Somewhere in another room, a telephone rings. Nobody moves. The phone rings on, and on. Ring-ring. Ring-ring. Twenty-four times. Twenty-five times. Twenty-six times.
“Are you going to answer that?” says the guest, raising her eyebrows.
The host looks up from his jigsaw puzzle. He lifts a piece to his lips and runs his tongue along the edge.
“It’s not for me,” says the host.
“How do you know?” reasons the guest. “It’s your house, it’s your phone. It could be important.”
The host shakes his head. “I don’t believe so. If it was for me, it would have rung in here.” He returns to his jigsaw puzzle, trying to fit blue pieces next to orange pieces. Licking the edges, not seeing patterns.
The guest suppresses her annoyance. She sits on a chair nearer to the host. Rubs her chin with her fingers, tries to adopt an innocent expression.
“Are you sure the telephones work like that?” she asks. “Perhaps the one in this room is broken?”
The host sighs, looks at her with a pitying expression.
“Alright,” he says. “If it will make you feel better, I will go and demonstrate.” The host gets up from his chair, being careful not to upset his puzzle, and heads out the door.
As his footsteps faint away, the guest sneaks over to the jigsaw puzzle. She places the edges in the shape of a frame, then puts pieces where they belong, leaving just a few pieces unconnected.