One thing journalists have to learn to love, Marc thought as he dialed yet another number from his list, is the sound of a phone ringing. It would be an understatement to say he was struggling with that part of the job.
He was about to hang up when the impossible happened.
“Hello?” said the melodious voice.
“HI!!!” Dammit, why did he have to shout? He looked down at his paper for her name.
“Yes, that’s the name I use. What can I do for you?”
“My name is Marc. I have a special request but first…”
“I don’t do anal, Marc.”
“Oh, well, OK. But that’s not what I wanted to ask you. Please don’t hang up.”
“I’m really tempted…” He couldn’t blame her.
There were a few very long seconds during which the sound of silence felt like torture.
“Alright, tell me what you have in mind.”
“First of all, I’m gay…”
“What I would like is to talk with you.”
“About you — please don’t hang up — and what you do.”
“Are you a cop?”
For the first time in this short conversation that felt like it had already gone on for an hour, Marc felt the tension in his shoulders leave his body. At the same time as this bizarre the noise from his nose that probably came across as somewhere between a sneeze and a wet fart.
“I’m not interested in counseling. And religious people bore me.”
He laughed, this time for real. “No. I’m not interested in saving your soul. I’m a journalist and people say we don’t have those ourselves.”
“Probably true.” The words were harsh but the tone playful. “But why would a journalist want to talk to me?”
That was all he needed.