Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rusty Pails #26
The Answering Machine

by Rocky Macy

“This here’s Ermine at the Pump and Git. Well, not really…but it’s a recording of me. I’m gone, and Mike ain’t too great at answering phones, or doing much else for that matter, so leave a message after the beep. I’ll call you back sooner or later. Maybe.”


“Yes. This is Agent Fleece of the IRS. We’re looking at a major tax audit unless I hear from you in the next few hours. You can reach me at…” And then I hung up.

Okay, disguising my voice and pretending to be the taxman was a dirty trick – I admit it! But there’s just something downright degrading about carrying on a conversation with an appliance! Who does that Shadetree Mike think he is anyway? J. Paul Rockyfeller?

Shadetree Mike was entertaining us at the Pump and Git’s domino table a few days later with some of his far-fetched fish stories, when he was interrupted in mid-tale by the telephone ringing. “Would you mind getting that, darlin’?” he asked Ermine as she crossed the room carrying a case of motor oil.

“I thought you had an answering machine.” I blurted out.

Mike looked over at me and smiled like he had just solved a crime, leastways a prank. “Oh, we did,” he volunteered. “I bought it in a big box of stuff at an auction. And it was a great little machine, I’ll say that.”

“Oh?” Judge Redbone was swimming in the direction of a baited hook.

“Why it answered the phone, took messages, and even played music like a radio!”

“So?” The Judge was circling dangerously close. “What’s so unusual about that?”

Shadetree Mike spun on. “It had an alarm that woke us up for breakfast and a timer that turned on the coffee pot.”

“But,” I interrupted, knowing better, “if it did all of those things, why did you get rid of it?”

“Had to, Rusty.” The Dean of Dominoes shook his head sadly and continued. “The danged thing had an incurable defect.”

“What?” The Judge and I both bit at once.

“It accepted collect calls!”

Auction Tip: Identify the places in your community that allow sale bills to be posted. Check in at these locations regularly to stay current with the auction activity.

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