The Found Phone - A Short Story

Written by: Joe Flach

I was running some errands and stopped into the little waterfront restaurant for a late lunch.  It was kind of that in-between lunch and dinner time hour, so the place was completely empty.

I ordered a bread bowl clam chowder at the counter and took a seat next to the large bay-window looking out over the water in the empty seating area.  As I was lost in a daydream staring out the window, I noticed a cell phone sitting on the window ledge.  I looked around the empty room to see if I might have missed who it belonged to before picking it up and turning it on.

I slid the “slide to unlock” bar and got to the main menu with no password required.  Thinking I was smart, I decided to see who the most recent phone calls were received from and thought I would “call back” that number to see if they might know who the phone belonged to so I could get it back to the rightful owner.

By far, the most phone calls were from “Sally”.  I touched the “Call back” button.

Ring sounds were followed by a quick, hurried and frantic, “I told you not to call me!  I can’t talk now, you need to stay way!”

Flabbergasted and embarrassed, I tried to stammer out that I was simply trying to discover who this phone might belong to, but I could not get the words out as I heard screaming in the nearby background.

“Who is that?  Is that him?”

“No.  No, it’s …”

“Give me that damn phone!”

I could hear sounds of rustling and crying; then, what sounded like a slap and …

“Hey you, << expletive >>, what the << expletive >> are you doing”, shouted a man’s voice into the phone.

This was immediately followed by more rustling and sounds of a struggle.  I could hear the original voice, Sally’s I assume, crying, “Give me my phone you << expletive >>!”

Another slap.  Rustling.  And then a loud: POP!  POP! POP!  And silence.

The phone was still on.  I could hear heavy breathing for what seemed like hours.

Then the man’s voice said, “And, now I am coming to get you”, and the phone went dead.

Sweat was pouring down my forehead.  Oh my God, what had I done?  And, now what do I do?

The waitress brought me my soup and I asked her if she knew who might have left that phone there.  She simply said, “No” and sauntered back to the kitchen area.

I called 9-1-1 and tried to explain what had happened.  They connected me to the police but I had no luck in convincing them that a crime had occurred.  For over 45 minutes I was transferred from department to department; put on hold; and, transferred again before someone finally took down Sally’s number, but I hung up convinced nothing was going to be done.

I looked for other numbers in the phone’s directory to see who I might call to try to identify the phone’s owner and tell them what had taken place.  The second most popular number belonged to a Tony so I pushed the “Call” button.

The phone was answered by a now familiar voice that yelled, “That’s right << expletive >> I am on my way to get you!”  And he hung up before I could explain.

Quickly, I went to the “Messages” icon on the phone, selected “Tony” and tried to type out an explanation of what was going on.  When I touched the “Send” button an error message came up indicating, “You have exceeded your text allotment for this month.  Please visit the App Store to purchase more options.”

Then I heard someone yelling from the kitchen, “Linda, have you seen my cell phone?  I can’t find the stupid thing.”

The waitress yelled back, “Oh hey, that guy out there found a phone on the window sill.  Is that yours?”

I saw the cook come out of the kitchen heading toward my table about the same time a large man burst into the front doors with a gun in his hand.

The cook turned; said, “Tony, what the hell”; and then took three shots into the face.

The waitress started screaming from the back of the restaurant.  Tony turned and stared at me; placed the pistol into his mouth; and, pulled the trigger one last time.

By now, the waitress had fainted.  The metallic smell of spent pistol cartridges hung in the air.

I called 9-1-1 one more time from the found phone and told them there was a shooting at the restaurant.  I wiped down the phone and dropped it by the cook’s lifeless body and walked out of the restaurant glad that I bought my lunch with cash and not my debit card.