The thermometer was rising right along with the sun and the world was awash in a golden green that proclaimed undeniably summertime was finally here! This was the kind of morning that makes all those foggy, soggy, 34-degree mornings of bicycle commuting seem like a small price to pay for a life on two wheels.
I stopped for a quick moment high atop Fredericksburg’s east hill to snap yet another of the countless photos I have from the very same spot on similarly glorious days. Then I slid my phone back into my jersey pocket and bombed down the hill into town. When I put my foot down at the stop sign in the village square things started to get weird.
“John!” said a distinctly female voice from directly behind me. “JOHN!”
I twisted around quickly, still in the saddle. There was no one around, save for a pair of bearded old-timers assessing the state of the world over morning coffee at Lem’s across the street.
“Jooohnnnn!” the voice called again. “Can you hear me, John?”
Somebody was messing with me. They were probably leaning out an upstairs window, or sitting behind the tinted glass of a nearby car, or maybe they’d actually planned the whole thing out and planted a speaker in a nearby potted plant or something. I was sure of it!
I played along for only a minute, then figured if I was going to be the butt of some “Candid Camera” type spoof, I was going to make the pranksters work a little harder for their laughs. I pushed off and headed toward the post office to drop a letter in the mail, losing the voice momentarily to the throaty rumble of a big diesel pickup as it dragged a dozen ladders and a trailer full of shingles up the hill toward Fryburg. But by the time I’d traveled the two blocks to the post office the voice was back, and more insistent than ever!
“John! John? JOOOOHHNNN! Hey John!”
This was too much. It’s one thing to mess with a man, but entirely another to make him think he’s going crazy. I couldn’t believe anyone would go to these lengths just to spoof me. My mind ran wild. What had I done to deserve such targeted tomfoolery? Who had I wronged along the way?
Just when I was about to rip off my helmet, throw up my hands and shout out surrender right there in the middle of the street I felt a warm pulse of energy on my lower back. My phone!
“Joooohhhnnnn!” the voice whined, as I struggled to pull the gadget free from my pocket.
“Hello?” I said, obviously flustered. It was my sister, Sandy. My phone had apparently chosen to give her a call when I’d returned it to my pocket after grabbing that quick picture at the top of the hill.
“What the heck?” she said. “I’ve been trying to get a response from you for like 10 minutes! Are you alright?”
“Um, yes,” I laughed. “Physically I’m just wonderful, but I’ll have to admit, you had me a little worried about my mind for a while there!”
(I’d love to hear your questions or comments! Write to John Lorson Send Help, P.O. Box 170, Fredericksburg, OH 44627. Be sure to check out Facebook for time-lapse film clips of Kristin’s artwork and other fun stuff at JohnLorsonSendHelp)