“What is this bullshit?” Matt yelled out into the echo-y depths of his one bedroom apartment. His dark bushy eyebrows furrowed as he re-scanned his Comcable Bill.
It was still there, glaring out at him from the injust invoice. Mocking him and his complete lack of power over his own life. Comcable had been charging him for the MLB package. $30 per month on top of his regular rate. Adding insult to injury, Matt hated baseball. It was golf without the class. He found it boring to play never mind watch.
“I’m calling them, MJ. I won’t take this,” he said to his black and whit cat. MJ stood for Matt Junior. MJ looked back at him indifferently.
He picked up his IPhone and dialed Comcable. It did not ring. Just a brief pause, followed by the Comcable jingle.
“Welcome and thank you for calling Comcable,” an automated voice greeted with inhuman enthusiasm for the task at hand. Matt wondered if it was this undead cheeriness that motivated Comcable to replace human beings with digital phantoms. Only an entity that knew it was incapable of getting cancer could approach such asinine, meaningless tasks with such single minded positivity.
“For English, press 1.”
“For Spanish, …”
Matt pressed 1 before The Voice could finish its sentence.
“Thank you,” said The Voice. “For Billing, press 1. For Customer Service press 2.”
Matt pressed 1. His rage at the injustice of being billed for a service he had not ordered was starting to subside, slipping back into his usual state of numb anxiety.
“Please wait until all the options have been presented. For Billing press 1, ” The Voice started over.
Matt’s rage returned. This is how they got you. They train you to accept these minor injustices one by one until you’re ready for the major ones. Today it’s $30 for a service you did not pay for. Tomorrow they march your family into a concentration camp. He refused to take it.
“For Accounts Receivable press 30,” The Voice said. It’s pleasantness was sadistic. Matt could feel a sneering smile spreading across some motherboard in a warehouse of servers.
“Please choose an option,” The Voice said.
Matt began to panic. He could not remember what button he needed to push.
“If you need me to repeat the options , press #,” The Voice said.
Matt knew that would be a fatal mistake. His endurance was waning. He was feeling less human, less himself while The Voice seemed to be gaining more inflection and depth to it.
He pressed 0. This was not his first rodeo. He knew 0 was the escape hatch to another human being. The Voice could not keep him trapped in purgatory forever. He would receive judgement. It was his right as one of Gods children.
Matt knew his advantage now. The Voice was binary. 1 or zero. Matt could do both or neither.
“Please hold while I connect you,” The Voice said.
“Oh, no,” Matt said. “The Abyss.”
“One moment…” The Voice said. Matt was sure it was laughing.
The music went on and on and on. Matt could feel his sense of self slipping away. Why had he called? Was this song by Journey? He was pretty sure it was.
“Your wait time is 21 minutes, ” The Voice said.
Matt looked at the clock. It was 6:33p. He could hold on. The Voice could not win.
It was getting harder. Maybe the Buddhists were right. Life was suffering and the key was to accept it. He looked over at his couch. Longing for its soft loving embrace. His couch never rejected him, never judged. It just accepted him. His couch was truly enlightened.
“Your wait time is 22 minutes, ” Tge Voice said.
“What?!” Matt looked at the clock. It was 6:54p. He began to chuckle to himself. At first just quietly to himself, but once he started he could not stop. His laughter got louder and louder. Going from chuckle to guffaw until his dry cackling filed the hallways of his apartment building. MJ hissed loudly.
Matt’s neighbor began pounding on the wall. ” You alright in there buddy?”
Matt collapsed on the floor unconscious.
Matt woke up the next morning to a human voice on the phone. “Thank you for holding. Sorry for the wait. How can I help you?”
He got up off the floor. He walked to the window. The sun was rising. He struggled to get his bearings. He couldn’t remember why he had called. Then it hit him: Baseball, the MLB package.
“Oh yeah, I was calling about the MLB package.”
“Fantastic. We’re offering a great deal. I can lock you in at $50 per month.”
“That sounds great,” Matt said numbly. “I’ll take it.”