The Phone Call

Short Story Day 157 of 365

When Airman Todd Stearns picked up the ringing phone at the end of his fourth full day at his first base, there were a dozen people within two feet of him talking, laughing, and briefing and debriefing duties. Stearns picked up the receiver and held his hand over the other ear just to hear.

“111th Operations, Airman Stearns speaking,” said Stearns, closing his eyes to somehow help him concentrate on the caller at the other end.

“Airman Stearns, this is Colonel Marks. Is Sergeant Banes on the floor?”

“Stearns pulled the phone from his ear, considered what he had just heard and said, “Karl Marx? Seriously? Is this a joke?” and he hung up the phone.

Three people heard Stearns’ end of the conversation and laughed.

“Todd, you just hung up on the CO, man. He’s gonna eat you alive. Plus, you called him Karl Marx. That’s not gonna look good.”

Stearns looked at who was talking to him.

“Sergeant Banes, thanks. You’d better call him back because he wanted to speak to you.”

The phone rang again. This time Banes picked it up.

“Yes sir…yes sir.” Banes laughed as he listened. “Yes sir, I’ll tell him…Right away, sir. Good bye.”

Banes hung up the phone and told Stearns, “Good thing the Colonel was in a good mood, Stearns. In fact, he had a pretty good laugh over it. Said it reminded him of when kids used to call him that growing up.”

“That’s a relief,” Stearns said.

Sergeant Banes grabbed his coat. “If the boss comes in, tell him I need to see the CO,” said to Banes and two others nearby.

“Good luck,” Airman James said.

“Thanks. I’ll need it,” Banes said as he walked out the door.


“He got busted for DUI over the weekend on base.” James said.

“Ooo, that’s not good.”

“He’s been worrying about it all weekend,” Airman James said. “But the good news is, our dear CO is now in a better mood thanks to you.”

“Thanks, I think.”

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