The Call That Came From Nowhere


Hey! Hey! Hello?

Who is this?

Hello? You can hear me? Don’t hang up, please!

Who are you? Why are you calling my phone?

It’s the only one I’ve been able to get through on! Talk to me, please!

Are kids still making crank zombie apocalypse calls? I guess some things never change.

Listen: I need help. I’m stuck. I’m trapped in this place in the electromagnetic spectrum where radio waves propagate! I’ve been here since the 1930’s. I need…

Well that’s just great ’cause you’ve reached Star Base Alpha and I’m Captain James-tee-get off my fuckin’ phone.

I know it sounds crazy but it’s true! I’m not asking for – listen, I’m a kid in trouble. Don’t hang up on me! Can you see me?

There’s something on my screen, but…yeah, a kid’s face, but…why does it look so…?

This isn’t a normal cell phone call. I’m contacting you from all around. I’m a boy whose mass was converted to energy in a secret experiment, long ago. It’s only because I’ve been joined by an outside entity that I’ve learned how to connect with these phones.

I’m not drunk enough for this call.

This kid hasn’t been able to communicate with anybody since this happened to him in the 1930’s! But he’s been conscious the whole time. He can’t see or feel anything but he can hear. He hears radio waves. Or maybe he is radio waves. You can help him just by talking to him!

Now it’s “him?” So who are you?

I’m just as lost as the kid, in a different way. But I am him – because he’s me, in an other Earth. I have my own course to run. I won’t be with him for long. But I want to help him. He can hear everything but no one can hear him… 

So what if a bunch of other Earths exist? Who cares? Got nothin’ to do with me.

Did you know that there are other living versions of you? More variations of you than you could count in a lifetime?

Why should anyone care? Regular folks have busy lives and that’s some abstract thinkin’ goin’ on there. Besides, there’s no crossover in reality, right? Never happened in my lifetime. You would be the first. Spooks and monsters are only in the pictures. So let ’em stay in their own world and we can just fantasize about ’em.

Are you afraid to die?

Of course I’m afraid to die. Who isn’t?

I don’t like dying, but I’m not afraid of death itself. I’ve discovered that it’s a passage forward, much like being born. You become another version of you, right from the start again. But nothing is the same…

Death is a doorway to the next version of myself? And how did you discover this, pray tell?

I’m living it every day.

So when I talk to you tomorrow, will you remember me?

No. Well, I can’t be sure, but I think not.

How will I know you aren’t just pretending not to know me?

You aren’t worth this much effort to trick, are you?

Uh…no. So you’re sayin’ that should I die tomorrow, I’ll really just go on living?

Yes, until you’re very, very old.

I’m not convinced. Sounds like I’d have to take your story on faith alone. I mean hell, if it was true – even I couldn’t know it. So how can you?

What are you afraid of? Wasting valuable time? Do you hate kids?

Sounds to me like you’re using physics to replace religion, givin’ folks hope for immortality with science fiction.

This kid has been alive in electromagnetic limbo for decades! You might be the first glimmer of hope for an end to his lonely nightmare. He got curious, made a mistake, sneaked into a military testing site. Got too close to something bad…and had no chance tp escape before…

So you want me to help the kid out and talk to him even though he won’t know me and I’ll still be convinced that it’s still you anyway?

I know it’s complicated. But you’re a nice man and this kid didn’t deserve a fate like this. I’ll try to keep this connection in my head…in his head…so that he…

Hello? You there? Gee, that was just getting entertaining. Well then, call back if you get the chance.

But the man’s phone never came alive again with any sign of that odd boy, that “Radiowave,” though oddly he finds himself still standing by just in case.