“Christmas Eve,” Mike cussed to himself between sips of his Zima. He studied the phone log between puffs on his Virginia Slims and began to see a pattern. No calls to the automatic message machine at night, always to operators in the daytime. Unless Seymour had some kind of a night job he was probably in the same time zone. Mike looked more closely at the record. No long distance calls. Seymour must be in the same city.
The ringing of the phone startled him. “Hello” Chimed Mike. “Hello yourself” said the voice Mike could not have misidentify as anybody other than the one and only Seymour Butts himself in the flesh on the other end of the line that Mike was now talking to himself at last.
“How did you know I’d be here?” Mike queried.
“Where else would you be? At home with your wife?” Seymour shot at him. Mike felt a tinge of regret that none of his ex-girlfriends could understand his dedication to customer service. “We both believe in what we’re doing too much to have any time for family, even on Christmas Eve. We’re not as different as you think.”
“I’m nothing like you Seymour.” Mike retorted, trying hard to convince himself. “The main difference is that you’re all through. I know where you are.”
“I knew I couldn’t hide forever, but it doesn’t matter now, I’ve almost finished my work. You can’t stop me any more.” Seymour responded confidently.
“If you just called to gloat I’ve got better things to do.” Mike moved to hang up.
“Wait, you don’t really want to hang up do you?” Seymour said hurriedly. He regained his composure and chucked ironically “Its funny isn’t it. We’re each others only friends, but we find each other cast as bitter enemies?”
“Why are you doing this? Turn yourself in before this gets out of hand. I can protect you” Mike pleaded.
“We are what we are.” Seymour tautologized philosophically.
“That is so true,” Mike consoled to himself as the voice on the other end was replaced by a soft click and a quiet hum. “Merry Christmas friend.” Mike said into his Zima bottle.