Like a viper slithering slowly down a vine, the danger wormed quietly into our lives. There were no omens or cries of alarm. In fact, my family's troubles started with nothing more ominous than a light-hearted Latin melody. It was an annoyingly perky version of La Macarena, and it was coming from my wife's unseen cell phone. While I finished drying the supper dishes, she hurriedly searched the usual places: her coat pockets, her purse, the large bowl by the front door. Laine followed the recurring melody and found the phone just as it played its final, sparkly chord. Of all the unlikely places, it was sitting on the re-charging unit.
From the kitchen I hear her say "Hun-nee," so I knew that she was talking to Jean. My wife had customized a slightly different style of speech for each of her oldest friends, and I'd learned to identify each friend by the inflections and tone of Laine's voice. I was surprised when the call ended withing a matter of minutes. Her conversations with Jean seldom ran less than an hour.
--by Americo Tulipano, published by Paragon House Press
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