When I was fourteen years old I received my first cell phone. It was one of the earlier models of phone, small, basic and a burner. When I was in high school the all the cell phones were only able make or receive calls and texts. There weren’t cameras or apps or even call I.D. built into the phones. All of the older technology now seems so simple and innocent in comparison to today’s models.
I used my phone pretty frequently texting friends or calling home and I had become very familiar with all the incoming numbers that were displayed on my phone’s screen.
After about sixth months I received a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I ignored it, figuring it was a wrong number and didn’t think more of it. The next day the same unknown number called me again. Just as before I ignored the call. The third day the same number called me again. This time I answered quickly with a cliché ‘Wrong Number!’ and hung up the phone. A few seconds late I received a text from whoever it was who kept calling me. The text simply read: ‘Call Me’.
I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who this person was, why they wanted to talk to me or how they got my phone number. For months I continued to ignore the incoming texts that appeared daily. Each text from the same number with the same message: ‘Call Me’.
Unable to stand the bizarre messages I decided to trace the number and finally identify the person who was harassing me. After a few minutes on the internet I was able to trace the number to a an exact location in the town.
I arrived at the location only to discover that the number was for a public payphone. I didn’t want to give up the search so quickly, so I chose to observe the phone for a while and see if anyone stopped by. I wasted my day watching the phone and seeing absolutely no one even approach the phone.
I turned to leave when I received another text. The same text I had for so many weeks. ‘Call Me’.
It was then I realized that texts cannot be sent from payphones, only other cell phones. I turned around and saw a strange man with a red hoodie, pulled up so I couldn’t see his face. He was holding a cell phone in his hand and he waved at me with the other hand.
I was petrified as my mind began racing with questions. Who was this man? Where did he come from? Why was he calling me? How long had he been standing there? Was he there the whole time? Had he been watching me?
Too scared to confront the man I turned and ran as fast I could for home. I told my older brother about what had happened and he wanted me to take him to the phone. We got in his car and I pointed out the phone on the corner.
We got out of the car together, he a baseball bat in hands in case anyone tried to mess with us. Checking the payphone we found that the phone had been tampered with and concluded that the man in red had manipulated the wires so it looked as though I was receiving calls from the payphone instead of his actual cell phone.
Scratched in the side of the payphone were the words ‘Call Me’.
Needless to say I got rid of my phone and bought a new phone and with it a new number. Life returned to normal for a while after that, but two months later I received another strange text. This time the text came from my old number and stated: ‘I bought a new phone, too.’
I got rid of the phone and chose to never buy or use one again.
Soon someone began calling my house number and leaving the same message in a hoarse raspy voice. ‘Call Me’.
I now live without any phone in my life whatsoever. I never called the man, but that never stopped him from calling me or my family.