The other night, as I was giving my three-year-old his bath, my cell phone rang. I checked the number: it was uber-agent Janet Reid. Always happy to get an unexpected call from someone who might tell me my writing is going to sell, I ignored the three-year-old splashing water at me and answered the phone.
“Sean? It’s Janet.”
“Hi, how are you?”
“Good. Um, you may want to check your home phone, because your son just called me on my other line.”
I stood in the bathroom, looked down at my son as he drank a gallon of soapy water.
“Yes.” She laughed. “I saw your name, but when I picked up all I could hear was his delightful squealing.”
I continued to look down at my son. He threw bubbles at the wall and then dumped water on my foot.
“When was this?” I asked.
“About two seconds ago.”
Now I was really confused. My home phone had called her? And my son was on the other line? My parents were visiting, and either of them might have called Janet by mistake thinking the phone was the television remote, but neither of them is what I would call a “delightful squealer.” How had my son, sliding himself in circles around the tub, called Janet on the home phone?
The answer was obvious: Janet is insane.
“Oh, okay, ha ha. Thanks, Janet. Sorry about that.”
“No problem. He’s adorable. Talk to you soon.”
We hung up. I knelt on the floor and wondered what to do about the fact that an insane woman represents my writing. My writing is insane enough without having to worry about it and my advocate both being certifiable. My son watched bubbles rise from his lips. A result of the soapy water, no doubt.
I still held my phone in my hand. I realized its keypad wasn’t locked. I stopped myself from turning it off, and checked the outgoing call history instead. The last call was…
Five minutes ago. To Janet Reid.
The keypad unlocked, the phone in my pocket, pressed against keys and change, buttons pressed at random, and it had called Janet. What she had heard was my son in the tub. His delightful squeals had been about drinking soap, belching bubbles, dousing my foot. My phone, in my pants pocket, had called my agent.
The dream for a pantsless society lives on.