Dzinski – Unanswered Phone

Prompt courtesy of BeKindRewrite.

The telephone rang shrilly. Dzinski groaned, rolled onto his side and buried his pounding head under the pillow. Daggers of late morning sunlight stabbed through the slits in the curtains. The stale air in the room stank of cigarettes and whiskey and the sickly sweat of death.

The telephone continued to ring.

He tried to ignore it, to block it out, to fall back asleep. Something tightened around his neck, and he realized he hadn’t taken off his tie or even undressed. Dzinski cursed and pulled it loose, wadded it up and tossed it feebly in the direction of the ringing telephone.

His headache roared. The light clawed at his eyes. Camels would have died of dehydration walking across his tongue. He sat up slowly, letting the room spin around. Its rotations slowed and then stopped as Dzinski squeezed the bridge of his nose.

“Goddammit,” he grunted. “If you had any kind of decency, you’d call back later.”

The ringing serenaded him as he stumbled towards the bathroom. He turn the cold water on and gulped it by the handful. Too quickly it would seem, because he turned and lunged, falling to his knees in front of the toilet just in time for the water and last night’s liquor to travel up his throat on the express train.

He heaved and coughed. His eyes watered. His legs shook.

Dzinski took a few deep breaths, tried to calm his insides down and wiped the bile from the corner of his mouth. He crawled over and turned the shower on. He pushed himself to his feet, peeled off his clothes and slid into the tub. The water pelted his chest and stomach as he lay with his feet on the handles, fine tuning the temperature.

The telephone continued to ring.

Dzinski dried off and shaved the stubble from his cheeks and chin. He felt almost human and ready to deal with the nagging caller. He stomped from the bathroom, across the carpeted living room and pulled the receiver from the cradle.

“Yeah,” he barked.

Whoever was calling must have finally given up, because all Dzinski heard was the dial tone.

16 thoughts on “Dzinski – Unanswered Phone

  1. The hanging up when he picked up seems kind of ominous. “Camels would have died of dehydration walking across his tongue.” that line cracked me up. Nice

    1. Yes! I laughed out loud at that line myself. I agree about the ominous-ness, too. It reminded me of a blog post I read somewhere about suspense and Pandora’s box. Nicely done.

  2. You have a gift for description and metaphor, Craig. I am amused by the two sides to your writing – Owl and Raccon v Dzinski – such different styles and yet you handle both with ease. I can’t believe the caller hung on that long – must really want to speak to him!

  3. Nice story!
    Enjoyed the slightly noir-ish/hard-boiled fiction feeling that the writing evoked. But 2 problems came to mind that spoiled the story for me a little:

    1) Why was the phone still ringing after that much time? Perhaps a mention somewhere that the phone would stop and then start again? because no phone rings that long, a minute or two is the max and then they auto-cut the call if not answered. The lack of clarity on this confuses.

    2) Somehow it seems strange to have a character like Dzinski with the gravelly style of story and all that and then have him decide to take a random soak in the tub… again, maybe its just me and stereotyping or something, but pretty much no guy I know would get up get up after a bender like that and decide to have a nice soak in the tub.

    Other than that, I like your style and story-telling. Look forward to more!

    1. Thanks for the critique. I had never heard of the auto-cut before – but the stopping and starting is a fine idea. I’ll have to work that in somehow.
      as for the bath – it wasn’t so much a soak as not being to weak and hungover to stand up and just having the shower rain down on him. But I”ll revisit to make sure that’s clear.

      Appreciate your input.

      1. happy to help, I figure constructive input and feedback is the advantage of online writing and interaction like this (InMon) so might as well use it! :)

  4. This piece reminded me of some of my writing. Who’s on the phone? It doesn’t matter who’s calling. The phone’s ringing is merely the antagonist for Dzinski.
    As for the shower, I’ve done that before when feeling sick, whether it be the flu or a hangover. I liked the image of him sort of slumped back with the water hitting his chest and his feet working the knobs. That scene worked fine for me.

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