Stream of Consciousness Saturday – Prompt – Collect

 

A picture of a string with drops of water- the logo for SoCS

 

I was walking back from the store and heard the screech of vehicle brakes behind me. I turned around and came face to face with the FedEx van. I have to say maybe a FedEx van doesn’t have a face, but it sure seemed that way to me. Anyway, the driver tossed a package my way and yelled something about not being able to face my vicious bulldog today. I tried to yell back that she is not vicious, just vocal but needed to spend more of my energy getting out of the way of the van.

Lucky for me, I jumped free, and after the van sped away, I went over to the flattened package. This raised a nostalgic memory of when all FedEx packages were flat as a pancake. I picked up the two-dimensional box, and through a split in the cardboard, a note fluttered to the ground. It was from Linda Hill. Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “collect.” Use the word “collect” any way you’d like. Have fun! was all it said. The rest of the contents of the package consists of double stuffed Oreo’s in a deconstructed state. All I need is a glass of milk and a spoon.

Collect by John W.Howell © 2021

“Hey, you look chipper.”

“Got my prompt finished.”

“Okay then. Want to share?”

“Sure, the prompt is ‘collect,’ and I wrote a story about the time I called home.”

“Called home? Was this in your youth?”

“Yeah, I was in school.”

“This must have been some story.”

“I called home ‘collect.’ and my dad refused the call.”

“That was cold. Any reason.”

“I think he thought it was a crank call.”

“Why on earth would he think that.”

“Er, maybe cause I hadn’t called for a while.?”

“What’s a while?”

“Three months.”

“Yeah, might be the reason. Why didn’t you call?”

“Not sure it was so long ago.”

“Why all of a sudden did you call?”

“Needed money.”

“I don’t think it was because he thought it was a crank call.”

“No? Then what?”

“He probably wanted to teach you a lesson.”

“Which was?”

“You should call more, not just when you needed something.”

“Yeah. I did correct my behavior.”

“Good. So you called more often?”

“No.”

“Then what?”

“I stopped calling collect.”

“Is that a rim shot and cymbal noise I hear?”

“I think it is more the call of the six-pack.”

“Let’s go.”

 

50 comments

  1. Gwen M. Plano · · Reply

    Oh the days before cell phones! Memories flash, especially of one student in a hallway near my office. The parent’s rant could be heard by anyone nearby and the question, “Why haven’t you called?” Great use of the prompt, John. Hope you’re having a fantastic weekend. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you, Gwen. We had two inchesof rain yesterday and today is supposed to be beautiful. To me that makes a great weekend. I hope you have the same. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a good use of the flattened prompt, John. I remember calling collect sp they could refuse but would know you were OK. My mom could never refuse. Dad had to answer.

    I hope you give Twiggy the long weekend off, and that it’s a good weekend for al.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Dan. See you at the bar. Have a super weekend as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very creative, John. Nice job! I forgot all about the collect call. Happy Saturday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jill. Happy Saturday to you. *Sung to the tune of Oh Happy Day by the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The centuries of no cell phones is flashing through my head. Nowadays, calling collect is only for those in jail and even they manage to get cells!
    Enjoy the weekend, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. Thank you GP. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember the days of collect calls. Good one!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Liz.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Calling collect. A phrase that confuses so many youngsters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right?

      Like

  7. Ah, the days of collect calls. And actual human beings on the other end who asked you to deposit more money or they were going to cut you off. Operators were like Mama Bell bartenders once upon a time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes they were. Remnds me of the song Silvis’s Mother by Dr, Hook https://youtu.be/7LXpnNKNxJI

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “And the operator says forty cents more
        For the next three minutes”

        Which is when you had to ask yourself if this was really love, or just a thing . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cause that 40 cents might be a beer.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So if there’s any doubts in your mind, you gotta go with the beer, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. A life long guide to decesion making.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. This takes us back, doesn’t it, John? Calling collect and only calling when money has evaporated. 🙂 Good reply to the prompt. Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You as well, Lauren. Thank you. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  9. How times have changed… Few are those who still have landlines you could actually call collect on nowadays. Always such an excellent and unexpected take on your prompts.

    Like

  10. Rain, I’m told, goes well with some second-level bourbons – like Willietts! But, then, you can’t believe everything you hear! Happy weekend to all Howells!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. I heard that too. Thanks, Billy Ray. 🤣

      Like

  11. D.L. Finn, Author · · Reply

    Collect calls, I used to used them to call relatives too. My grandma wanted to know that I had arrived safely so I’d call collect and she would refuse it but know I made it. Even then it made me smile she wouldn’t pay for a call.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah those were the days of outrageous toll fees. I’m surprised Bell didn’t do something to stop all that collect calling stuff. Thanks, Denise.

      Like

  12. Yup. I recollect this era. (Another usage for you.) We would call home so the folks knew we arrived. Tell the operator I was Craig Inreno. Mom would get the call. The operator would say my “name” and she would refuse the call. That way she knew I’d reached Reno.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m surprised the operator put the call through.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, besides being funny, you really evoked a lot of memories, John! The first time I drove across country, I called my mom collect every evening so she’d know I was okay. She never refused the calls because she wanted information 🙂 But, gee, those days with the pay phones and checking for change. I don’t quite miss them, although I’ve been in situations where a pay phone would have done me more good than a cell phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the story, Marie. I remember the payphone days. One night I had to use a payphone and the booth was filled with moths. Yeeek. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ewww … sounds like the start of a horror movie!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know right?

        Liked by 1 person

  14. petespringerauthor · · Reply

    Those were expensive phone calls for the parents.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had a rule to call and pay for it too. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. petespringerauthor · ·

        I’m imagining the end of those phone calls. “Okay, Mom, talk to you in a couple of years.”🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I remember those days of collect calls. And the call of the six pack. Well done, John.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😊 Those were the days that I’m glad are behind us.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Great one, John! Ah, youth and the calls home, often for money! We were just talking about making collect calls. Our kids had no idea what we were talking about or that the rates used to go down at 11 pm. When I was in college, instead of calling collect, I would call, let it ring 2 times and hang up. Then my mother knew I was calling and she would call me back, saving the collect call charge. Didn’t always work, though. My kids thought I was insane when I told them that!

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  17. Hi John, I would have answered the call but I would be hurt. I must brace myself for the insensitivity of youth who are trying to forge their own way in life. The must do this and parents must understand.

    Like

  18. Ah, the ole ” I have a collect call will you accept the charges” call. I heard all sorts of stories from my mom when she was a long-distance operator for a few years before moving into engineering.

    Sorry about those crumbled double stuff Oreos, but they’d be really good on top of ice cream! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha. Thanks for the visit, Deborah

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I remember the days of collect calls. They are now a thing of the past. Great use of the prompt, John!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Try to find a payphone sometime. 😁

      Like

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