Do you recall the old cop show dramas and series where a suspect is allowed one call to their lawyer? I’m sure that is nothing more than a plot device but I thought I would take that idea for this post and run with it, so to speak.
If there was one phone call you could make to anyone, who would it be and why? What would you say? You can go backwards or forwards in time.
If you choose to go backwards in time, we will assume telephones are temporarily “lifted” into the time era you’ve chosen, and your recipient has been instructed as to how to use the thing. (They’re not going to be burned for witchcraft either).
If you choose to go forwards in time, we will assume phones, as we know them now, have changed into a device that could be recognised as a phone. And, again, participants know how to use them.
There will be no mobile call charges or anything like that so win-win here on that score too.
Keep it simple. Keep it short. (You could probably guess I write flash fiction given those pointers!).
Oh and one other rule – it has to be funny (so that rules out politics given that is anything but funny).
What I think is needed is a post to cheer us all up so I hope this will do exactly that. And if gets the old imaginative and creative juices flowing, so to speak, I’m all for that too.
Just type up what you would say to the person of your choice and let us know at the start of your post who they are.
So let’s go then. Who would I choose?
I know what you’re thinking. How can that be funny? And I admit I can think of plenty of things to tell your average scammer which are not funny. Let’s just say they’d be to the point (and I’m making no promises about sticking to ladylike language either), but for the purposes of this post….
THE BITER BIT
Hello, oh how sweet of you. You’re trying to help me. And you thought to ring me right out of the blue. Oh you absolute angel. I don’t get to talk to many people on the phone. My family say I natter on for far too long and I’m a phone menace. What do they know?
Oh how sweet. I can be as long as I like? You’re here with good news? Oh you’ve just made my Monday, you have. I can’t wait to tell my family all about you. That’ll show them!
Now tell me what I have to do again? Press 1 and I get a fortune by claiming for an accident I never had?
Oooh… isn’t that lying? Fraud even?
Oh, what, you’re sure about that? Everyone does it and the company’s insurance covers everything. I think I recall a line in The Ladykillers about it only being a farthing on everyone’s policy. I think you must be on to something then.
No. It doesn’t matter. It’ll take too long to tell you what a farthing is or what a great film The Ladykillers is, and I mustn’t keep you on the line. You’re not ringing from the UK are you?
Yes. I know you told me your name is John Watson and it IS a UK name but I have an ID button on my phone and your number isn’t for any UK code I’ve heard of. Are you a fan of Sherlock Holmes by any chance?
Oh you are. Well, they are fab stories, aren’t they?
So I press this button 1 and then what happens?
I talk to someone, they take my details…
Oh you’re not going to scam me are you? I’ve been told by my family to never give my details out over the phone to someone I don’t know. And it’s not as if you and I have been properly introduced or anything… not like they used to do in the old days. You could TELL who the real gentlemen were back then.
Of course you’re not going to scam me. You wouldn’t be ringing me with good news if you were going to do that. I suppose so. But I do only have your word for it.
Yes, I know, a gentleman’s word is his bond. I guess I ought to tell you something now given we’ve been talking for several minutes already and you are SUCH a lovely soul.
Yes, really, I have something to tell you before we go on any further. It’s only fair to you I should say this now.
It’s just that you are on a premium rate phone number to me right now. I got myself set up on one.
Oh yes. I thought it would be a great way of topping up my pension and I could scam the scammers. Hit back against those rotten thieves who think it is okay to con the vulnerable.
And the same to you, SIR…
Allison Symes – 11th October 2020
Hmm… this has to be the first time I’ve written a flash fiction story within a non-fiction post! But sometime stories can be better at getting a point across than if you just tell someone directly. (Incidentally it would not surprise me much if someone somewhere has done what my “hero” in the story above has done! There really is nothing new under the sun. Even the You Know What… that might be new but pandemics are not).
Mind you, there is a serious point to the above story. The inspiration for it came from when I had to deal with a nasty case of scamming for my late father. He fell victim to one (which is why my language to a scammer would not be ladylike. Sorry, Janet, that is how it is!).
Fortunately things were put right and his bank were helpful. I think the fact things were discovered and reported quickly helped a lot there. The interesting thing here was that shortly after all was put right, those same scammers tried the same trick again on my poor dad. Dad recognised the number. He didn’t answer the phone. Guess who did?!
Correct. They spoke to me and that is all I’m saying. You can imagine the rest! But after that I put in various things to make sure that Dad was not caught out on the phone again by anyone.
The important point here, of course, is to never give out your details over the phone or email to anyone you can’t verify. Legitimate businesses, including the banks, will always make it clear what they won’t ask you for over the phone and it is worth checking these details out.
For example, I know Lloyds up at Fryern have a poster on their service areas to say they won’t ever ask for your PIN number etc. They also warn you against courier scamming where someone will kindly come over to “collect” your card. Nobody genuine ever does that.
But back to the storytelling. Who would you call if it was the only call you could make? What would you say?
I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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