So last night, after the Oscars ended, I was drifting off to sleep when my cell phone began to vibrate with a call. An unknown number. I never answer unknown numbers.
But a little voice inside my head said, “What if it’s Ben Affleck and he wants to buy the rights to your latest Noah Greene mystery novel?”
“Nah,” I told myself, “Ben ain’t calling me. It’s probably one of those robocalls offering me the first three months free on a home warranty, or a Medicare supplement insurance plan, or a discount on a certain little blue pill that has recently come off its patent.”
Not that I need a little blue pill, understand. My fingers slipped when a Blue Chew form somehow popped up … uh … appeared on my computer screen.
Anyway, it’s not Ben, I told myself.
I let the call go to voicemail. But then, 10 seconds later, the phone rang again, and I said to myself that I could maybe use a new home warranty, so I answered it.
“Yeah?” Whenever I answer the phone at 11:30 at night, I always say, ‘Yeah?”
“Mr. E.E. Williams?” asked the voice that sounded very familiar.
“Yeah?” Again, 11:30 at night.
“Mr. E.E., this is Ben Affleck, and I’m calling today to speak to you about something important to your future. I would like …”
It’s Ben! Ben Affleck! He’s calling me about purchasing the rights to “My Grave Is Deep!”
As Ben is talking, I am imagining myself rushing down the aisle of the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles and bounding up the steps to the stage and leaping into the arms of Samuel L. Jackson, accepting my award for best adapted screenplay and then later, joining Ben and George Clooney, who would be playing Noah, and Amy Adams, who would be playing Noah’s love interest, Kay Woodson, and Robert De Niro, who would be cast as Charlie Hall and maybe Joe Pesci as Mickey, and the entire cast of the film version of “My Grave Is Deep” as they accept the Academy Award for best picture.
“ … you to know that we take your health seriously, and that we offer a wide range of insurance policies to help you feel confident about our coverage.”
“Wait a minute,” I say. “Ben, did Hollywood think you did such a terrible job as Batman that you’re selling insurance now?”
“Yeah … Superman V. Batman? Justice League? Suicide Squad? Batman?”
“This is Ben Affleck, right?”
“Um, no. This is Ben, Ben from Aflac. You know. Supplemental health insurance? The duck? Aaaaflaaac! Mr. E.E. …”
I hung up. And dreamt of winning an Oscar shaped like a duck!