MESSAGES

*Published in Swivel Magazine

Molly walks into her apartment. Her answering machine blinks, telling her that she has messages. She walks over to the machine and presses “play”.

ANSWERING MACHINE

You have fourteen messages. First message.

LANDLORD

Hey Molly. This is Dan. Regarding the bathtub drain neither retaining water nor reliquishing it; if you’re sitting in the tub, facing the drain, there’s a little tiny knob at the bottom right-hand side that if you feel carefully for, you can press in and move up at the same time that you’re holding onto the actual faucet where the water comes from. Regarding the water draining out, what you basically have to do is reverse what you did with the release-pull that same knob now to the other side and then prop it open with a small object. I use the corkscrew side of a small Swiss Army knife that was my son’s. It was the only thing, along with his skull, that the coyotes left of him last summer. Now you had another question...oh yes, about getting screens to keep the mosquitoes out. The trick is to only open your doors when the mosquitoes aren’t out which is between the hours of four and five, sometimes up until six o’clock in the summertime. And the hot water-there’s always more than enough before dawn which is when I like to get up. So don’t forget to attach the increase in rent to your check this month and keep your eye out for rattlesnakes as we’re entering the season. Bye Molly.

ANSWERING MACHINE

5:00 P.M.

BEEP

LANE

Hey Molly, it’s Lane. Looks like low tide is...ah...let’s see here, at about one o’clock tomorrow afternoon which is right about the time the winds come up so we’re probably gonna be screwed. Maybe you wanna just hang out back at my place instead. I’d love to continue that conversation we were having the other day about intimacy-I know you said that you just wanted to be friends but I feel like you’re just scared. And I understand that. I mean, I’ve been through two divorces, three kids, AA, I’ve fractured my hip, undergone a heart transplant, life ain’t no bowl of roses for any of us. Maybe you were being honest when you said you didn’t want to go surfing because of the recent shark attacks, but maybe it’s the destructive creation of your “fantasy bond” linked to the psychological defenses formed in your early childhood that’s making you pull away. So call me.

ANSWERING MACHINE

5:25 P.M.

BEEP

JASON

Hey Molly. It’s Jason. Your old pal Jason who had a crush on you in French class. I’m in New York and I was thinking about you-wondering how you’re doin’. I just stopped by The Creek and saw Will and Johnny Destruction. They send their love. Holla back.

ANSWERING MACHINE

6:10 P.M.

BEEP

EVELYN

Hi. Molly. This is Evelyn. I have Richard Weintraub on the line for you. Richard-would you like to leave a message?


RICHARD

I would Evelyn.

SOUNDS OF A PHONE LINE CLICKING OFF.

RICHARD (CONT’D)

Molly! How ‘ya doin’? Listen, give me a call when you get a chance. My home number is 310-456-4426. My cell is 310-499-8785. My direct office line is 310-288-4382. The main number is 310-288-4388. I’ll be in my jet this evening on the way to location. Those digits are 242-799-4387. I wanted to talk to you about that story you told me re: the cross-dressing surf shop owner. The bad news is that I’m actually in the middle of developing a TV show of the very same premise. It’s called Good Cop/Bi Cop, and it’s about a surf shop owner who’s also an undercover cop and likes to wear women’s knickers. Maybe you’d be interested in doing some writing on it. Let’s talk.

ANSWERING MACHINE

6:45 P.M.

BEEP

HOLLY

Mollster! It’s Holly! I know you’re a great fucking writer girl! I’ve never read anything you’ve written but Tim found some story you wrote, I think it was on my desk at the party and he tore off a piece of it to do a line and then started to read it and said it was like, the greatest fucking thing he’d ever read in his entire life! Something about a pair of pants and a girl getting locked in a store with a bunch of Juicy Couture outfits? (She cracks up) Fucking Juicy man! So let’s meet someplace where we can talk, you know, drink fucking cocktails and figure this shit out. You’re the bomb, Babe. Call me. Ciao!

ANSWERING MACHINE

7:08 P.M.

BEEP

SANDIE

Hey Molly. This is Sandie and Joe calling. When’re you coming back to San Francisco? We wanted to talk further to you about the possibility of your carrying our baby. I really think the idea of the three of us having a relationship would make it so much fun, and what could be better for a child then to be loved by a mother and a father, and another mother? Anyway, I’d love to sit down and discuss the logistics. Like, maybe you wanna move here and we can get a bigger apartment and all three live together. Because I think that a kid splitting his or her time between two homes can be really traumatic-especially in the formative years. Anyway, we were sorry to see that you had left when we woke up the other morning. I guess you had to catch your flight home but I thought it was later...anyway-call us when you get a chance. OK. Bye.

ANSWERING MACHINE

8:00 P.M.

BEEP

JASON (Drunk)

Mollllllllllyyyyyy! I forgot where we used to live. I was on my way to Pastis and I remembered that we had a place nearby here somewhere so I hopped out of the cab to see the old pad but I can’t find it. I think I’m lost. Maybe you can call me back and tell me where I went wrong. Literally and figuratively. Hey-listen-I want that painting back I did of you. For you. I dunno. I really liked it and it’s not Indian Giving if I made it and gave it to you because if you create it, I think it’s always yours, you know? Like our love. We created it and so, it’s like, both of ours and you can’t take it away from me no matter how many other guys you-FUCK YOU! JESUS CHRIST! Not you. That wasn’t to you. This fucking guy just swerved like he was trying to avoid a-oh. There’s a deer in the road. There’s a deer on Little West Twelfth Street. Something’s going on here. Aren’t you supposed to charge when you see a deer? I forget. Well, I’ll just sit here and wait him out. He’s really quite majestic looking. You’d like him. He kind of reminds me of you...magical...and deer-y...

ANSWERING MACHINE

9:30 P.M.

BEEP

BRIAN

Molly! I killed the orchids. I don’t know what happened. I soaked them in a tub of water overnight and when I woke up in the morning, they were dead. Anyway....where’d you get that cheese? I think it was cheddar. I ate it all. And four of your eggs and I finished off that pint of vodka. It was good. I mixed it with your pomegranate juice and what was left of your o.j.. Oh! A bunch of us are gonna watch The Wizard Of Oz on mute to Dark Side of The Moon tonight-it’s supposed to synch up so if you’re home, do join! Late!

ANSWERING MACHINE

12:00 A.M.

BEEP

SOUNDS OF THE CITY, MUSIC, TAXIS, PEOPLE WALKING, ETC.

JASON (Slurring)

Hey Molly...this is Jason...Jason JasonJason...Uhhhhhhh....I miss you...I’m out, uh, here in New York...I think I already told you that...but I’m thinkingabout you....thinking...about...you.............

THE SOUND OF THE TRAIN SCREECHES OVER HIS NEXT WORDS

JASON (CONT’D) (Big breath)

You know, your answering machine message says you’ll get back to me as soon as you can...Molly....you’re such a liar...you could have gotten back to me by now.

ANSWERING MACHINE

12:40 A.M.

BEEP

MOM

Hi Sunshine! It’s Mom. I couldn’t sleep so I came down to the basement and was looking through some old photo albums and I found this picture of you in a Rainbow Brite outfit from the Palmetto Day Parade. You have the biggest smile on your face.

PAUSE

MOM (CONT’D)

I stopped therapy. Actually, my therapist fired me. But I’m feeling a lot better now since Paul started on dexfenfluramine-it makes him sleepy and apparently causes brain damage in monkeys, but as long as he’s happy... Oh-here’s one of you standing in front of the rehab when we went to pick Charlie up.  He looks so skinny. And you-you look so happy to see your brother. And there’s you and me waving goodbye to dad when he went on that trip to Honduras by himself. Well, he said by himself but of course you and I both know he was with that whore Cyndi. Watch out for your friends Molly. They’ll stab you in the back every chance they get. I love you, Baby.

ANSWERING MACHINE

2:10 A.M.

BEEP

THE PHONE RINGS

MOLLY'S VOICE

Hey. You’ve reached Molly. Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

THE SOUND OF SOMEONE CLEARING THEIR THROAT.

THE SOUND OF A GUITAR STRUMMING.

JASON (Singing-wasted)

I knew I’d miss her. So I had to keep her. She’s buried right in my backyar-ar-ar-ar-ard. Molly...I wish I could bury you in my backyard. But I don’t have a backyard. (Singing again) I used to love her. But I had to kill her. She’s buried right in my el-e-va-tor shaft! (Switching songs) Shaft! He’s a complicated man. No one understands him but his woman. John Shaft!

Molly reaches out and gently presses:

ANSWERING MACHINE

Message. Erased.

BEEP

ANSWERING MACHINE (CONT’D)

End. Of. Messages.