"Morty" quickly became "Morty, the Short Balding Accountant," because, after all, my mom couldn't disprove it. (It was at this point that she said, "the worst that happens, you make a new friend" to which I, a beleaguered junior lawyer at a soul-sapping Manhattan law firm, snapped, "I don't even have time to see the friends I have!") Still, she must have sensed my flexibility on that point, seeing as the bar for "new friend" had recently been satisfied by a guy I'd agreed to meet for dinner based on the fact that he'd seen me on a plane and eavesdropped enough information to get my phone number through my law school alumni office. If Plane Stalker could get the nod, I guess I could make time for Morty, who may or may not have been a short, balding accountant. Besides, now it wasn't just about me, or my mom—now my actions had consequences for Natalie, Sheila, Cathy, and Marcy, too. For the sake of them, I figured it couldn't hurt. I awaited his call.
And awaited, and awaited—what, this Morty was too busy to pick up a phone?
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A week went by, then two; thoughts of Morty were lost in piles of due diligence binders and all-nighters fueled by Diet Coke and take-out. In fact, I was so close to the edge that when a long weekend suddenly opened up I impulsively decided to take an impromptu trip, just buy a ticket and get the hell out of Dodge. I was trolling Expedia, deciding between Palm Springs (where my Canadian parents flee every winter) and Sweden (where I used to live) when the phone rang.
"This is Rachel," I said, in my best lawyer voice.
"Hi, this is Morty," he said, snapping me back from daydreams of strapping blond Nordic men. Swedes are very attractive. "So, you're Cathy's friend?"
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As it happens, I was not Cathy's friend; the last time I'd seen Cathy was in 1987 at summer camp, where she was the drama counselor. I remembered her yelling at me once during rehearsal when I ran offstage mid-scene because someone had walked in with a pizza. Was Morty was under the erroneous impression that someone in that crazy set-up chain actually knew me? Yikes. Maybe he didn't actually know that he was calling his sister's friend's mom's friend's friend's daughter. If so, he was already one up on me.