Mr. Telemarketer, HI HI HI!

Chapter 1: Yellow is the Color of Happiness

Sometimes, when I'm driving in a car or walking down the street, I pick out random people and wonder what they're thinking. It's usually when I'm in a car, because there's some kind of unspoken rule that you're allowed to stare at strangers when you're in a car, but that you can't when you're in the street together. I guess it's because in cars, you never have to interact with them from more than ten feet away. They can't hurt you or talk to you like they can on the street. 'Cause on the street, even some hysterical child can bite you in the leg and give you rabies.

But in the car, it is safe. And you can stare, stare, stare at people, and even put up your middle finger. I never really got why putting up your middle finger is so intimidating, though. It's a finger. Like my toe is my toe. But here's a thought: what if, instead of their middle finger, everyone had to put up their middle toe instead? If you think about it for a good long while, it starts making your head swirl. Imagine: middle toes everywhere! But although it's some pretty provoking imagery, I'm not sure it would work. I think you have to keep your foot on the pedal, or else you die.

But I guess what I'm trying to say is that being separated by a half-inch of glass and a speeding freeway makes a difference for a lot of people. They don't have to worry about the hobo grabbing onto their ankles and dragging them down into the sewer.

I'm sure that's what the yellow sun-dress girl is thinking in the car to my left. She stares at me and tips the frame of her white-rimmed sunglasses up onto her head. I stare back. Her outlined lips lay unmoving in their perfect, mirror-calculated position. I can tell what she's thinking, and I can tell that she's right. Yes...That half-inch of glass will save your life, Sun-dress/Sunglasses Girl, especially when we make eye-contact for more than ten seconds and I go flying towards the inside of my car window, baring my fangs in savage greeting. She looks away.

But seriously, trying to read random peoples' minds is really a hard hobby. You see them on the street, and you can't really judge them by much else than their appearance. Unless, that is, they're talking to someone else or possibly themselves, which could reveal a lot. But in most cases, I pick out the silent ones. The solemn, walking-down-the-street-and-doing-a-little-shopping ones. And sometimes I make up stories about them too, but that's really only on days when I have no other source of entertainment, or when I'm not with Terry.

Terry is my next-door neighbor, and he is also a boy. But sometimes, I forget that he's a boy because he likes other boys, which makes him seem like a girl. But I can't really imagine him any other way, because if Terry were a boy who liked girls then he might've ended up liking me and that would mean that I wouldn't be able to make any fart jokes or play "Which pokémon would you rather have?" with him anymore because I'd be too freaked out.

So I guess I don't have much else to say about him, except that he's always with me and that's about it. Oh! One good thing about Terry is that he's really good of thinking up ways to keep ourselves busy and entertained. One time, he suggested that we each make a mental list(because the only paper we had was my used tissue) of the three things that would make the other faint the fastest. For him, I put: Proof that God exists, waking up straight one day, and being adopted by the dentist who always feels him up. For me, he put: live hippo birth, a man biting off the head of a rat, and sticking my finger into a plumber's crack. Terry won. His ideas were much better than mine, and much more accurate. I could tell, because I have a very active imagination and ended up vomiting all over the floor of our rental car.

It's 4:00 now, and I'm supposed to be doing homework, but I'll just pretend like I forgot. I have a feeling that going outside will make me happy and possibly ecstatic, so I slip on my socks and then my sandals. For some reason, people always say that it's uncomfortable. I think they just do it wrong, though. You're supposed to pull out your socks a little bit to give them some slack, so that way when you slip into the sandals, your toes don't feel like they're dying. Besides, dead toes are just gross. Think of rotting.

I run outside of my house and make a right turn. The only place I can think of to go is the convenience store, which sells little outdated toys and knick-knacks that other convenience stores don't sell. And they always have the kind of popsicle that you want, not the kind that you settle for. This is very important.

But right next to the convenience store, beside the bicycle rack, there is a yellow pay-phone. It's not a booth, just the regular kind that sticks onto the wall. This is usually something I overlook, but today I don't. Today it's ringing.

I kind of stop in my tracks and stare at the shiny yellow plastic. The first thing that comes to my mind is how ringing pay-phones are only ever in the movies. And I think it's a bad omen, because people always die when the pay-phone rings. But until now, I didn't know that you could actually call one. You know, in real life. So I pick it up.

"Hello?" I hear some sort of breathing on the other line, but the other person doesn't speak. Seriously, now. What kind of person calls and doesn't talk? "Hello?" I ask again.

"Hi there." The voice is clear, like one of those learning videos that we used to watch in grade school. "May I speak to the lady of the house?"

"Ummmmm," I go. "This is Elise."

"Well, Elise. Are you 21 or older?"

I'm not. But suddenly, I get this really creepy feeling. Could this person be a stalker? Why else would he be questioning my age?! This makes me think of something suspicious, like men wearing capes and tights and hiding in playground tunnels. I look at my hand and watch the little hairs on my knuckles stand up. "You...why are you asking?"

He laughs a little and says, "Well, it was just a question, Miss Elise. Furthermore, I'm calling to ask you if you'd like to take advantage of our one in a–"

"Well you can't ask me questions unless I can ask you questions back," I counter quickly, feeling a swell of pride. I won't be taken advantage of! Terry would be proud of me. He always says that I have to whip them with my mind.

The man(I'm assuming man) falters for a moment, until finally agreeing. I smile and rack my brain for the perfect question. It has to be something that'll distract him from his plan to kidnap me, or whatever it is that he wants to do.

"What's your favorite color?" I ask. And it's perfect. It's so perfect that he doesn't even know what to say. "Is it blue?"

"...No."

"Is it green?"

"No."

"Is it red? Guys always think that red a really manly co–"

"No...no. It's not red."

"Is it yellow?"

"Yes," he says, but somehow I'm not satisfied.

I crunch up my face and go, "Why is it yellow? That's a gross color. Isn't your favorite color supposed to say something about your personality?"

"Yellow," he says, "is the color of happiness."

So I say, "Well, your happiness is the color of piss."

And that's when he hangs up on me.