So I had a pretty lame ESL job. I’m not even sure I’d call it ESL… instead of “teaching” foreigners, all I did was make 10-20 minute phone calls with them. And it’s not so much teaching as it was just having normal conversations in English (“how was your day,” “how’s the weather,” blah blah blah). The pay was about what you’d expect with this gig: it sucked. But hey, it’s easy and you still get paid for the absentees/cancels so maybe it wasn’t all that bad.
I live out in the country. Very rural so naturally, my options are limited when it comes to wi-fi. So I use a personal hotspot on my iPhone and even then the connection can still be a nightmare (my “clients’ complained ALL THE TIME). My bosses had me use a weird app on the computer for the calls, so thank God I didn’t get charged long distance.
Anyway, I’d been doing this for a few months when I was home alone. It gets scary in the country for sure, but this job usually took my mind off things. That, beer, and T.V. alleviated the nerves to say the least. I considered my upstairs bedroom a fortress as well… I felt safe. Anyway, I’m on my last call for the night… one that they threw on me at the last minute: a sub job… great. They gave me his name and number. CHUCK. I’m guessing that was his English name.
I gave Chuck a call. No answer the first time. Following protocol, I called him back. Unfortunately, this time he answered. The connection was shaky, so I had to constantly move my phone around until the signal was clear. Finally through all the static and break-up, a voice emerged: “Hello.” It was clear as day.
“Is this Chuck,” I asked.
The voice sounded confused at first, but he was like “Yes, Chuck speaking.” I gotta say his English wasn’t bad. That’s not too strange though. These foreigners dominate on bilingual abilities. Hell, I’ve talked to elementary school “clients” who spoke better English than my friends. So this was really nothing out of the ordinary.
I introduced myself, and we talked a bit. He sounded disoriented. Or concerned. Very short, succinct answers. This was gonna be a long seven minutes. Finally, he goes “Where are you from?”
I tell him my state. I’m awkward as shit at doing this, but me going on and on about describing my hometown is nice strategy for padding the call.
I don’t hear anything else from his end… he sounded pre-occupied. Like he’s staggering around. “Chuck,” I ask. Then I hear this low groaning… what the fuck, I’m thinking. “Chuck, if you wanna cancel, we can just talk tomorrow,” I said. Please cancel I’m thinking.
I then heard Chuck stagger around more. He lets out another weird, exasperated noise… I guess it was a groan. Like the noise someone makes when they’re agitated, but not sure by what. “Hey, Chuck,” I said as my eyes stay glued to the clock. Just a couple more minutes of this bullshit left…
Then I heard this noise… like a STABBING NOISE. Like a blade striking something. I didn’t know what it was striking, but whoever was doing it was brutal and efficient.
I got silent. Confused. Then what I heard next really got me… this long, slow, agonizing CRY. I can only imagine that cry could only come from the most wounded. A real victim’s cry.
More STABBING noises ensued. The CRYING intensified. They sounded simultaneously vulnerable and inhuman. I then heard what sounded like PUNCHES and a STRUGGLE.
I’m fucking horrified. I don’t know what to do… how do you call the police when this situation is happening a thousand miles overseas?
One more STAB and the CRYING started to fade out.
Panicking, I sent a quick message to my bosses… I let them know something is up with this call.
A frantic Chuck finally answered back, “Hey Ron.” He forced a chuckle, “Sorry about that.”
I’m like “what happened, what was that?” Chuck didn’t respond. I could feel (and hear) his chuckle evaporate with anger. All I could now hear was his heavy breathing… I’m no genius, but I thought he was on the verge of a fucking breakdown.
While waiting for my boss’s reply, I kept Chuck on the line. “Chuck, are you there?” “Are you there, Chuck?”
Finally, I got my answer: “I’m not Chuck.”
Before I could say anything, he HUNG UP on me. Not ure what to do, I got ready to call him back when A NOTIFICATION startled me. My boss replied: “Chuck complain call didn’t go through. Check your connection.”
Their answer sent chills down my spine. Who the Hell was on that line?
I then looked up at the top of my phone. The Hotspot Icon. I didn’t know I could get even more scared., but I certainly did. The icon said there were two connections to my hotspot. As if on cue, I heard loud LUMBERING FOOTSTEPS downstairs. I heard the same eerie CRYING I heard on the line with Chuck. The loud PUNCHES and STABBING.
I lost my shit, and I lost it immediately. I ran to the door and locked it. Dialed 911. Right outside my door, I could hear “Chuck” and his UNSETTLING CRIES. Like a wild animal, the fucker CLAWED at my door with a knife or some sort of blade.
The 911 people somehow kept me calm. I guess I’m not a rowdy drunk. They had me holler at Chuck: “I got the police on the phone!” Of course, I added: “Get the fuck out” and other unpleasant expletives.
I could hear the guy going fucking nuts out there. KNOCKING shit over, his VIOLENT SLICING punctuated by those weird GROANS and CRIES.
It was the longest wait I’d ever experienced. At some point, “Chuck” stumbled back downstairs. Like a predator tired of chasing their elusive prey. I could still hear him down there. Those animal-like CRIES.
Finally, the police arrived. They arrested “Chuck”… It turned out he was wanted in a nearby county. Double homicide. He was psychotic, schizophrenic, you name it he had it. Off his meds of course. He’d killed both his parents a few days before.
The mom’s head was downstairs… he’d taken it with him.. We found it in my laundry room. Her head taking the brunt of Chuck’s stabbings.
Apparently, he’d been hiding here for at least the last night or so. His crazyass must’ve gotten bored which spurred the Hotspot hack job… all before inadvertently hacking into my phone call.
After that, I quit the ESL gig. No pay raise, no glory, no nothing. I never got the chance to meet the real “Chuck.”