2.23. As a man jumps out of a window, he hears the telephone ring and regrets having jumped. (from "Some Days are Like That," by Bruce J. Balfour; partial JM wording)

2.23 answer: This is a post-holocaust scenario of some kind; for whatever reason, the man believes himself to be the last human on earth. He doesn't want to live by himself, so he jumps, just before the telephone rings... (of course, it could be a computer calling, but he has no way of knowing).

2.23 variant answer: A real-world version (with less plausible motivation) has the man being "lonely and despondent" and hoping for phone calls but not receiving any; he finally jumps out the window in despair. (From Stories With Holes.)

2.23a. Variant wording: The phone rang, and he regretted what he had done. (TRF)

2.23a answer: Same.