The Telephone Call

Now that I've rejoined the literary world, all I can think about is quality literature; reading it, creating it, appreciating it. Uh, yeah.

Because my mind is absolutely transfixed by the power of the word, I thought it might be appropriate to share some of my favorite words with you. Because they're so awesome, you see, not because they have anything to do with anything in my personal life. I don't have time for a personal life! I'm in graduate school, for god's sake.

For this reason alone, I offer you an excerpt from Dorothy Parker's short story "The Telephone Call." I think that Dorothy Parker has a timeless quality; I mean, this story could be printed in Jane and would be very well-receieved. Enjoy.

I mustn't. I mustn't, I mustn't. Oh, God, please don't let me telephone him. Please keep me from doing that. I know, God, just as well as You do, that if he were worried about me, he'd telephone no matter where he was or how many people there were around him. Please make me know that, God. I don't ask YOU to make it easy for me--You can't do that, for all that You could make a world. Only let me know it, God. Don't let me go on hoping. Don't let me say comforting things to myself. Please don't let me hope, dear God. Please don't.

I won't telephone him. I'll never telephone him again as long as I live. He'll rot in hell, before I'll call him up. You don't have to give me strength, God; I have it myself. If he wanted me, he could get me. He knows where I am. He knows I'm waiting here. He's so sure of me, so sure. I wonder why they hate you, as soon as they are sure of you. I should think it would be so sweet to be sure.

It would be so easy to telephone him. Then I'd know. Maybe it wouldn't be a foolish thing to do. Maybe he wouldn't mind. Maybe he'd like it. Maybe he has been trying to get me. Sometimes people try and try to get you on the telephone, and they say the number doesn't answer. I'm not just saying that to help myself; that really happens. You know that really happens, God. Oh, God, keep me away from that telephone. Keep me away. Let me still have just a little bit of pride. I think I'm going to need it, God. I think it will be all I'll have.

Oh, what does pride matter, when I can't stand it if I don't talk to him? Pride like that is such a silly, shabby little thing. The real pride, the big pride, is in having no pride. I'm not saying that just because I want to call him. I am not. That's true, I know that's true. I will be big. I will be beyond little prides. Please, God, keep me from, telephoning him. Please, God.

I don't see what pride has to do with it. This is such a little thing, for me to be bringing in pride, for me to be making such a fuss about. I may have misunderstood him. Maybe he said for me to call him up, at five. "Call me at five, darling." He could have said that, perfectly well. It's so possible that I didn't hear him right. "Call me at five, darling." I'm almost sure that's what he said. God, don't let me talk this way to myself. Make me know, please make me know.

I'll think about something else. I'll just sit quietly. If I could sit still. If I could sit still. Maybe I could read. Oh, all the books are about people who love each other, truly and sweetly. What do they want to write about that for? Don't they know it isn't true? Don't they know it's a lie, it's a God damned lie? What do they have to tell about that for, when they know how it hurts? Damn them, damn them, damn them.

I won't. I'll be quiet. This is nothing to get excited about. Look. Suppose he were someone I didn't know very well. Suppose he were another girl. Then I'd just telephone and say, "Well, for goodness' sake, what happened to you?" That's what I'd do, and I'd never even think about it. Why can't I be casual and natural, just because I love him? I can be. Honestly, I can be. I'll call him up, and be so easy and pleasant. You see if I won't, God. Oh, don't let me call him. Don't, don't, don't.

God, aren't You really going to let him call me? Are You sure, God? Couldn't You please relent? Couldn't You? I don't even ask You to let him telephone me this minute, God; only let him do it in a little while. I'll count five hundred by fives. I'll do it so slowly and so fairly. If he hasn't telephoned then, I'll call him. I will. Oh, please, dear God, dear kind God, my blessed Father in Heaven, let him call before then. Please, God. Please.

Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five....


Crystal said...

oh dear lord Polly, please stop gossiping about my life on your blog! Ha ha. Have you ever heard the song "Please let it be him" by Vicky somebody or other from the sixties? Modeled directly from D. Parker, I believe. I have also lately been under the power of the almighty word. It started when I read the bio of the Mitford sisters, and am now firmly entrenched in the whole Mitford triviata world, and there is so much of it! Am reading In pursuit of love, by Nancy Mitford, next up:Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford. I thoroughly recommend everyone get involved in the Mitford mania!

Derek said...

I LOVE Dorothy Parker! As a matter of fact I have that very copy of the penguin Dorothy Parker. Her theater reviews are what first inspired me to start a blog! Fucking Genius!

margie said...

my dearest polly-wog, for the love of god, stop listening to those nay sayers, they're idiots!!!!!It's your persistent whinning that gets me through the day, why it's almost like I have a twin! And speaking of getting through the day, crystal was close the song was it must be him, by vikki carr, why I know this-I don't know! P.S I'm glad to hear that your making new friends to share your twizzlers with!

Crystal said...

Oh my god Polly, Margie left you a comment! I am so jealous, I never thought we would get her to do it! This is truly a momentous occasion.

squidhelmet said...

Oh please dear sweet God, don't make me slam my nose in the door again. It's still sore from last time. And I have an engagement later.

Dear sweet loving God, if you really want me to slam my nose in the door again, just say so! Just give me a sign Lord. Like you gave Moses or Jesus. I guess you didn't have to give Jesus any signs, because you guys have sort of a 'mind-meld' type thing going on from the whole 'holy triangle' thing. But if you want me to slam my nose in the door, I will, I'm just not sure that's what you want.

Okay. I slammed my nose in the door God. Good and hard too. And right now I'm not totally sure that it's what you wanted me to do. Get back to me. Thanks.

Dear sweet heavenly father of justice and wisdom. If you need me to slam my nose in the door again today, just leave a voicemail. Or a note. Text me. Thx.

God. I'm starting to think that by having me slam my nose in the door every day that you are trying to tell me to kill my parents. If that's not what you're saying, I'm going to need a strong counter-sign from you. Just make something in my room explode or I'll kill my parents.

God, I killed my parents. Don't have much time to talk things are a little crazy. Nose still sore, but in a good way *grin*.