Rusty Mitchum

Rusty Mitchum

Man, for a while there I thought the phone creatures had taken me off their list. I haven’t talked to one in a few weeks. Believe it or not, I sort of missed them.

Phone Creatures, for you out there that haven’t ever read this junk I write, is what I call those telemarketers who call, buggin’ you to buy something. Well, one finally called the other day.

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

“Mr. Mitchum, please,” the female creature said.

“Speak up!” I said in my old man voice. “I’m a hard of hearin’! My hearin’ aid is on the blink. The battery ran down, and I tried to jump it off. Don’t ever try that when you’re still wearin’ the blame things. I did. It blowed a mucus plug the size of my thumb out of my sinus cavity. I smelled things I ain’t smelled in years. That’s when I decided to start wearin’ deodorant, you know.”

“Is this Mr. Mitchum?” the creature asked a little louder.

“You got ‘em,” I said.

“Mr. Mitchum, how would you like to spend a weekend in Branson?” asked the creature.

“What’s that,” I said. “You think my rear end is handsome?”

“Oh no sir!” the creature exclaimed. “Branson, Missouri!”

“You don’t have to yell. I heard you the first time. Who is this anyway? Is this Melba? Heh, heh. It is you, ain’t it Melba. I knew it. I saw you checkin’ me out at that last covered dish supper.”

“Sir! This is not Melba!”

“Ha! You can’t fool me. It’s you all right. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. A woman your age, checkin’ out an old man’s rear end.

“No sir! I’m calling you about a free trip to Branson!”

“Hold on a minute,” I said to the creature, and then I moved my mouth away from the phone.

“Hey Maw!” I yelled. “Come git this dog. He’s a gnawin’ on Daddy’s leg again!”

“I swear,” I said to the creature. “You can’t set Daddy down anywhere anymore then that blame dog don’t start gnawin’ on him. I guess I’m gonna have to break down and buy him one of them there chew toys. Uh, where were we? Oh yeah, you was tellin’ me how handsome my rear end is.”

“The dog chews on your father?” the creature asked.

“What!”

“Did you say the dog chews on your father?!”

“Well, it ain’t as bad as it sounds. Both of ‘em are purdy old. And neither one of them’s got no teeth. The dog gnaws on Daddy, and then daddy’ll gnaw on the dog. Sometimes it’s down right entertainin’.”

“Uh … oh, I see,” said the creature.

“What!” I yell.

“Sir! May I talk to your wife?” asked the creature.

“My wife? Well, OK Melba, but don’t tell her what you think of my rear end. She’s the jealous sort.” I then move my mouth away from the phone and yelled, “Maw! Melba wants to talk to you!”

“I wait a few moments and then talk back to the creature in my old woman’s voice.

“Hello Melba,” I said sweetly. “It’s so nice of you to call.”

“Mrs. Mitchum, this is not Melba.” I could hear the tension in her voice.

“It’s not?” I said.

“No ma’am. I’m calling to see if you and your husband would like a free trip to Branson.”

“A free trip?”

“Yes ma’am, a free trip.”

“Oh that would be nice. Can we bring my father-in-law along? We’re scared to leave him alone with the dog. Ol’ blue might gum him to death.”

“Uh, well, the trip is only for two,” she said.

Then I held the phone far enough away so I’d sound like I was across the room, and in my old man’s voice yelled, “Don’t believe her if she says anything about my rear end!”

“Be quiet Paw,” I said sweetly. “You’ll have to excuse him. He’s a little hard of hearing, you know.”

“No kidding,” said the creature.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Oh nothing,” she said. “Now if you are interested in the free trip to Branson….” I cut her off.

“You’ll have to talk to Paw about that,” I said. “I’ll get him.”

“No!” yelled the creature.

“Yellow!” I said, back in my old man’s voice. “Melba, you still there?”

“Yeah,” sighed the creature. “I’m here.”

“Look,” I said. “You’re just gonna have to forget about me. I know it’ll be hard, me with these buns of steel and all, but I just think it’ll be for the best.”

“You know,” said the creature. “I think you’re right.”

“What’d you say?”

“Nothing!” she yelled. “Have a good day,” and she hung up.

“Heh, heh,” I laughed as I hung up the phone and turned around.

Yep, you guessed it. There was my wife Janet, standing in the doorway with her arms crossed. She had that look on her face. You know that look. It’s the one wives develop, usually on the second day of marriage.

“What?” I asked.

“Buns of steel?” she questioned. “Give me a break. It’s more like head of full of steel. Idiot.”

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.