The Asterisk and the I

It was three in the morning and Asterisk was sound asleep in his modest home. In the darkness, his phone jolted to life, ringing and vibrating loudly on his nightstand. Asterisk’s eyes snapped open. Reluctantly, he felt around the nightstand and picked up. “Hello?” he grumbled.

"You gotta help me, man," pleaded the voice on the other line.

"I’m sorry, who is this?" Asterisk asked. It was late and the voice was unfamiliar.

"It’s I. You know, the letter," said the voice. He hadn’t heard from I in a long time. They had once been close, but that was long ago. I, being a proper letter, had always kept Asterisk at a distance. And as much as Asterisk yearned to be a letter in his younger years, he had lived a happy enough life with his fellow glyphs.

"It’s three in the morning, I." Asterisk said, rubbing the sleep from his eyes while flicking on a light.

"I know, I’m sorry," I said, "but I didn’t know where else to turn. I called Dash and he didn’t pick up. I tried At Symbol, Exclamation Point, Ampersand, all of them. I even called Space, but it’s like he’s not even there. Believe me, man, I didn’t want to bring you into this. I…I just…"

"No, no. I’m happy to help. Do you need a footnote or something? Did you try the Superscripts?"

"It’s not that," I said. "I wish it were that," he added with a touch of remorse.

"Oh, do you need me to add emphasis? Is Italic not around or something?"

"No…no. It’s uh…" I paused. Asterisk could hear him take a deep breath, as if the air gave him courage for what was to come next. "I need you to get in the middle of something bad for me, man. I just can’t be seen here, not like that, at least. I’m so sorry."

It was silent as Asterisk slowly hung up the phone. I may have said goodbye, Asterisk had stopped listening.