True Story©… Anonymity


     I’m good at things…

As vague as that may sound, I say it like that to say that no matter how good I may so happen to be at a bunch of things out in the real world, I hate – HATE – for my horn to be publicly tooted over it.  That goes for work, home, anywhere really.  That may seem counterproductive come review time at work, but my manager is well aware of this about me and we have a few aliases I jokingly use when I get to work and kill shit.
That’s professionally; as in the shit that pays the bills.  Not having people going around talking about me in a manner that would have onlookers look for a chance to pile more of their shit on me is the name of the game.  Personally, it is totally different but basically the same.  When I clock out and come back across this living room, the last thing I want is for someone to make assumptions with my time because some third party informed me I was capable.  There is a space of comfort in being able to remain nondescript.  Being mostly nondescript is how one can continue to live a life of supervillainy undetected.

     So here I am last Saturday, house cleaned and relaxing.  Browsing the interwebs alternatively for wristwatches, sneakers and stuff for the racecar.  Wife person is back in her office making candles or something.  She is on the phone (loudly, as per usual) and I hear “well you know Phillip can…” which forces me to spring to action to investigate what it is she is volunteering me to do for someone who may or not be paying me.  Never got an answer, I returned to the front room to resume my e-commerce activities and watching Cheaters.  Lucky for her, nothing (yet) came of this situation.  That hasn’t stopped her from receiving a hard side-eye every time she has looked at me in the days since.

     So I am going through my week now, right?  I get a message to my BookFace inbox from an erstwhile stranger who apparently “knows” me through a network of mutuals…

“[redacted] tells me you’re pretty good with your hands and have the tools to help me here.  I’m trying to use wood and plexi to assemble a small ‘room’ of sorts, a small area to complete small tasks, or to read and write in.  Kind of like a cool little nook of sorts.  If we could get up some time soon, we might be able to hash out the best way to go about this and how much it might cost me.”

Well since [redacted] got my name in peoples’ mouths, [redacted] should put together this damned chamber.
Clearly angered, I met with this person about their desire and hashed out what it was they needed.  Funnily enough, though, I had done something like this before.  I hadn’t assembled it myself due to time and clandestine needs at the time.
Perhaps now you remember?

     Basically, using the idea I had at the time I brought the chamber Joe used in You.  Basically, a chambered floor for the cicadas, an opening in the door to pass things in and out without necessarily needing to open the door.  I found what I had originally sketched out and showed up to the meet-up with it.

Customer: “This is…  Thorough.”

Me: “One could say I know what I am doing.”

Customer: “So I’ve been told.”

Me (under my breath): “Somebody gon’ answer for that too.”

Customer: “Huh?”

Me: “What?  Nothing!”

Customer: “So how big is this thing?”

Me: “Big as you need it to be.”

Customer: “Gotcha.”

Me: “So, like…  Where are you putting it?”

Customer: “I’m not sure, lets have a look around the house and see where you think it might fit.”

Me (without pausing or standing up): “You got a basement?”

Customer: “Wow, you make it sound like a torture chamber or something.  Relax, Dr. Lecter.”

Me: Big fan of his work.”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “Nothing.  So if not a basement, where did you have in mind?”

Customer: “Perhaps off this back deck over here?”

Me: “How much sun does that spot get?”

Customer: “A goodly amount, why?”

Me: “Don’t want to distort the plexi over time, but you need it to get warm enough to make the cicadas do their mating call.”

Customer: “Ci-cicadas?”

Me: “Wait, you weren’t building a torture chamber to trap people in while cicadas drive them insane and deaf with their mating call?”

Customer: “Who are you!?”

Me: “I’m the guy who you contacted to build you what I thought was a damned torture chamber.”

Customer: “Wow”

Me: “I’m outta here.  Good luck.”

Customer: “[redacted] told me you were eccent--…”

Me: “Weird.  I’m weird.  You can say it.”

     Comfortably back in the warmth of my own home, my phone rings…  Fuuuuuck, I hate phonecalls.
It was [redacted]…

Me: “Hello?”


Me: ¿Que?”

[Redacted]: “Don’t start that shit.  What is this shit about a torture chamber and cicadas?”

Me: “Your friend approached me about building a torture chamber.  The cicadas idea was what I like to call ‘customer service’.”

[Redacted]: “You’re not funny.”

Me: “Dozens of people every Thursday would beg to differ.”

[Phlip note: FOURTH WALL!!!]

[Redacted]: “Well now you got me looking crazy to my coworkers.”

Me: “You’ve known me for years, right?”

[Redacted]: “Mmhmm.”

Me: “And you know that, even sober, any conversation or interaction could go left, right?”

[Redacted]: “I get it.”

Me: “So you’re saying you knew that you had no idea what the outcome might have been and placed your acquaintance in harm’s way?”

[Redacted] (sighing): “I guess.”

Me: “…  and what have we learned?”

[Redacted]: “To always ask first--…”

Me: “… lest we become the next contestant on that summer jam screen.”

[Redacted]: “But can I ask you a question?”

Me: “You can ask…”

[Redacted]: “What is this cicadas shit.”

Me: “Oh shit, my phone is breaking up and shit.  I am driving through a--…  um…  tunnel or something!”

Can’t be out here divulging EVERYTHING.


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