My son recently told me he thought “Telephone Tag” would make a great episode of The Twilight Zone. While I appreciate his kind words, I’m not sure how it would work. The entire story is an exchange of voicemail messages in which one person is living a single day in the future, progressively terrifying the career-obsessed Stella Caine.
You could do it with actors living out moments of the messages, instead of 30 minutes of voiceovers. But I think it loses something that way.
Anyway, what prompted “Telephone Tag” was a particularly tough period in my corporate life, when I was wondering where this was going—and wondering why I didn’t care about climbing the corporate ladder like others did. Writing this story didn’t really give me any insights. But it did remind me of that Bible passage where a successful landowner has such a rich harvest that he builds new barns to hold it all, then leans back to prepare for a comfortable future focused entirely on himself. Instead, he dies before he gets to enjoy any of his reward.
It’s certainly not a fate I would wish on anyone, but it does happen. The important thing to remember is to live in the moment, enjoy life as it happens, and to have compassion for those around you. Caine didn’t—but her business machinations didn’t matter in the end.