Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Somebody On The Phone - Cornell Woolrich

Story: Somebody On The Phone

Author: Cornell Woolrich
Source: The Ten Faces of Cornell Woolrich
Story Number: 81
Ken and his sister Jean are from a well to do family and are staying together. Jean admonishes Ken from picking up the phone – he has been noticing that there are many calls coming in to their house which follow a pattern – 5 rings, stop and then 5 rings again. Ken thinks it’s a secret code being employed by one of Jean’s male companions. A few days later, he is shocked to notice that his check has bounced from their joint account. He comes to know from the banker that Jean cleared out all the money a day earlier. Ken confronts his sister by asking her to name the person who is blackmailing her. He also tells her that he has noticed her being in conversation with a bookie and his doubt that it’s this bookie who is calling her with the 5 rings pattern. Hearing all this, his sister closes the door on him and commits suicide.
To seek revenge, he tracks down the bookie. After talking to him, it is clear to Ken that the bookie was indeed expecting Jean to turn up and that too with loads of money. With the firm belief that it is the booker who was responsible for his sister's death, he takes out a gun and shoots the bookie in the same fashion as the rings – 5, stop and 5 more bullets. But when he comes back home, he is in for a very big surprise!

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