A Wrong Number Death

Wrong Number Death


Canyon Trader

      As she looked at the man sitting across from her, Susanne reflected about how the simplest mistakes in life can lead to uncommon results.  Her relationship with Bret had started because she dialed a “7” instead of a “9” while ordering a pizza one evening when Tony and the kids were late getting home from a ball game.  The call was answered by Bret and he told her that she had the wrong number and rang off.  She had dialed the wrong number again and again Bret told her that she had mistakenly dialed but that she had a terrific voice.  Susanne had said that Bret sounded nice also and they actually talked for a while.  He invited her to call anytime she wanted to visit.  

A couple of weeks went by and Susanne did the housewife chores while Tony pursued his interesting career at JPL as an aerospace engineer.  They had met at JPL when Susanne was a mathematician assigned to a Mars exploration project.  Seven years and two kids later she found herself driving to soccer matches and tee ball games.  One afternoon she was more bored than usual and decided to call Bret for some stimulating conversation.  He answered straight away and they chatted easily for a while.  Bret told her that he worked at home as a writer and usually worked in the nude.  He was a confirmed nudist and actually went to resorts where the members socialized and played games without clothes.  She knew about nudism but had never actually done much other than  when she and Tony went to the Virgin Islands once and skinny dipped in the ocean.  

The next time she called Bret she and Tony had been disagreeing about the direction their lives were taking and she was feeling down about the whole thing.  Bret suggested they try an experiment and she ended up naked and having phone sex in the afternoon.  It was an intense, addicting experience for Susanne.  

In the following months she was in complete control since Bret did not know her number, real name, or address.  She called whenever she wanted and he was usually around to provide the verbal stimulation that she craved.  Her climaxes were the best she had known and the sense of freedom and safety made her feel that she was doing the right thing.  Tony commented that her mood was improving and their sex life was better for both of them.  Susanne and Bret kept no schedule but managed to be on the phone about twice each week.  This had been going on for about a year when it happened.

“Hello”, Bret answered.  Susanne’s usual “Hi” was the confirmation that she was the caller.  Their routine was pretty much the same now and Susanne wanted to know what he was wearing.  “The usual, nothing”, he responded.  “I was hoping you would call and was getting excited thinking about your day and what you were doing”, he said.  “I am out on the patio on the lounge without a stitch on.  You’ve made me a complete nudist, Bret”, she replied.  “The kids aren’t due home until 4:00.”

They talked for a few minutes then started to stimulate each other saying things they knew the other liked to hear.  Susanne had learned that she really enjoyed talking very dirty and liked for Bret to describe the things he liked for her to do to him in vivid detail.  Every orifice had been verbally entered and they knew each other intimately although they never had met.  Both paced the conversation to the other’s needs.  She needed more time to climax and he loved to hear her talk about him.   

They knew they were about halfway through their “session”, when Susanne heard strange sounds from the phone.  Bret was talking to someone.  Then she heard his voice grow louder calling out “Sid Powers”.  Then she heard the sounds of a struggle and a gurgle then silence.  Heavy breathing replaced Bret’s voice as someone picked up the phone.  Susanne did not say a word but felt that the person on the other end of the line was looking right at her.  Bret’s phone was replaced in its cradle and Susanne listened for a minute knowing something bad had just happened.  She had lost all interest in sex and her naked, sweating body no longer interested her.  She knew Bret was hurt or worse but did not know what to do about it.

“What a problem this is!! How can I deal with this now?” thought Susanne.  She knew that she should notify the police  but that would bring questions about the relationship that no one knew existed.  Tony and the kids would learn that she had a secret sex life with a stranger.  That’s what Bret was really, a stranger.  She had no obligation to him or anyone associated with him.  It was just a random happening that brought them together but still she felt an obligation to do something.  She thought of making a blind call to the cops but realized that she only knew a phone number and no last name or address.  Her choices were pretty clear: 1) Call for help and identify herself. 2) Call for help and remain unknown. 3) Don’t call for help and do nothing.  She knew that she could do nothing and that the police would probably not let her remain unknown if she did call them so she decided to do nothing.

The shower felt good but didn’t wash away the thoughts racing through Susanne’s mind.  It was close to 4:00 when the she finally decided to try to forget the events of the afternoon.  She would call tomorrow and see if Bret was o.k.  She heard the children burst into the house as she finished dressing and went down to start thinking about dinner.

A little after 9:00 the next morning she dialed Bret’s number and was surprised when the phone was answered by a Sargent O’Neal.  Susanne simply put down the receiver and turned away.  Her life was becoming too complicated.

The following morning the Los Angeles Times carried a brief article about the murder of Bret Thomas, a technical writer, in his home in Pasadena.  The authorities were asking the community for help with identifying any strangers seen in the area within the last 48 hours.  They also were asking for anyone knowing about relatives or friends of the late Mr. Thomas.  In other words, they had no clue about Thomas or his killer.  Again, Susanne thought of calling the police with the information that she knew would lead to the killer.  She even knew a name.  It was as if Bret was calling out the name to her through the phone before the assailant knew the phone was active.  He had called, “Sid Powers”, at least once and possibly twice, loud enough for her to clearly hear it above the commotion in Bret’s house.   Bret knew his attacker and had told her who it was.  

Susanne did some minor inquiries into the phone book listings for someone named Sid Powers without luck.  She had not expected to find anything there.  She then did a search on the Internet and again was disappointed.  Frustrated, she undressed and went out to the patio to get some sun.  

Susanne awakened with a start and realized that she was not alone.  A man was sitting on the lounge across from her watching her sleep.  ”Hello, I’m Sid Powers.”, he said.  Susanne was frightened to death but tried to regain her composure.  She noticed that Mr. Powers wore thin leather gloves and the kind of soft soled shoes worn by spies in the movies.  His voice was very quiet and his gaze shifted constantly.  He was a true professional.  She reached for her robe slowly and he allowed her to put it on.

“You are probably wondering how I found you.  It wasn’t hard since we knew everyone associated with Thomas for the last five years.  We have monitored his calls during that time and traced the callers.  Your network is slowly being dismantled and you won’t be able to get our secrets out much longer.  We aren’t bothering with the courts in this matter—outer space is too critical.  We have decided to eliminate the problem first-hand so to speak.  It was pretty clever of you to transfer your messages encrypted inside phone sex talk.  We had not seen that before but it will get a place of honor in our files, I’m sure.  You have done a great job maintaining yourself apart from the others too.  There are no records of your name or address in any of the others’ files.  Thomas was a master at passing critical information that appeared to be everyday conversations and writings.  His other leg-men used essays, stories, and even the obituary column to pass information to him.  Your scheme was a unique one and quite clever.  To tell the truth we have not been able to decode it yet.  Your conversations are so varied that we can not find anything that repeated itself in a meaningful manner.”

Susanne started to get up from the lounge but fell back when when the man sitting across from her raised his eyebrows.  He knew his task and took the small bore, silenced automatic from beneath his coat and shot her once above the left temple. 

The End