The Bill

            I opened the bill and stifled a scream.

            One phone call had cost me $523!!!  It was a 900 call I’d made late one night when the house was quiet and I knew no one would catch me, or find out.

            I smiled and trembled at the recollection of nervously dialing the Forbidden Number and waiting for the ring.

            “Hello,” answered the sultry female voice on the other end of the line.  “Please punch in the number for your credit card.  For our stimulating conversation you will be charged $1.99 per minute for as long as your heart can stand the excitement.”

            With trembling fingers I punched in the proper numbers and waited expectantly.  “Glad you’re here,” said the husky voice.  “Press one for a live operator or press two for a list of tonight’s hot topics.”

            I wanted to speak to a real person, so I pressed one and waited.

            “Thanks for calling honey, what would you like to talk about?” asked the breathless voice on the other end.

            “Something forbidden,” I answered in a whisper, from the darkened room.

            “Ohhh, someone who likes excitement.  Well, since it’s fishing season let’s talk about something sexy, like our new Hotrod Ultra-light rig from Smith Rodmakers.”

            “Yes,” I hissed, thrilled.

            “This new medium action fishing rod is constructed with space-age materials designed to make the rod come alive in your hands.” She talked on and on about the fishing combo, how much it cost, which reel I should use and the rod’s fast action.  The minutes flew by like seconds.

            I closed my eyes and envisioned her description.

            “Can you stand more?” she asked.

            I willed my thumping heart to settle down and held the receiver with trembling fingers.  “Please?” I pleaded.

            The voice sounded even deeper, more throaty.  “Would you like to talk about something sexier, like…lures?”

            My heart jumped and I fought to control the flutter in my stomach.  “Yes, oh yes.”

            “Our new Maribou 1/16 ounce jigs are deadly on crappie, do you like crappie?”

            “Anytime, anywhere,” I said.  “But I would love to talk about trout flies.”

            “You are naughty,” she said.  “You can use our new parachute Humpies…”

            “Humpies, yessss.”

             “Our flies,” she continued.  “come in several sizes and the fly’s yellow belly is enticing…”

            I was in an ecstasy of Sensual Information Overload.  She talked, and my palms grew sweaty.  My forehead beaded, because I knew when she was through with this description she would, without a doubt, find my one true weakness and all would be lost.

            And she did.

            “More?” she breathed.


            “I know what you want, don’t I?”

            “Oh, yes, yes, yes!!!”



            She took a long, moist breath.  “Four weight Loomis, double taper, with a multiplier reel…”

            “AAARRRGGGHHH!!!”  I nearly keeled over on the floor of the darkened living room.

            “For the first time her calm composure almost broke.  “I knew it when I first heard your voice.  You want one.”

            “I do,” I confessed.

            “All right big boy, here goes.  Imagine yourself in a clear Rocky Mountain stream, knee deep, and you stand with your new 4 wt, slowly casting for feisty little wild browns.”

            I couldn’t hardly stand it.  She talked on and on for another fifteen minutes.  I savored her husky, sweet voice as her lips mouthed the very words I had longed to hear, my one true reason for calling.

I purchased the rod, reel, line and lures. I, in effect, was hooked.

            Finally, before my weakened heart could fail, she relieved me from her lascivious grasp and we said our good-byes.

            I hung up, elbows on my knees, my head hung in a sweet mixture of satisfaction and shame. Exhausted, I trudged to the bedroom and fell into exhausted, sated slumber.

            The next morning all was forgotten with the bright sunshine and another day at work.  Forgotten, until the dreaded, glutted bill came in the mail, reminding me of my sordid conversation that night and the purchases I’d made.

            The bill also initiated another need to call.  Reminded of such immense satisfaction, I face another frenzied conversation and more expense.

            My goal is to never dial that number again, but if I can’t overcome this feeling, maybe I can get my Visa changed to a gold card.

About reaviszwortham

Reavis Z. Wortham is the author of The Red River Mysteries from Poisoned Pen Press, and the Sonny Hawke thrillers from Kensington Publishing. Book 7 in the Red River series, Gold Dust releases September 4, 2018. Book 2 in the Hawke series, Hawke's War, releases May 29, 2018. The Humor Editor for Texas Fish and Game magazine, he's also a columnist for a number of newspapers and is a frequent contributor for magazines. For more fun, visit his web page at for photos, appearances, reviews, and a little look back into history with a glossary of east Texas words used in both books. Happy Perusing.
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