Image Source: Neil Perkin

The line went dead, and the wind and soul exploded out of Bill’s stomach. He stood in the booth, listening to the dial tone, not believing. Not accepting. She couldn’t have just done that.

Couldn’t have.

He dropped another coin in the slot and dialed her number again.

daah-daah-daaaaahh – The number you have dialed, five five five one two one two, has been disconnected. No further information is available about five fiv…

SLAM! GodDAMNitall!

She couldn’t mean it, though. She’ll call back and apologize. In a day or two, after she gets her head back. NO she won’t She’ll feel bad…maybe not bad enough to take me back hah!…but bad enough to apologize for her tone…her words… WRONG Maybe after she calls back we can be friends again…NOT going to happen, and after we’re friends again…

Outside the booth, a man in a hat and overcoat darkened by rain tapped his watch. Bill slowly became aware of the lines of people waiting for phones. The foot traffic of the station ebbed and flowed past, smoothing the staccato beep of a phone off the cradle.

He stared at the receiver in his hand, listening to the sound of the disconnect getting louder and louder.
That beep – the sound of heartbreak – would stay with him through the days and weeks of delusions and mental bargaining to come. He slammed the receiver back on the cradle, flung open the doors of the booth and headed toward the tracks, unrequited, lost and alone.


  1. You are going to be my first word porn analysis Brian.

    • I am copying your pic and the first half of this story for my post on you. If you want me to take it off, just let me know. I’m including links to your blog of course.

      • It’s all yours, Hobbs. *grin*

      • I already did it Brian. You are my “just plain good” porn star. 😉

  2. Great story. I hate to think that some people may not know the exact tone of the dah dah daaaaah that happens when a phone number is disconnected. Because some people only text. I am a phone nut. My grandparents still have an old rotary dial that clicks with every number dialed. I remember my impatience as a kid when waiting for the clicks to stop and the phone to start ringing. I thought, I bet this would be unnerving if I ever had to call 911.

    • I LOVE that sound! My grandparents were on a three party line. We were the third ring. I can only imagine how that slight two-ring wait affected my life and perspective.

  3. Inga said:

    Love this story. My fav line: “that beep – the sound of heartbreak”. So sad, and so great.

  4. Powerfully written, when your book comes out I’ll be in line for a copy! 🙂

  5. So old school with the phone booth…Love It! Leaves you wondering instead of assuming that he then texted her, twitted, face booked, changed the relationship status…yadda, yadda, yadda. I love hanging on the edge so much better to wonder…

    • Right?!? I love that air of mystery. I always try to strip away period details in my fiction, while hopefully utilizing timeless elements. Sounds like I may have pulled it off here, and thank you so much!

  6. Great stuff – the “delusions and mental bargaining” …so on target…

  7. Diane said:

    Damn! Wish I could write like this. Great piece.

    • *BLUSH!* You are too kind, Diane, thanks. Great to have you here! I really appreciate it.

  8. Something similar happened to my ex during our breakup. Interesting to read it from the other side.

    • I thought for a sec that this comment was on “Blank Page”, and was rather enjoying a mental image of Jack Torrance at the Overlook…

Leave a Reply to Brian Westbye Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: