I had only been on the phone to Téa for a few minutes but I still hadn’t gotten any real answer as to why she’d hung me out to dry in 1983. What I did have was her telling me that she couldn’t have made things go any quicker than they did. I was waiting for her to tell me why that was so but the silence on the end of the phone was almost deafening.

I guess the silence only lasted twenty seconds but if you try counting to twenty you suddenly realise how such a short insignificant time frame means so much when you are waiting for something.

“Téa?” I asked wondering why she wasn’t speaking on her end of the telephone.

Had she forgotten how two way communications worked? In the brief moments of silence had her brain left her blank as to what to do with that lump of plastic in her hand? Had she collapsed and was unable to talk? Had she been stolen by aliens? Gawd help the aliens that took her if she was, they have no idea what they were in for stealing Miss Téa.

Actually none of that happened, it appeared she was just thinking about her answer and how best to tell me what she needed to tell me. Why she needed time to think bugged me a little bit because as I’m sure you are aware the longer a person takes to tell a story the more it seems like it is a story and not a factual account of a situation. Anyway I listened intently as Téa finally spoke.

“I’m here Shane. I’m here, just trying to figure out how I can tell you this over the phone.” Téa voice filled the ear piece.

“How about you just tell me exactly the way it happened. Straight up, honest and to the point?” I replied.

“It’s not quite as simple as that.” Téa said.

“Why?”

“You know how delicate this information is. Talking to you is wonderful, hearing your voice is great. Honestly, I know I only heard it a few hours ago but it’s great to hear it again.”

“Téa, you are procrastinating again.” I said when she took a breath.

“I’m not procrastinating!”

I took a breath in an effort to keep calm and not have my voice rise and sound in any way grumpy or annoyed with her. In truth my annoyance level with her had gone down a little bit but I still wasn’t jumping for joy.

“Yes dear, you are procrastinating.”

“No I am not.” she paused and I decided to let her continued rather than interrupt. “I’m simply delaying things a bit while I figure out how to say this.”

At any other time I might have pointed out the similarities between procrastinating and what she claimed she was doing but I wasn’t entirely ready to make a comedy session out of what was happening. Instead I kept the the discussion serious.

“Please Téa just tell me straight out.”

“Shane. I want to tell you, but over the phone is not a good place. Sure cell phones are risky and easier to hack into these days but even landlines aren’t entirely safe. In fact I’m really surprised you chose to use the landline. No one uses landlines these days.”

“You answered yours.” I replied. It was an unconscious reaction more than a smart arse response.

“Yes, well I guess, but that is not the point I am trying to make.”

I could see where Téa was headed with the conversation, for whatever reason, and I guess time travelling dials was a good reason, she didn’t want to have the conversation over the telephone. Whether she was being paranoid about wire taps and people listening in was not really something I could judge fairly, but the topic of conversation was definitely not one I wanted too many people to hear.

“Okay, so we’ll use the other method, the one where we know it’s safe.” I was of course referring to the chat room that she had set up where we logged on anonymously through multiple proxies and VPN’s and could chat without other people seeing or hearing what we had to say. “I can be there in five minutes,” I needed time to turn on my computer and log on.

“No, Shane!” I heard her say from the other end of the phone. “Not there.”

“But it’s safe.” I replied getting a little bit sick of where the conversation was, or wasn’t headed.

“Yes it is safe, but honestly Shane I don’t want to do this in words on a screen any more than I want to do this over the telephone.”

“So what is your suggestion?” I asked knowing full well what her answer would be.

“B4.” was her reply.

“And how do I know the same thing that happened last time is not going to happen again.” I asked fearing I’d end up back at square one.

“Because I think I’ve deciphered the lettering and number sequence.”

“You mean you can pick where we meet?” I asked trying not to give away too much information but offering enough for Téa to understand.

“Yes, I think so!”

Previous parcel story here.