Boy howdy, I don’t know about y’all, but I’m not gettin’ as many calls from phone creatures here lately as I used to. Of course, my wife Janet did put us on one of those “do not call” lists. I don’t know what’s wrong with that woman.

Phone Creatures are what I call those phone solicitors that call buggin’ you when you’re tryin’ to eat supper, or watchin’ some TV. Janet considers them pests, but I like to have some fun with them.

Well, lo and behold, one finally got through the other night.

“Yellow,” I said into the phone. Nobody said anything back. “Yellow!” I said louder, and then I heard that faint little click that tells you it’s a phone creature.

“Mr. Mitchum,” the creature said. “This is Carly Simmons and I ….”

“Harley Lemmons!” I said. “Boy, where have you been? I done figgered you died, or somethin’. Your voice sure is funny. You ain’t had no operation that I ain’t heared about, have you?”

“No sir,” said the creature. “I’m afraid you’ve made a mistake.”

“Well that’s good,” I said. “Look, you’re gonna have to speak up. I done up and lost my hearin’ aid again. I swear, I just can’t keep up with that thang. Them thangs are expensive, too.

“Why do you figger they’s so high? I mean they ain’t the size of a peanut, but they cost as much as a ridin’ lawn mower. That just don’t seem right, do it Harley. Heck, I’d much rather spend that kind of money on a ridin’ lawn mower or a wood splitter than a little bitty piece of plastic that blows out of my ear every time I sneeze.

“I think that’s what happened to it this time. You see, I was pullin’ a nose hair out, and you know sometimes when you do that it makes you want to sneeze. Well, that’s what it did to me.

“I jerked that hair out, and by the way, it was a good ‘un, too. It was thick, and had a great big root on the end. At least I think it was a root. Anywho, when I jerked that thang out, I felt a sneeze comin’ on.

“Well, I grabbed my nose so’s I wouldn’t blow snot all over the place, and I guess I grabbed too hard, ‘cause when I sneezed, that blamed hearin’ aid shot out of my ear like a bullet. It ricocheted off the walls for what seemed like five minutes. Man, I had to duck a couple of times to keep from gettin’ kilt.

“Anywho, I don’t know where it went. I’ve checked everywhere. Heck, I’ve even been checkin’ the litter box. That blamed cat of my wife’s will eat anything. Say, how’s that purdy wife of yore’s? She ever get that mole on her face looked at?”

“Sir!” the creature yelled. “You’re mistaken! I am calling to ask people to get out and vote!”

“Get out the boat?” I questioned. “Are you crazy, Harley? Look outside. It’s rainin’. Plus I ain’t started that boat since I lost my leg that time water skiin’.”

“You lost your leg water skiing?” asked the creature.

“That’s right. I ain’t seen you since I lost my leg. There I was, skiin’ along, mindin’ my own business, when up pops this big ol’ bass. Hit me right in my left knee.

“Well, that bass snapped that knee joint, and that leg started floppin’. That ski kept hittin’ the water and skippin’ and bouncin’, and started hittin’ me in the back of the head. Man, I was seein’ stars, and everythang. I guess I should have let go of the rope, but I wudn’t thinkin’ too clearly with that ski beatin’ me upside the head and all.

“You know how when you bend a piece of wire back and forth long enough, it’ll finally break. Well, the same thing happened to that leg. It finally broke off at the knee. The ski went one way and the leg went the other.”

“Oh my!” said the creature.

“Yeah,” I said. And I paid good money for that leg, too. It wudn’t wood like my last one. It was high grade plastic. Sunk like a rock. For what that leg cost, I could’ve bought me a nice four-wheeler.”

“Oh,” said the creature, “it was an artificial leg.”

“What?!” I said loudly.

“Mr. Mitchum!” yelled the creature. “I would like to talk to you about our candidate!”

“Did I land it? You talkin’ about the bass? Heck, no I didn’t land it. It just broke my leg off. Harley, I swear, that’s all you think about, fishin’.”

“Never mind,” said the creature, and hung up.

“Heh, heh,” I chuckled, as I hung up the phone. I turned, and there in the door way, as always, was Janet. She was leanin’ up against the door jam, arms crossed, and lookin’ at me with one of “those looks”.

“What?” I asked.

“When are you gonna grow up?” she asked.

“Heck,” I said. “I’m too old to grow up.”

Rusty Mitchum lives in New Harmony, Texas, where he writes a regular column for The Lindale News and Times. He says the only reason he writes is to keep the voices away.