Thursday 16 January 2020

An Important Call

by Rosemary Johnson 


Bitter Lemon


“Your call is important to us.  It has been placed in a queue.”
“Calls may be recorded for training and quality purposes.”
Handel’s Water Music, played on something weird, panpipes possibly.
“All our call-centre operatives are busy.”
Something by Bach… well known, terribly well known, but what on earth is it? 
“We are experiencing an exceptionally high volume of calls at this time.”  You don’t say?
Signature-tune to some television programme from the nineteen eighties.
“Answers to many frequently asked questions are available on our website.”  Yipperty do-dah.
I know that signature tune so well, but what was the programme?  I remember that I didn’t like it.
“Customers are respectfully requested to check that appliances are connected to the power supply.”
Yes, yes, yes.  I know all about the bloke (or woman) who swore his or her printer didn’t work and found he or she hadn’t switched it on.  But I'm not an idiot.  My issue is real.  I click my mouse several times.  Still nothing happening.  I need to speak to someone, a human being.
Still that awful theme tune.  I didn’t like it at the time, or the programme.  I don’t want to hear another note.  Come on.  Speak to me.
“Callers are invited to visit our website…”  But what good is that to me?
Come on, come on.  Where are you, you terribly busy call-centre operatives?  I don’t believe you’re there at all.
Not Greensleeves again.  I'm going to complain.  On Facebook, on Twitter – oh no, I can’t.  I’ll write to the local paper.  I’ll contact my MP, the Prime Minister, even.  He needs to know that people in this country have stopped talking to each other. 
“Good afternoon, caller.  How can I help you today?”
“Right.  At last.  I’ve got no internet.”
“No internet, madam?”
“Yes.  I mean, no.  No internet.  And I need you to send someone round- ”
“We don’t deal with internet queries here, madam.  You’ll need to log your service request through our website.”

About the author

Rosemary is returning to short story writing after spending time writing a historical novel.  She has stories published, recently, in The Copperfield Review, CafeLit, Radgepacket, Mslexia and 101 Words.  In real life, Rosemary lives with her husband and cat in Essex, England.  She blogs about writing and everyday life at

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