Here I am home after eight grueling hours of trying to sell a rotten product no one needs. Damn, I really got to dump this job! Before I drink something and start cooking these chicken wings I bought at Vick's, I better see who called--not that anyone really calls me, except my mother once a week. I bought this answering machine at a garage sale, mostly to keep the telemarketers at arm's length, but it works okay, though the voices come through a little distorted. Let's see, first message, a telemarketer trying to refinance my home, which I don't have; just this hole in the wall, which is supposed to be a studio apartment. Second message: another telemarketer. I won't even listen to his pitch. Let's jump ahead. Third message: a young woman's voice, sounding kind of sexy. She's selling a vacation package, though she says I'll only be paying for the flight in a promotional deal. Wow! Another example of how sex is used to sell. Okay, let's go on to the next one. Ohoh, I know that voice, it's the woman I met at the bookstore the other day! Her name's Paola, I think. I had almost forgotten I had given her my number thinking she'd never call. She reminds me that her book club meeting is this Saturday. She sounds nice; her tone is upbeat, like that of a friend calling another about an upcoming event. Ohoh, something is wrong. Her voice is cracking. I can sense there's restrained emotion in her words. "I thought you were going to call." She hangs up. Good thing I have this old beat up answering machine because I can't talk to her. It's embarrassing. I'll leave it at that. I'm not returning her call. I'm sure she'll get the message and brush this off. She's a pretty woman; I know she can get any man she wants. Yet I still feel rotten inside. I've got to beat it in my brain that I'm in no position to pursue a woman like her. In the end, I'm the one who will suffer the most. I'd better forget about her and have a beer. I'll cook up my wings and turn on the sitcoms!