How about some links?
We open on a usual Midnight Society meeting, but Tucker is strangely absent, and it’s his turn to tell a story! Gary reassures everyone that Tucker is here and pulls out a cordless telephone, only serving to strengthen my case that Midnight Society meetings take place in his backyard.
Turns out Tucker is telling the story through a phone, to make a point. Something about phones being the scariest thing in your house. The scariest thing is my house is a Christmas tree ornament that looks like a freaky clown. Anyways, Gary tosses some pencil shavings onto the fire for Tucker, and he begins. Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society, he calls this story…
We meet Chris and Jake, two young lads who enjoy prank phone calling people. Jake has a bowl cut, and everyone should laugh at him for that. Chris is horrible at prank phone calls and does the stupid “Is your refrigerator running” line and he doesn’t even do it correctly. Jake does a bit better by pretending to be a DJ offering a dream vacation to some poor shmuck.
Their fun is sadly broken up by Jake’s sister, Annie, who’s wearing a sporty blazer for no apparent reason. Oh 90’s fashion, you were full of so many mysteries.
Jake is worried she’s going to tell their mom and dad, but Annie instead insists the only people they need to be worried about are the Phone Police. And the only people Annie needs to be worried about are the Fashion Police! Am I right? The boys are of course curious about who the Phone Police are, so Annie fills them in. She tells them that anyone who makes prank phone calls is at risk to be taken away by the Phone Police, just like Billy Baxter, a boy from the neighborhood who went missing after a prank phone call binge. Jake doesn’t really believe it, but Chris is scared enough to leave.
After Chris leaves, Jake consults the phone book and surprisingly stumbles upon Billy Baxter’s number.
Jake notices the number only has 6 digits, but calls it anyways. The phone rings and soon we here some labored breathing and an older sounding man saying “help me” Jake is understandably freaked out. He’s even more freaked out later that night when he’s woken up by the same guy calling him. And calling him, and calling him.
Things only get weirder, when the next day Chris and Jake pass a payphone and it starts to ring. They pick it up, and it’s again Billy Baxter. Okay, let’s discuss Mr. Baxter for a second. He doesn’t sound like a kid, he sounds more like someone who’d be locking up kids in his basement. If anything, I’d expect to be getting phone calls from people trying to escape from Mr. Baxter. I understand the whole thing is supposed to make it sound like he’s been locked up for years, but really it just comes off more as a creepy pedophile.
The boys decide to get to the bottom of things by going to the phone company. Not just any phone company, The Phone Company.
The receptionist tells them that the number is old and discontinued. They mention that someone picked up when they called and she creepily directs them to the records department. There they run into this fellow, but Chris happens to be ducking down at the time, so he only sees Jake, and invites him to the back, and for some reason, Jake follows.
The old man scolds Jake for making prank calls and members of the Phone Police show up and haul Jake away.
They throw Jake in a holding cell and the old man laughs at him.
Too make matters worse for Jake, he soon gets a phone call from Billy Baxter. Because that’s the kind of voice you want to hear after you’ve been imprisoned for seemingly no reason, I’m sure it’s very reassuring.
Chris meanwhile goes to tell Annie about what happened, but finds she doesn’t remember anything about Jake, and doesn’t know who Chris is. Wow, the Phone Police work surprisingly fast at erasing someone’s existence. She tells Chris that she knows the story of the phone police, but in the story she heard they took a kid named Jake, not Billy Baxter.
Chris decides to check the phone book, and low and behold, finds Jake’s number. He also comments that the Phone Police work fast. I already said that Chris, stop stealing my lines.
Chris calls Jake and fills him in on what happened. Jake is of course panicking, but Chris assures him that he’s got a plan. Being that he doesn’t sound like Billy Baxter, I bet Jake feels a bit better about that. Chris’ elaborate plan involves calling Jake and having the phone ring until the old man is forced to go in there and pick it up himself. He then follows the old man inside and once he approaches Jake’s cell, pushes him down and locks him inside after Jake escapes. See, now they’ve assaulted an elderly person, and the Phone Police would be wise to call the real police.
Jake and Chris escape down a sewer tunnel, and then Chris shows a surprising amount of strength for a 13 year old, when he easily moves a manhole cover by himself.
Of course the Phone Police give chase in their SUV with a siren that sounds like a phone that’s been left off the hook. Cute.
The boys are chased back to Jake’s house, where they find that Annie again remembers her brother and everything is back to normal. The doorbell rings, and the boys are terrified it’s the phone police, but it turns out that it’s just a pizza delivery guy who went to the wrong house.
Oh the Phone Police, this episode put me on edge as a kid. I’m fairly sure it was because of Billy Baxter, who again, sounds like sex offender. It’s a fun episode with kids who aren’t that annoying, so that’s always a big plus. The Phone Police manage to be intimidating villains and the whole episode now can be seen as a metaphor for the hold that nameless, faceless corporations can have over our every day lives. And how creepy sex offenders are. That one is less metaphorical.