This had to be considered good news. For me, that is. I hadn’t had any work for a while, and consequently was broke and restless. This sounded like a good prospect and I was glad of it, but also a bit apprehensive. Work is always such a hassle. It means I have to go places I’d never normally go, deal with people I’d usually avoid, experience their many unique varieties of bullshit. Not that I have anything against people, at least in theory. But being around them is hard. It sucks energy, and I don’t have any to spare.

I made another half-cup and attempted to adjust my attitude. I needed this job and I knew it. I reminded myself that once I get into the work, there’s always something interesting or instructive, or at least profitable, about it. The hard part is getting over the initial inertia, the almost physical dread of the effort that’s going to be required.

I finished the coffee and replayed the message. The mystery intrigued me, as did the voice. What was going on with this guy? What peculiar brand of crisis was bedeviling him? What the hell kind of accent was that anyway?

I wrote down the number, picked up the phone. Decision time.