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Wolf, Pronounced Stephen

Sing O Muse. Sing of prank phone calls.

A relic of a bygone era, and destroyed in its purest form forever. In these days of caller ID, easily traceable phone records, and number blocking, the prank phone call is obsolete. Unless you use a public phone, and when was the last time you saw one of those?

There was a time when myself, and certain unnamed associates, scratched out creative itch by indulging in these delights of shock and subterfuge. Understand that these were not your standard guffawing fifteen-year-old phone prank of making a call and yelling, “Fuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuck you,” then hanging up. These were finely honed deft jibes, where a person might not even realize that they had being pranked until near the end, and maybe not even then. We each crafted a persona and made calls in that guise.

Sometimes they failed. Sometimes the results were beyond our wildest expectations. During our phone romps, we got two people to admit to homosexual tendencies. One was Mu-tai Man, D. Craik (whose story will be handled in my next post). Another was the cousin of a certain individual who may or may not be lurking on this site. However my favorite prank was completed by the modern man of twists and turns, Mike, during the Days of Comstock.

The persona crafted by Mike was called Stephen (pronounced with a “f” sound, rather than a “v”). He had a weak whiny voice, and a slight lisp. Stephen was a confused person. He often didn’t know how to do things, or get to places, and had a bad habit of making plans but never showing up. Hence his propensity of calling complete strangers for help.  

The first time I heard Stephen make a call was at the UB dorms. The recipient was my Uncle Dick (never was there a man more aptly named). Stephen had decided to be fashionably homosexual while at college, and called my Uncle for a date (he was into older men in their 60s) Stephen called, claiming that a female friend of my Uncle’s had given him the number. When the call was made, my Uncle (a raging alcoholic) was so deep in his cups, that he didn’t notice that the call was being placed to my house (where he was staying the night) and not his own. He seemed to accept the situation cordially; they talked for a bit, and parted without obscenities. We got a mild chuckle and thought nothing else of it, but the aftermath was explosive. Dick had called up his friend and the pair got into a heated argument, during which there were many hang-ups and call-backs, that ended their friendship forever. Later when I asked him about it, he said, “She had some woman call me up and hit on me. I didn’t like that.” It wasn’t Stephen’s fault, he was just curious, and as I said, my Uncle was well named Dick.

Flash forward several years. A schism had occurred in the Rocky Horror cast, causing the creation of the Dashwood Society. We had our meetings, our quirks, and our victims. While there was a range of callee’s and personas, we had our particularly favorite victim, whom we singled out for a specific series of pranks; Boring Ben.

Boring Ben was an unbelievably annoying figure. Whenever he opened his mouth, I felt like smashing my head into a wall or onto a rusty spike, to avoid hearing his “witticisms.” He was under the impression that he was very funny or “witty.” And when not abusing us with puns, or bragging about his high I.Q., he would spend hours quoting Monty Pythons lines, from which he derived his sole source of humor. He once spent an entire evening reciting every line from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Every Goddamn Line. I haven’t been able to watch the film since.

He also claimed to suffer from nightmares (such a tragic figure), and would pretend to fall asleep in a corner, then start flailing his arms about, as if wrestling his inner demons, in order to garner attention and sympathy. He was a central figure in why the Dashwood split from Rocky. For all of these reasons and more, Ben received our special ministrations.

Boring Ben knew all of our voices, so what we would do was have a series of calls made to him, each from a different person. Sometimes a man, sometimes a woman, so it seemed that a horde of unrelated people, whom Ben didn’t know, would call him up and abuse him. What tied them together was that each person would, at some point, call him, “a boring pretentious fuck.” Where this occurred was up to the individual, and adding to this, Ben had a bad habit of arguing with a prank caller.

Often the person was straight forward. For example: A call from Mahatma Nick:

Ben: “Hello?”

Nick: “Hey Ben, you’re a boring pretentious fuck.”

Ben: “What?”

Nick: “I said you’re a boring pretentious fuck.”

Ben: “This is the third time you’ve called me.”

Nick: “No, this is the first time I’ve called you.”

Ben: “No it’s not!”

Nick: ‘Hey, where’s Vicky at? I want to ask her about her hairy nipples…”

And so on.

I’m sure he guessed it was us, but with our constantly changing line-up of guest stars, he never knew for certain. Especially since Jeff Death was still friendly with the crowd, and always claimed that we never did anything of the kind. This gave, to me, a certain elegance to the whole affair. There were many calls, but my favorite was when Stephen needed help and only Ben could provide it:

Ben: “Hello.”

Stephen: “Hello Ben?”

Ben: “Yes.”

Stephen: “I’m Stephen. I’m in your psychology class at school. I missed the last lecture, and I hoped you could give me the notes to it?”

Ben: “Which class?”

Stephen: “The psychology class. It’s the only one I’m in.”

Ben: “But I’m only taking anthropology classes this year.”

Stephen: Oh. Well, I talked to the professor and he said you were a boring pretentious fuck.”
Short and sweet with a perfect Twilight Zone twist at the end. We all fell back laughing, and continued to do so until rosy fingered dawn reached towards the sky.


10 Responses

  1. Sorry about the editing at the end. I tried to make it work, but after about 20 minutes I decided to leave well enough alone.

  2. A story we all know and love. I am reminded of when the Dashwood society help a party in the dead of winter in Dan’s garage. You would think it would be freezing, and it was, however, in true homeless fashion they acquired a metal barrel and fueled it with stolen wood from the Tops drift fence. Many those things kick out here. This killed any remaining sympathy for homeless 🙂 We stood around the metal dumb drinking and interjecting quintessential Ben quote, “I have a 180 I.Q.”

    Knaus and I arrived at the party together, and so as to not have The Dashwood Society steal our liquor, stopped at Tops to dump out out 2l Pepsi bottles and re-filled them with Rum.

    The party was to celebrate the birthday of Beelzebub.

  3. I missed that one because I was out with Jen With the Tongue that night.

    To my everlasting delight, Ben and I had the penchant for registering for the same classes, and the problem bad enough that I begain registering for 8 each semester, then showing up to the first one of each. If it contained Ben I immediatly dropped. The one exception was freshman year where I didn’t know any better. It was a German class and Ben made the claim to be able to recite all of Monty Python in German. The class vehemently declined to take him up on his offer.

    I also recall that the time ‘Stephan’ called Ben, the phone rang immediatly after as the technological wonder of *69 had just been invented in response to our schnanigans. We knew who it was and as a result I remember Dan rushing up the stairs to make sure his mom didn’t answer and give the plot away.

    Hey, didn’t Uncle Dick steal your girlfriend or something? I don’t remember the details except that it occurred after the prank call.

  4. Uncle Dick tried to sexually assault my girlfriend, and I smacked him around with a baseball bat.

  5. Which girlfriend? That sounds like pure Jerry Springer.

  6. I think it was the one he ended up giving the dildo to for Christmas, and had her unwrap it in front of her parents. Cathy? Carrie? All I remember is that it was back in the dorm days. Speaking of which, I’m writing a piece on that now that includes my first post-high school encounter with Mr. Mooney. Not to worry Dan, so far the slant is biased in your favor.

  7. No, it was Nicole. I only dated her briefly.

  8. Because her regular boyfriend showed up, and didn’t enjoy my presence, for some reason.

  9. I did my best to repair the formatting on this post.

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