Wrong Number - Lucian Bane


“Oh thank God, thank God you answered! I was thinking you’d closed and then I remembered you don’t close, you stay open twenty-four hours for people like me.”

David sat up in bed, blinking the sleep and confusion from his mind while trying to place the gushing female voice. “Who… what…”

“It’s Becky!” She said it like some dreadful confession. “I’m so sorry. I mean I’m not sorry. No apologies, I remember. I think I overdosed.”

David shot out of the bed, ready to grab hold of this stranger’s hand and save them. Who Becky was or how he knew her was irrelevant.

Still his brain cycled through faces at a staggeringly slow pace while she rattled on in near hysterics. “Slow down,” David injected. “Take a breath. What did you take?”

“Ibuprofen and Tylenol,” she wrenched out with dread.

“How much?”

“Like… twice the dose of a child! Which is a lot for me, I’m only a hundred and twenty pounds and my heart is racing.”

“Wait… a child? You overdosed on children’s Ibuprofen?”

“AND Tylenol!” she cried. “Together! You’re supposed to wait like two hours and I-I took it like… fifteen minutes apart.” She shot out three quick breaths. “My heart is clenching. I can’t tell if I’m having a panic attack or a heart attack. Oh my God, I’m pacing, I’m pacing, and I’m trying to walk it off like you said. What if it’s a heart attack this time?”

Like he’d said? David’s mind somersaulted with particulars now—who was Becky, children’s Tylenol, and why she’d possibly have a heart attack. “Do you have a heart condition?”

“And then I drank a lot of water,” she went on, not hearing him. “Like a gallon. And I remembered about water intoxication and thought I should make myself vomit, do you think I should? Please help me.” The tiny words squeaked out as desperate as they could get and David was back to the ‘fix it’ point, whatever the problem was. Only he wasn’t sure how in this case.

“Have you called 911?”

“What?” she cried horrified. “No! No of course not! Why?”

Why? “Because you think you overdosed,” he explained carefully, suspecting this woman might not be playing with a full deck of cards.

“You’re saying to call 911?” Her shrill tone indicated a sharp increase in panic. “Oh my God, oh my God. You think this is a heart attack this time?”

“Becky, Becky,” David called out, pacing before his bed. “Who did you want to call? When you called me?”

“What do you mean? What are you saying? Oh my God, I have dots. Blue dots. I’m dizzy with blue dots, what does blue mean?” she rattled in frantic doom.

“Where are you?” David thought to ask in case he was wrong and she was in actual danger.

“I’m home,” she wailed. “Alone. My cat is acting weird.” She panted at a hyperventilating pace. “She senses something is wrong, they can sense when things are wrong with their owners!”

“Becky, you’re scaring the cat, try to calm down.” By now, David was wide awake and torn between perturbed and amused, because clearly this Becky was under the assumption he was somebody he wasn’t. Best guess, she’d meant to call some hotline and mis-dialed in her panic. “Becky, take some deep breaths. What’s your address?”

She sucked in a measured deep breath and let it out, repeating the procedure, half crying on every exhale.

“Becky what’s your address, do you have a neighbor?”

“I have neighbors but you know I can’t go to them. Are you new?” she shrilled, like she’d lose her shit at the idea.

“Okay, okay, stop… stop breathing so much.”

“But I’m supposed to breathe!”

“Becky, that’s not breathing,