“Do Not Call,” by Stacia Friedman

Dec 20th, 2015 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

“Hello? Hello?”


“Hi. This is Suzy.”

“Um, yes?”

“You’re receiving this call because you’ve been recommended by a friend who hates your guts!”

“I beg your pardon?”

“According to our records, you suffer from multiple personality disorder and qualify to participate in a free 7-day, 6-night clinical trial at the luxurious Poco Loco Resort in sunny Guadalajara.”

“I don’t have multiple personality disorder.”

“Is this Sheila Gomberg of 625 Fulton Drive?”

“No. This is Jane McQuire.”

“Excuse me, ma’am. But how would you know that if you have multiple personalities? Why don’t I hold while you put Sheila on the phone?”

“I told you, there’s no Sheila here.”

“Not now. But, be reasonable, Jane. This fabulous, limited time offer will fill very fast. If you enroll right now, I can get you an ocean view room for just $160 per day.”

“I thought you said this was a free clinical trial.”

“It is. All psychiatric services and medications will be provided without charge. Your only expenses will be for your airfare, room, meals, tips and an optional serenade by strolling mariachis. I’ll hold while you get your credit card…”

“Wait a sec. Guadalajara isn’t on the coast. How can there be an ocean view?”

“Good point, Jane. One of your personalities knows her geography! How about instead of an ocean view, I give you complimentary electroshock therapy upon arrival?”

“Who the hell is this? How did you get my number? I’m on the Do Not Call Registry!”

“No need to shout, Jane. As I explained, you are receiving this call because you were either referred by a friend, requested information online or clicked onto a Facebook video of frolicking kittens.”

“I don’t understand. What do kittens have to do with psychiatric disorders?”

“I’m not a medical professional, Jane, so I can’t answer that. But if you take advantage of this fabulous offer, I’m sure our team of certified mental health experts will be happy to answer your questions during Happy Hour by the pool.”

“I do have vacation time coming, but I don’t know. With the airfare and all it would be over $1,500.”

“Tell you what, Jane. You sound like someone who could really use a week in Paradise. I could give you a 30% discount if you reserve your room right now and give me the names and phone numbers of ten friends suffering from multiple personality disorder, migraines, urinary incontinence, acid reflux or insomnia.”

“What did you say the name of this company is?”

“Oh, we’re not a company per se, Jane. We’re a multi-national consortium of marketing organizations based in Kuala Lumpur that have hacked their way into the private cell phones of millions of Americans in order to better serve them with outstanding offers during their dinner hour.”

“Isn’t that illegal?”

“Not in this hemisphere… Now about that 30% discount, I’m only authorized to make that offer until midnight and it’s 11:59pm here, so what’s it going to be, Jane? A week in Paradise, sipping frozen strawberry margaritas, or another week of living hell with your demanding boss, over-bearing husband and impossible kids?

“How do you know about my personal life?”

“I don’t. I’m just reading from a script. But if I hit a nerve, all the more reason to throw a swimsuit into a bag and spend a week in Mexico. The clock is ticking, Jane. Do you want the discount or not?”

“I’m thinking. I’m thinking. Isn’t Mexico dangerous now?”

“You tell me, Jane. What’s more dangerous? Another week of pointless meetings, slamming doors and screaming teenagers or getting an oil massage on your own private terrace overlooking the pool?”

“Okay, but what if I get down there and they find out I’m just an ordinary middle-aged woman with two kids who works at an insurance company who doesn’t have multiple personality disorder?”

“No problem, Jane. If you don’t want the complimentary Thorazine or group scream, there’s yoga, aerobics and a tour of the fortified villa of the local drug lord Juan Carlos. But first, I need those names and numbers…”

“Hold on, hon. I’ll get my address book!”


Defenestration-Stacia FriedmanStacia Friedman is the founding editor of DailyLobotomy.com.

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