I’m told that the title of this post is the shortest science fiction story ever written. I don’t know why the story seems like a good title for what I’m about to regale all up ons you.
So I’m sitting in my apartment and the phone rings. I don’t reconize the number, but that doesn’t mean anything. I recognize nothing these days. I stared at a package of cream cheese the other day for five minutes before I remembered that it is for eating. It’s a California area code. The phone number, not cream cheese.
Anyway, I answer the phone. SALAAM ALIEKUM says a voice that sounds like he’s in a car. Reflexively, I drop the old wa-aliekum-salaam on him. He then says a phrase, which I know to mean “how’s it going?” but I didn’t hear all that frequently in Morocco. I forget what it is now, it sounds like KAY BA HAAL. Anyway, that throws me for a minute, but I stutter out glory-be-to-God-I-remain-unharmed. There’s a long pause. WHO IS THIS? He asks. It’s Aaron! I tell him, in Arabic. And to whom am I speaking, again in Arabic.
There’s this long pause, and then this is the part that sort of weirded me out. He says HOW DO YOU KNOW SALAAM ALIEKUM. But the tonation of his voice, it’s not a question. It’s a statement. There’s a period at the end. It was just weird. Like when someone’s asking you a question but is really accusing you of something, but in reverse.
Anyway, I stuttered out that I speak Arabic, and he hung up with out replying. I wasn’t really sure what was going on, so I left my apartment and went for a walk for 20 minutes, just because I was sort of weirded out. What are the chances I get an Arabic wrong number phone call here? And what was with the guy’s voice? Dude, creepy creepy creepy creepy.