At 3:41 last night, the bedroom phone rang.
”Hello,” I mumbled into the phone half asleep.
”Well, you coming through for me, or what, jerkface?” a male voice asked sharply.
”Who is this?”
”Don’t play dumb, you know damn well who this is. Are you forking over a kidney or are you going to bogart them both for your greedy little self?”
”Oh, it’s you,” I said realizing it was the guy I met recently who requested I donate one of my healthy kidneys to him in case he ever needs a back-up. ”I’m still thinking about it and haven’t decided yet.”
”Who is it?” my wife asked groggily.
”No one, honey, go back to sleep,” I said to her.
”No one! So I’m no one, am I?” the guy shouted into the phone. “You’ve got some nerve calling me a no one. Un-fricken-believa-bloo-kowski!”
”I wasn’t calling you a ‘no one’,” I said calmly, “I was just talking to my wife who woke up from her sleep. It’s almost four o’clock, you know. I don’t want her to worry, that’s all.”
”Yeah, right. Well listen up, kidney-hog… since you’re taking so long making up your stupid little indecisive mind, I want your spleen, too.”
”Yeah, your spleen and one of your lousy kidneys. You don’t even need a spleen, it’s standard equipment that’s optional– like the cigarette lighter you get with your car if you don’t smoke.”
I thought about what he said and became confused.
”Cigarette lighter?” I repeated somewhat perplexed.
”Never mind. Just give me a kidney and your spleen. No big deal, you’ll be none the worse for wear.”
”But I hardly even know you…”
”Oh, great, so now we’re strangers so you don’t have to care about me and you can just let me die because I’m ‘no one’.”
”Wait, what do you mean ‘let you die’– I thought you were healthy.”
”I am– now. But who knows what might happen? And if I should need a kidney or spleen, well, I’m out of luck because you’re so selfish. Yeah, great. Thanks a lot. Kill me. Thanks a whole bunch.”
”All right, look, let me just think some more about this, O.K.? It’s late, I’m tired, I need to sort this out and get back to you. I mean, this is a big decision, you know, we’re talking organs here…”
”Yeah, big friggin’-palooza decision– a little minor surgery for you– a few stinking scars that could be potentially life saving for no one. Thanks for nothing, man, thanks a bunch for two fistfuls of nadinski. I thought you were a friend, dude, but I guess I was wrong. Maybe dead wrong, thanks to you…”
”Hey, don’t be like that,” I said to a sharp click and a dial tone.
”Who was that?” my wife asked.
”Someone,” I said. “Someone I know. Never mind. Go to sleep.”
I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning and wondering if a spleen really was like a cigarette lighter. What to do?
What to do…