When I exited my parents’ bedroom, my mother called out to me.
“Is everything okay, Stevie?”
I walked forward to the entrance of the hallway, to the edge of the living room.
What should I tell her? To convey to her—to her and Dad—the gist of the conversation that I had just had would entail an elaborate discussion. Perhaps it was best not to go there.
“Everything’s fine, mom.”
I wondered if she would ask me who had called. But she didn’t.
“It sounded like you were yelling at someone,” my father said.
“It was nothing,” I said. “You know: just teenage stuff.”
“Whoever that was on the phone, he didn’t sound like a teenager,” my mother said. “He was a little rude, too, I might add.”
I was tempted to ask her for more information. Perhaps my mother had caught some clue that would enable me to figure out who the caller had been.
But just then, we were all interrupted.
The phone was ringing again.
“Let me take it,” I said. “I have a feeling that it’s for me.”
My mother and my father exchanged looks.
“All right, Steve,” Dad said.
“I’ll take this call in your room, too,” I said, as I walked back toward my parents bedroom, this new phone call now on its third ring.
I closed the door of my parents’ bedroom behind me, and I picked up the phone.
“Yes,” I said, somewhat emphatically. I didn’t even say hello.
There was some hesitation on the other end.
“This is Steve,” I said, even though the caller hadn’t yet asked for anyone.
That finally prompted the party to speak.
Once again, my caller was male. This phone call, however, was far less threatening than the last one.
“Steve, buddy,” I heard a familiar voice say, “have I got an opportunity for you!”
“Louis,” I said, exhaling with relief.
“Yeah, that’s right. What’s up with you, man? For a moment there, I thought I’d gotten the number wrong.”
“I was just—” but then I thought: No, the story would be too complicated—for Louis, as well as for my parents.
And anyway, the incident was over now. Right?
“Nothing,” I said. “You just kind of caught me off-guard, Louis, that’s all.”
“Well, now that you’re back down to earth, Steve, buddy, let me tell you about the special, exclusive opportunity that I have—especially for you!”