The phone rang last night about midnight. It woke me up, and before it registered in my mind that something was ringing, the machine picked up.

It was for my dad. He left town yesterday evening on a business trip. I didn't catch much of the message, just "Jim" and "I need you to call me." I thought for a moment that I know a Jim, and then why the fuck is he calling so late for a guy that isn't even in town? I know how these things work. When there's one call, there's always at least two more. Such is the nature of my father's work. I decide that if it rings again, I'm going to be very rude in how I answer it. I drift off to sleep, mentally daring someone to call.

It didn't ring again. I woke up this morning at the ass-crack of dawn for an early meeting. The meeting was never scheduled to happen, because my boss messed it up. I decided to go downtown and do a little shopping at Good Records to extract my revenge for forcing me out of bed earlier than I normally would get up.

On my way downtown, my cell phone rings. I don't recognize this number, so I assume it's someone I don't care to talk to. I'm in a very bad mood lately.

It's my dad. The helicopter he was responsible for way back when I was in the 7th grade crashed last night. No survivors. It went missing about 10PM outside Aberdeen, and a farmer found it this morning. I don't know anymore details, but it's possible that somebody suffered a really bad night before finally passing on. Maybe even someone I know.

Dad tells me Jim is the mechanic in Aberdeen now. I go home and listen to his message. This is the first time I hear the deep concern in his voice.

I'm glad the phone didn't ring again last night. I would have been awfully disappointed in myself this morning if I had jumped that poor man for waking me up. At least I get to wake up.

Update: September 11

I talked to my dad about ten minutes ago. He spent all day picking up body parts. He's been working on this particular type of helicopter longer than I've been alive, and he had no idea they could be destroyed to this extent.

He's talking about drinking. My dad's been sober for 14 years now, and I don't think I'll be able to take it if he falls off the wagon. I just hung up with my grandfather. I hope he can say to my dad what I couldn't.

I'm not exactly sure how to feel right now.