But he picked it up.
|The Loser's father in the Southwest, though why and exactly when he was there are a mystery to all.|
The caller was an elderly man who used to work with the Loser's father in the early 1950s and lived in Philadelphia's western suburbs, where the Loser's family lived and still do. Except for his father and mother, who died two months apart three years ago.
The caller, whose name is Ed, had fallen out of touch. The Loser, who lives in his late parents' house (hence the call to the number, which has been the same since 1955) broke the bad news to Ed.
Later, thinking about it, the Loser realized that Ed's age and the fact that he calls infrequently could have enabled the Loser to say his father and mother were alive, happy and well and now in St. Bart's, where they vacationed in winter for several years, and where they had no phone.
It would have meant that Ed had to hear about one less friend from the old days dying, presaging his own death, and been a kind thing to do. On the other hand, there's the outside chance that Ed secretly hated the Loser's father and was calling with hope that he'd outlived him. That doesn't seem likely, however.