Author's Note: Just a short Kurt POV based on a moment in the episode 'Hell-o', when Mr. Schue asks the kids "What do you say when you answer the phone?" The Glee writers probably meant Kurt's response to be funny, but it didn't strike me that way. He doesn't say it with any sort of smirk. He throws that comment out there absentmindedly, as though he were almost bored with how often he has to say it. So I got to wondering, what might be the background for Kurt's answer?
Disclaimer: If I owned Glee, they'd sing more show tunes and Adam Lambert would have a recurring role as Kurt's older, wiser and even more fabulous counter-tenor cousin.
Kurt had a vindictive streak. It wasn't something he was especially proud of, but he told himself it was a kind of defense mechanism, that it went along with standing up for himself and fighting back when people hurt him. His mother had been playfully mischievous and who knows? Had she lived longer, maybe Kurt's inclinations would have been channeled in that more socially acceptable direction. But she died and he had to shape his own nature, without her guidance.
Sometimes Kurt wondered how he would have been different if his mother were around. He imagined her presence influencing even the slightest things, such as his telephone etiquette.
"No, she's dead. This is her son."
That's not really how he answered the phone, of course, although that's what he said, half in a reverie, when Mr. Schue asked during Glee rehearsal. Not anymore, at least, because the Hummel household hadn't received one of those painful phone calls for a few years, not since Kurt was 11. Funny how it took three whole years for the news to spread among his mother's more distant friends and relations. Their voices always started out bright and hopeful, anticipating how excited she'd be to hear from them again after so long. How they'd catch up on old times and brag about their children. But then he told them. They rarely knew what to say. Usually, "Oh!" Sometimes, "I'm so sorry." Occasionally, "But when? How?"
Now the calls came only from people who didn't know her. That morning, it had been a credit card company calling with a limited-time offer on a low, low introductory rate.
"Hello, Mrs. Hummel? How are you today? I'm Randy from Lima Capital Mutual…" and off he went.
That is, until: "No, she's dead. This is her son."
And then something happened that had never happened before. The line went dead. Randy had hung up. Apparently Lima Capital Mutual can't handle the truth.
So that afternoon during Glee rehearsal, Kurt was wondering how he would have been different. More different. And wishing strangers on the phone wouldn't mistake him for his mother. He felt kind of bad for them, it was an honest mistake. But at the same time they made him angry. Because he loved his strong, clear soprano, but he didn't like being reminded that he sounded like a woman. And not just any woman, but one in particular. And that she was gone.
So he punished the callers – he embarrassed them. He even offended them sometimes. Because, without meaning to, they hurt him. And although he wasn't proud of it, Kurt believed in getting revenge.