Eileen – Ch. 1


“Good morning. Thank you for calling Illinois Electronics. How may I help you today?” The generic female voice that came through the phone was a little detached, but not unfriendly.

“Hi. Um… I had a couple of questions about a couple of components I need.”

“Sure. Are you looking in the catalog or on our website?”


Steve Parker was kind of a shy person. He wasn’t socially awkward by any means, just shy. An unassuming man of thirty years, Steve had never really ventured past his neighborhood. He rented a small apartment near the local high school; the same apartment that he had shared with his high school sweetheart since graduation. She moved out less than a year after that complaining he was too dull. Always tinkering and playing with his “radio stuff” as she called it. She was a beautiful girl, and Steve loved her very much. But being a shy person, he never bothered to venture out except for work. When she left him, he figured it had been a long time coming. All of their friends thought they were a very unlikely couple anyway. Steve didn’t take it too hard when she left.

It had been almost ten years since Steve had spoken to her, but there was something familiar about the voice on the other end of the phone.

“Do you have a part number?”


“That’s a ten K-ohm resistor, correct?”

“Yeah. The site doesn’t say what the tolerance is.”

“Five percent.”

“Ok. Thanks.”

“Was there anything else?”

“Um… No. I, uh, just need to figure something out and I’ll just order them online if I need them.”

“Sounds great!” The operator sounded like she was trying to be enthusiastic, but fell short. “Before you hang up, do you mind if I get some details from you for our customer database?”

“No. That’s fine.”

“First and last name?”

“Steve Parker.”


“I don’t need to be mailed anything. I really don’t like getting junk mail.”

“That’s fine. It’s just for survey information. Your zip code would be sufficient.”


“East Peoria, Illinois?”


“Okay. Well thank you for calling Illinois Electronics, Mr. Parker.”

“Steve is fine.”

“Thank you for calling Illinois Electronics, Steve.”

Steve chuckled slightly at the reply and how similar it seemed both times. “Do you mind if I ask you another question?”

“No. Go right ahead, Steve.”

“What’s your name?”


“I used to know an Eileen.”

“Have a nice day, Mr. Parker.”

“Steve is fine, Eil-.” He was cut off by the sound of a receiver click.

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