-sleeved biceps flexed, the players are dashing, heroic. But sadly long vanished forever.
Across from me sit two older guys. 60+ I’m sure. A third, back to me, seems older. He’s verbally feisty, but frail. Body language, voices say they’re gay. When leaving one helps the oldest who walks slowly, slowly, slowly with a cane. I stop the third who lingers to leave a tip, “How old’s your friend?” “105,” he says, with a courtly Virginian accent. “Been interviewed twice on TV. Still loves travlin’. Thanks for asking. My partner and I are his ‘folks’. He keeps us on our dancin’ toes. Yes — sigh — we should live so long.” [My days to go: 26,663.]

About the Author:

Charles Alexander