My sister was visiting this weekend.  We went out to dinner and were walking around the art studios downtown, killing time before a concert when my phone rang.  I didn’t answer it but checked the message when I was in a quiet place.  It was Eddie. 

It started with a sneeze….a really big sneeze…a sneeze that I’m sure filled all the holes in his receiver with copious amounts of spit and snot.  Before he could even say “Hello” he started laughing…really laughing at his own huge and gross sneeze.  Finally he gained some composure, “Hey Beth….how’s it going?  I just wanted to call and say, ‘Hi’.” 

Liar, I thought, He never just calls to say ‘Hi.’ 

“I was wondering….” He began proving me right “if you could get me Vickie’s number.”

This is a little twist on his usual, “Could you get Vickie to call me.”  This implied he thought perhaps he had lost her number because she wasn’t answering him.  I had called her number that afternoon and her voice message is not subtle…no robot answer, no, it is her saying, “This is Vickie….” So the chances he had the wrong number after ten years of her having the number and the chances that the wrong number would be answered by a woman who sounds just like our sister…and whose name is Vickie were staggering…and yet here he was trying this crazy angle. 

So I turned to my sister and said, “Ed needs your new number.”  She looked bewildered for a moment, and then a smirk crossed her face.  “Yeah, I’ll get that to him.”

This reminded me of a time many years ago when I got a call from the psychologist at the facility where Ed lives.  A very serious sounding man said, “This is Dr. Brainfixer and I need you to call me as soon as possible.”  He gave me his private number.  Now these were the years my brother was less charming and good natured.  These were the angry and depressed years as he came to terms with the severity of his disabilities.  Yet he had refused to talk to this psychologist time and time again.  So a call from him was alarming.   I called the guy immediately, terrified something terrible had happened to Ed.

The guy answered with a bit of a whisper.   He said, “I am in session right now.  Your brother had me call you because he really needs the password to his computer.”  

No way…this guy came out of session to get Ed’s password.  I was so amazed at Eddie’s ability to make his needs seem dire, even to this guy.

“Cool Ed, “I said.

“Thank you,” he said without any humor in his voice, and I think you will agree that “Cool Ed” is hysterical.

I can’t wait give Cool Ed crap about feigning not knowing our sister’s number.

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