I’d been up for a few hours, unpacking and cleaning, waiting for the plumber to call. I just moved into a cabin and the contractors fucked everything up. Because of that, I now have the wonderful task of making calls to competent people that can fix what the original contractors did wrong.
The phone rang at 12:06.
Not bad, I thought. Usually plumbers don’t bother to call or show up until 5. When I picked up the phone I didn’t even get a chance to say hello before a woman on the line told me to “Please hold for the next available operator.”I hopped up and sat on the cabinet in the kitchen. It was one of the few places in the cabin not occupied with boxes. Elevator music leaked into my ear. I’d started to drowse off when the music stopped and a piano chord that sounded like it was three notes that didn't quite go together played through the receiver twice.A voice came on the line.
“Welcome to Boothworld Industries. My name is Samantha and I will be your operator today. Name?”I didn't know what to say so I told the operator my name.“Sir, we know who you are. I’m your operator. Please give me a name to access.”“I don’t understand,” I said.“It can be anyone, sir. We just need a name.”“Uh, okay,” I said. I made up a name. “Harold Withers.”
. I’ll-”Jessica’s voice choked off into a wheeze and all I could hear on the other end of the phone was the rustling of clothing and more wheezing. Eventually it stopped and someone picked up on the other end. voice said. “We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”“Sir?” The operator came back on the line. “Was that to your satisfaction?”I sat there for a long time, cold sweat dripping down my ribcage. Jessica was my ex, because I walked in on her and my best friend fucking at a party in high school.I smiled and whispered, “That was perfect.”
“Wonderful,” the operator said. “We at Boothworld Industries aim to serve. Would you like to make another appointment?”As I stared at the water leaking from the door of the dishwasher, I smiled even bigger.“Yes,” I said. “Yes I would.”“Name?”“Dan. I don’t have a last name. He’s a contractor.”“Dan Arencibia. July 13, 2032. Would you like to reschedule?”"Yes,” I said.“How would Wednesday work for you?”“Didn’t you say you had a Tuesday appointment available?” I asked.“I did, but unfortunately that slot has been filled by another member. Would Wednesday work for you?”“No,” I said. “I have a job interview that day. What about Thursday?”“Unfortunately Thursday will not work. You are due for remodeling Wednesday night.” “What?” I asked.She repeated the exact same thing to me again.
“Can we reschedule my remodeling?” “Of course we can, sir,” the woman said. It sounded like she was smiling on the other end of the phone.“There’s always a way.”I waited for her to tell me how. She didn’t speak.“HOW?” I asked.“Boothworld Industries is always looking to add new members. We are, of course, a membership by invitation . Sadly, our membership numbers have fallen in recent years. Economic recessions. . Politics. What we would like you to do, in order to avoid your own remodeling appointment, is help us add several new members.”
The light at the end of the tunnel, I thought.“How many members do you need?” I asked.“One thousand.”I choked. “One thousand?”
“Yes, sir. Otherwise we’ll have to keep our scheduled appointment. We must inform you that the member that scheduled this appointment did request a courtesy call.”Everything stopped at that point for me. All my life I’d just skated by, not doing anything, not making a difference.My mouth actually dried up. I’d always thought that was just a thing people wrote in books to be dramatic.
It’s not.“I’ll get you your one thousand members,” I whispered.
“We at Boothworld Industries say thanks and welcome to the club. You have a marvelous day.”The connection ended.
I hung up the phone and stared at it for a long time. I’m scheduled for remodeling on Wednesday, and somewhere, someone will be getting a courtesy call to listen to my last few breaths if I don’t get one thousand members to join Boothworld Industries.
It’s funny. I’d always wanted to join an elite club. Skull and Bones. New World Order. I'm not sure how I got in, but now I’m a member. I've got until Wednesday to enjoy it.Like I said at the beginning: even if I wanted your help, you couldn’t give it to me, because you’re not a member.Membership is by invitation only.I’m inviting you in.You can help me.
Just call 630-296-7536.
|Category||Arts & Literature|
|Sensitivity||Normal - Content that is suitable for ages 13+|