Mystery in the Key of Zero
My cat, Hero, was staring at the answering machine, something he didn't usually do unless an important call was going to come through -- and he wasn't wrong. Everyone has one of those phone calls that change your life -- and this was going to be one of them.
When the phone did ring, I glanced at the Caller ID number, but the top half of the LCD display had been slowly disappearing into wherever those crystals go -- and I couldn't tell where the call was coming from. But I did recognize the voice. It was Saul Wert.
Although I hadn't seen, thought, or heard from Salu Wert since we had been in high school together, I knew it was him.
A little background is in order, so let me get that out of the way:
1) At the time of the call, I was living with my two cats: Hero and Hera. We were situated on the Lower East Side of New York in what had once been the bad part of New York but was now the good part. This means that rents had gone up and the number of colorful characters had gone down.
2) I was working, when I did work, as a focus puller on local independent films. It was a union job and my hands weren't insured.
3) Saul Wert was the most popular kid in my high school until he fell in with what we used to call a bad crowd and got into psychadelic drugs and went nuts. The last time I had seen him he was in a State Mental Institution in Bath Maine.
4) I decided to call this story in the Key of Zero because it turned out to have a lot to do with programming and programmers for some reason always start counting at Zero. This turned out to be important, but I didn't know it at the time.
5) The voice at the other end didn't sound like Saul - but I remembered how he looked. You can picture him as any of the Baldwin brothers in any of their primes.
So here's what happened:
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