At work, again. Or still, I can’t tell. Days flicker by and meld together, like binge watching a television show. You don’t even see the intro anymore. You just see a big stupid idiot going about his routine.
I get a call. A sad voice answers.
“Hey there, Mr. Turrelo?”
“I’m calling on behalf of Talk-talk, representing the Give Kids Cancer foundation. The GKC is committed to spreading the joy of cancer to all children, using wonderful gift baskets. Would you care to donate?”
“I would, but I can’t. I keep getting these calls. I donated once, and I keep getting these calls. I don’t want them. I don’t like them. I give and give and you people always want more. Stop!”
I recognize that pain. That pain of going outside. Of talking to other people. Of sitting in a room, hoping a gas leak creates an explosion so you won’t have to listen to people say the same set of phrases over and over. How are the kids? Oh, great, Jason stabbed his sister, the little bugger. How is Hank? Still dying, right? Oh that’s wonderful.
This man simply wanted to not talk on the phone. A legitimate need, and possibly a human right.
I feel something. An emotion. I stop breathing and take a moment to look around, appreciating this moment. I want to rip open my rib cage and take out the shining orb that is feeling, and hold it in my hands to make sure it’s real.
“Sir, I can put you on the do not call list,” I say.
“You could? Oh thank you. You’re a good soul.”
He hangs up and suddenly I have a purpose in life.
I start pitching the do-not-call list to every caller.
“I’m calling on behalf of the GKC, looking for donations. But sir, just before you do, know that I can put you on the do not call list with one click, and you won’t hear from us again.”
“What? No, I’ll donate. It’s a good cause. You take credit card? $100 on the card, please.”
“Sorry sir, I’ve put you on the list. You have a good night.”
Off and away I go. And the more I pitch the list, the more people want to donate. This is a fight to the death, and boy do I want to die.
Beside me, the new and improved Mick is clapping his hands, staring at me in awe. The new Mick is actually a Mexican guy name Toby, and he has a little girl that he talks about a lot. “You’re doing great, man,” he says, leaning in. I see that his teeth are very white, and that frightens me. The only beings that take that good care of their teeth are beings that take pride in their ability to bite. Toby is a biter for sure. His daughter isn’t alive, I’m sure of it.
The manager walks over and claps me on the back. “Great work today. You broke our sales record.”
“I put every caller on the do not call list.”
He shrugs. “It’s a risky pitch, but they bought it. They called us and started donating like crazy. Great job.” He wanders away to yell at Carol for being a stupid, stupid bitch (his words) and I spin in my chair, hoping my headset cord will wrap around my neck and decapitate me.
I’m losing control. The auto-pilot of life is going haywire and all I feel is slippage. I thought I had the steering wheel, for the briefest of moments, when I was on my crusade to purge the call list, but the universe tossed it back at me and laughed.
My chest hurts.
There’s a ringing in my ears and my eyes hurt.
I think I’ll stop at CVS on my way home.