Steve Mason had lived in New York for three years. His address book was filled with the phone numbers of girls he new and had dated. Then why, he wondered, was he sitting in the phone booth about to dial PL 1 – 2450 the phone number of a girl he had never seen or even heard about? Because he was curious. He had seen the name Pam Starr and her number twice in one week. The first time had been on the wall of a phone booth on 42 nd Street. Then a minute ago he saw the name and number again – this time near a phone in a drug store. The name Pam Starr was the same. The handwriting was the same. And beneath it was written Quite a chick.
Steve was so curious that he looked up the name in the telephone book. There it was – Pam Starr, Plaza 1 – He was so surprised that he decided to call. He wanted to find out what would happen. It could be an interesting adventure. He could hear himself telling the whole story to his friends and laughing about it when it was over. So he took a deep breath, dropped in his dime, and dialled Pl 1 – 2450.
He heard two rings; then a soft, pleasant, girls voice said, Hello. May I speak to Pam Starr? Steve asked. This is Pam, she answered. Who is this? Steven Wordsley, he said using a phoney name. You dont know me. Ive just moved to New York from Chicago. But before I left, a friend of a friend of mine gave me your name… Perhaps we could meet and go somewhere for a drink. The girl hesitated. Its impossible for me to know much about you from a phone call. Thats right, Steve said. But theres no way for you to find out about me except by taking a chance. So how about a date? He paused. Come on. Gamble. I swear I dont have two heads.
Then she said, Ive got an idea. I like your voice, and I think Ill like you. But I might not. And then again, you might not like me. So why dont we go to a movie? I like foreign ones best. You pick one out and call me back. Then well go out, and even if we dont like each other at least we can both enjoy the show. Uh, all right, sure, Steve answered. He was a little surprised by the way she was arranging the date but he promised to call her back. He waited two days so he wouldnt seem too eager. Than he called and made a date for the next Saturday evening.
At seven thirty Saturday night Steve went to her address. For a moment he hesitated. But he was too curious to give up now. So he knocked on the door of her apartment. She opened the door, and Steve knew he was a loser. The girl tried to make herself look attractive, but she couldnt hide her homeliness. She wasnt really ugly, but she was no gorgeous chick. She smiled weakly at Steve, and he couldnt be sure if it was to apologize for her looks of to hide her fear that he might turn around and walk away.
Steve covered up his disappointment with a friendly smile. Hello, Pam. Im Steve She laughed and said, I know Im not the most beautiful girl in the world, but - I wasnt looking for the most beautiful girl in the world, Steve lied. Come on, lets go see the movie. He smiled as cheerfully as he could. Still, the girl seemed nice, and the adventure would be something he could tell his friends.
On their way back to her apartment. Steve lied again an told Pam that his company was sending him back to Chicago the next week and that he didnt know when he would return to New York. Steve couldnt decide if she believed his story, but he didnt really care. He had taken her out and shown her a good time. That was all she could expect with her looks. When they got to her apartment, they stood in the doorway and said goodnight.
Suddenly Steve felt very sorry for her. He decided that it wouldnt hurt him to fake an interest in her, and it would probably mean a lot to her if thought someone wanted to see her again. Im kind of sorry I have to leave town, he said. I really would have liked to see you again. Theres just a chance that Ill get back to New York soon. For a day or so. Maybe we can go out again. Could I call you?
Id be so happy to hear from you. she said. You wont lose my number, will you? Im in the phone book if you do. But if youre here only for a day, you could call me at my office. Ill write down my office number for you right now. Wait just a second. She ran into her apartment to get a pencil and some paper. As she ripped a sheet from a pad, she dropped the pencil on the floor. She got down on her knees and scrambled after the rolling pencil. Finally she wrote her name and office number. Steve watched her sadly. Even before she handed him the piece of paper, he knew that her handwriting would be the same as the handwriting on the phone booth walls.