A crunch of leaves startles The Pig as it trudges through the darkness of the forest. The thick, foggy air carries the earthy scent of dirt and tree bark. The Pig wears a flashlight headband and watches as the beams of light bounce off of the mist.
The Pig stops walking and pulls out a map from a backpack then shines the light on the paper.
“I’m so far from the barn. It looks like I’m on the right path, though. This is just taking forever! I feel so alone in this forest.”
The Pig sighs deeply. After stuffing the map back into the backpack, the walking continues.
A figure appears in the distance, then disappears as quickly as it came. The Pig’s eyes squint to focus. Was there something really there? Was it just fog? A branch falling from a tree?
A fierce wailing shatters the silence. The sound pauses then continues.
The Pig’s heart races, legs wobbly with fright.
“Whooo is there?”
The Pig’s head darts around, trying to find the source of this sound. Out of the darkness emerges a wispy white blob glaring with neon yellow eyes. It glides closer to where The Pig stands.
The Pig rubs its eyes and asks, “Is this real?”
“I am real,” a voice booms, though there is no visible mouth. “I am the Porting Phantom. I help stuck phone numbers get home to their desired service provider. Often, I get a bad wrap, but I am really just here to help the NumberSmart folks of the living world. Rejections always seem to cause so much chaos. However, they are put in place to help protect phone numbers. And for those numbers that get caught in the chaos, I come to the rescue. You usually don’t see me though, as I work behind the scenes. Enough about me. You appear lost here in these woods, little piggy. Where are you heading?”
The Pig stutters, “I have heard of you before, Porting Phantom, and I can’t believe I’m meeting you in person! You are a legend. I am trying to find my way back to NumberBarn. I took a shortcut and got a wee lost along the way. Do you know which direction I need to go?”
“I am heading in that direction myself. I have a phone number I must bring to the barn.” The Porting Phantom holds up a brown bag that appears to contain the phone number. “Follow me.”
The Porting Phantom flips around and begins to float through the forest. The Pig follows behind and asks, “So, uh, Porting Phantom, I’ve always wanted to know, how exactly do you help phone numbers that are stuck?”
“Well piggy, when a phone number ports from one provider to another, there can sometimes be complications in the form of rejections. This is where I come in. I mean no harm, despite my creepy appearance. When I am called upon, I get to work to guide that phone number to its proper home.”
“I see,” said The Pig. “I am familiar with these complications. An address mismatch, account number or PINs missing or even that sneaky due date mismatch.”
The Porting Phantom turns around to face The Pig, eyes beaming amidst the darkness. “Due date mismatch – hah! That is the most frustrating yet the easiest to fix to help those numbers get where they need to go. All they have to do is change the date to ten business days out.”
The fog begins to dissipate and an old wooden house appears in the distance. A yellow glow shines out from the top window. “I must first make a stop. You wait here,” says the Porting Phantom as it descends to the door.
The Pig’s stomach begins to growl. “I better silence this tummy before something out here in the wilderness hears me.” The Pig reaches into the backpack and pulls out a vegan chocolate chip s’mores cookie to munch on while waiting.
Out of nowhere, the Porting Phantom appears, riding on a motorcycle with a sidecar. The motorcycle hoovers above the ground.
“We must move and fast. Come with me as I help this phone number move over. Here, hop in! Also, did you save me any cookies?”
The Pig wipes crumbs from its face then hops in the sidecar and the Porting Phantom speeds off through the forest. They zoom through the trees, the air flapping through The Pig’s ears. They emerge out of the fog and through a field of corn. The sky behind the crops is dark and angry. Thunder booms. A bolt of lightning strikes the wheel of the motorcycle. The motorcycle skids out across the field.
The Porting Phantom shouts, “A storm to deter our journey. We can’t let this stop us! We must get this number ported.”
They continue to ride through the field and finally reach the Barn.
The Pig hops out of the sidecar and runs through the rain to open the barn door. “Get inside!” The Pig yells.
The Porting Phantom simply glides through the wall. The Pig shrugs and jumps in then slams the door.
The NumberBarn ranch hands, hard at work, see the Porting Phantom holding the brown paper bag. They stop what they are doing. Matt’s mouth drop open in suspense.
“We’ve been waiting for you and are really glad you have finally arrived. Make yourself comfortable!” Kelly says.
Nick, who was taking a nap in the hay, sits up to see about the commotion, rubs his eyes and then falls back asleep.
Tyler and B.S., currently mucking the website stalls, put their shovels against the wall and listen in on the conversation.
Jenny, the porting representative, struts over to the Porting Phantom and holds out her hand.
“We’ll take that, thank you very much,” she says.
The Porting Phantom puts the brown bag in her palm. Jenny asks, “Since you’re here, would you like to stay for lunch?”
Kylie, who is assisting a customer porting to an MVNO yells out from across the barn, “I’ll need your help soon. I’ll call you when I’m ready!”
Jenny Sue runs around to gather up the entire team of ranch hands, including Matthew and Brian who try to hide behind the cows. “Come on everyone, we need to take a photo for Instagram with the Porting Phantom!”
The Porting Phantom laughs and says, “It’s been real, folks. I must head back to the creepy woods now. I’ll be back when you need me!” Slowly, they watch as the Porting Phantom dissolves into thin air.
The NumberBarn ranch hands don’t give up on a port and if they need the extra help, they can call on the Porting Phantom.