Hello, once again. I mentioned a freaky experience with a telephone I had a few years ago in an earlier post. One of the newsgroup's readers, who is an extremely nice guy, asked me to tell it so, here it is.

After college graduation, my friend, who I will call Andy, got a job in Jacksonville, Florida. He invited me to come down to his new apartment while he was moving in. I'm a bad, overly blunt interviewee, so I didn't have a job and anything to do, so I said, why not? Andy and I stayed with some friends in Jacksonville for a few days as he couldn't move in the new apartment until a Tuesday about a week away. Tuesday arrived, and we started moving his meager belongings in the apartment. We worked throughout the day straightening up the home. About 8PM that night, Andy said, "I forgot to hook the phone up." So, he hooked it up right then. As soon as he put the plug in the wall, the phone started ringing really loud. I told him to turn down the ringer as he went to answer to it. He said that it was on low ring already, something must be wrong with it. He gave the standard hello when he answered it. An elderly lady on the other end said, "I need to speak to Arthur." Andy said, "I'm afraid you have a wrong number." The lady said, "I know I don't. Let me speak to Arthur." Once again, he told her she had a wrong number. The lady started yelling, "I want to speak to Arthur!" over and over. Andy then hung the phone up. A split second later, it started with that deafening ring again. Andy answered again. Same woman on the other end. She did the whole routine again...."I need to speak to Arthur." calmly at first, then got irate. Andy hung up again.

The phone started ringing louder and more incessantly. Andy refused to answer it....said something about ‘that old lady is driving me crazy.’ I agreed to answer it, telling Andy the woman was probably senile and confused. So, I answered it. Same thing as before...."I need to speak to Arthur." I told her Arthur didn't live there.” She said, "Yes, he does. Let me speak to him now!" I tried to rationalize with her, telling her my friend had just moved in, was there anyone with her who could help her. She said, "I'm all alone, I need to speak to Arthur." Finally, I gave up and asked her not to call again. I then hung up. The phone started ringing again immediately. So, we unplugged it. Andy and I started talking for a few minutes, then the ringing started again from the unplugged phone. I know both of our faces drained of blood at that instant. Andy refused to answer it. The damned thing rang about 50 times and the ringing kept getting louder and louder. I finally took about 75 deep breathes and answered it. I said Hello. Same old lady on the other end demanding to speak to Arthur. I managed to say, "We can't help you. Don't call here again, please." before I broke down from fright. I hung up then and put the phone in a drawer in the bedroom. . Damned thing started ringing again. We got out of there quick like and went back to our friends' house.

The next day Andy said, "I can't live there. I will go insane." So, we went to the rental office. Andy had some lame story about not being comfortable there that he told them. As we were leaving, I asked the agent if she knew anyone named Arthur. She replied that Arthur was an elderly gentleman who had lived in the same apartment. He had died about a month before. His wife had died the previous year. His family had to clear out his belongings, that's why Andy couldn't rent immediately. We left, Andy found another apartment and threw the phone in the St. John's River. Since the advent of caller ID, I've often wondered what would have shown up on the display when the elderly lady called.

I had one other experience with Andy and an elderly "lady" that I'll tell later. I sometimes think that Andy might have missed his calling as a gigolo....hard to do with the dearly departed though!