Jane Summers groaned with annoyance, twisting in her bed to turn off the alarm. She had been dreaming wonderfully, images of childhood friends and favorite places percolating from her subconscious. But the alarm had intruded, banished those fond images, flung her back into the world of consciousness.
Jane Summers forced her legs over the side of the bed, made her feet touch the floor. The fake wood paneling was cold this late September morning. Warm today, she remembered from the forecast, upper sixties, but it would take a couple of hours to reach that high. She walked swifter than usual to the bathroom.
Jane Summers lingered longer than usual under the warm showerhead spray. Mondays were always difficult for her, and while scratching shampoo into scalp she remembered what would be waiting for her at the office. Route 20. She hadn’t finished the drainage drawings on Friday, they were due at IDOT Tuesday, along with the culvert design, she knew from Gary there were changes – just another day on the Route 20 project at Crasob Engineering.
Jane Summers turned off the shower, threw back the plastic curtain and toweled herself briskly, rushed back to the bedroom and dressed with a chill-induced alacrity that compensated for her elongated shower. She walked into the kitchen, grabbed the refrigerator door handle –
And stopped. As Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik suddenly began playing.
Pursing her lips, she thought through the possible sources of the music. Not the television (she had just passed the blank screen), her stereo (the background signal hum was missing), or from any of the neighboring apartments (the music was clear, crisp, and close, it was definitely coming from . . .)
She stepped up to the kitchen table, looked down. And saw the music’s source, sitting on top of a pile of magazines.
It was a small device, almost entirely black with a shiny surface. Perhaps two inches wide, about twice as tall, but shallow, no more than half an inch deep if that. A radio? Had Wings left it there last night? But it didn’t sound like a radio, and if it was why would –
She saw words on the surface. Near the top. GARY CZGARSIK. From work, her boss. Was this his radio?
She picked up the Mozart-playing device, held it close to her face. To the right of Gary’s name was a small picture, Gary with his wife and two daughters. The family photo from Christmas. Under Gary’s name was the word mobile, in all lower-case letters. Near the bottom of this – radio? no, this, whatever it was – more lower-case words, slide to answer, with a green arrow to the left, pointing at the words.
Her face rippled with confusion as she stared at this, this thing with Gary’s name and family photo on it that serenaded Mozart. And then the music stopped, she nearly dropped the device as she saw the words on the device change, the time now displaying in large numbers at the top, the date in smaller characters immediately underneath, the lower-case letters slide to unlock at the bottom, the green arrow replaced with a gray arrow. In the middle, the words Missed Call displayed, next to a small green picture of a telephone receiver.