"Okay, Ashley. Your turn," says a young female voice as an index finger travels down a page in a phone book. We're under cover of night in the bedroom of The Future Telemarketers Of America's local chapter meeting, where normal slumber-party protocol is being stringently observed: the painting of the toenails, the wrists in warm water, the writing in slam books of "I hate it when my mom makes me invite Kaitlin to my slumber parties. She's always so dramatic, with her crying that she wants to go home and her dying." But for now, the three currently-pubescing girls sit on a bed perusing the phone book and debating whose Prince Albert is most in need of release from where he lies in his can, imprisoned. One of the girls -- let's call her "Ashley The Long-Lived" suggests a "Gupta, Sandeep," but her bedmate -- let's call her "Kaitlin The Not Quite As Lucky As Ashley" -- sighs, "No Indian people." Seriously, it's true. One crank call about Prince Albert and they just start whining about colonial imperialism, and then how are you ever supposed to ask the follow-up question about the running refrigerator? The third girl on the bed -- let's call her "Girl #3 The Dramatically Inconsequential" -- reads some Tiger Beat and heeds the advice of the "What Would Jonathan Taylor Thomas Do?" column, trying to tap into her social conscience by suggesting, "We're gonna get in trouble, you guys. We should stop doing this." The room's unseen fourth entity -- let's call him "Grim Reaper, Lover Of Obvious Foreshadow" -- all but trips over his flowing black robes to shut the doubting girl up, thinking, "This is gonna happen and it's gonna happen right now, Girl #3. You think I can just breeze out to the suburbs whenever I want? Maybe Daddy hasn't complained about the gas prices lately, but trust me when I say they're no better. Let the moment breathe." As an alternative to the Guptas, Ashley suggests they call up a "Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Gurvitz," which Kaitlin would find a hoot. You think the Indians are bad? Wait until you get a load of the paranoid fatties.
A phone rings in a darkened bedroom in another nestled corner of the 818. A not-entirely-comely woman -- let's call her "Mrs. Gurvitz" because, right -- picks up a cordless phone with a discombobulated "Hello?" Young Ashley adopts what I think is a southern belle accent because all wanton women are from the pole or from the South, and asks Mrs. Gurvitz, "Hi, is Gerald there?" Mrs. Gurvitz asks who this is and what she wants, and Ashley replies, "He'll know." Rustling sounds ensue as Mrs. Gurvitz takes an axe to her husband's back and kills him instantly -- no, just kidding -- waking him up with an increasingly alarmed "Something's wrong." With their phone. It's making all of their crank callers sound like the Twin Peaks midget played at 33RPM. Gerald stirs in bed as Mrs. Gurvitz asks just what this is regarding, and Ashley drawls, "Tell him he left his underwear here." The girls burst into silent hysterics as Ashley puts the phone on speaker as Mrs. Gurvitz screams, "I could kill you, Jerry! What did you do?" But alas, Gerald's death will remain in the euphemistic and the rhetorical this week, as we cut back to the three girls finally losing their shit and Mrs. Gurvitz hanging up in a fury, yelling, "I'm gonna call the police. I've got caller ID, you idiots." Which, is there anyone who doesn't? I was wondering through this whole thing if kids even made crank calls anymore, what with every capable dialer having *69 (tee-hee..."69") at his or her disposal. Wouldn't threatening someone with caller ID be akin to yelling "I'm going to call the police on you kids...and I have the newfangled touchtone dialing!" But you know who's not worried? The aforementioned Kaitlin, who laughs so hard she pitches herself backward off the bed as her friends giggle on. With my friends, noting that someone had triple lutzed backwards off the bed would have led to fresh gales of laughter until the whole noticing-said- friend-was-dead thing, but Ashley and Tiger Beat make their way over to the dark side of the bed and note that Kaitlin went down spinal cord first and isn't moving. They whisper a few well-timed "Oh, my God"s before beginning the process of screaming for the mother of the former Kaitlin Elise Stolte, who crossed Ma Bell for the last time and only made it from 1989-2003. Because, if this show has done one thing right this week, it's ridding the world of one of the billion teenagers named "Kaitlin." Think about it the next time you go through the indignity of receiving a harassing telephone call in the middle of the night, and say a small prayer under your breath that it's from a Brittany, Taylor, or Madison who is perched perilously close to the edge of her bed.