I've just picked up my cell phone, which started ringing in my desk drawer here a few minutes ago. I don't recognize the number, but I notice that the area code is 317 -- Indianapolis, where I lived until about a year ago.
After a quiet pause, I hear a little voice on the other end.
"Would you like to buy a dog?"
He sounds like he's about six or seven. I look down at the phone again, rechecking the number.
"Well, I already have a dog," I say, "and I don't think I need another one."
He's silent on the other end, disappointed.
"Who is this?" I ask.
"...A salesman." He tries to say it as officially as possible.
"You're a salesman?"
"Yes. Selling free dogs."
"I see. And where did you get all these dogs?"
"The dogs you're selling... why do you have them?"
"I don't know."
"Okay... How did you get my number?"
I ask him this because I'm starting to wonder if there's any connection here. I *did* get my dog Vince from a stranger, I realize, and he *was* almost free. Perhaps this "salesman" is a son or nephew of Vince's former owner.
"The address book."
"What address book?"
I'm thinking my theory may have been right, and his family must have written down my contact info when they gave us Vince.
"The phone book."
"Oh. But I'm not listed in the phone book."
It's looking like he must just be dialing numbers after all.
"So you're just dialing numbers at random, trying to find people to buy your dog?"
I'm wondering what's going through his mind, what project he's struggling with today. Why he has decided to be a "salesman selling free dogs." I feel bad for using the word "random." Maybe he doesn't know that word.
"Well, I don't live in Indianapolis anymore," I say, "So I'm sorry but I can't buy your dog. I do wish you good luck, though, and I hope you find him a good home."
It's quiet again, until a little voice says, "Okay" and hangs up.