Updates and Ideas

Friday, November 03, 2017

Wired (short story)

    She was good at it. Very, very good!! Not just one of the best but THE best in her county. Of course her employer did not want to let her go and paid her more and more each year until his bookkeeper told him to stop raising her salary because it would bankrupt the company.
And then he married her. With her agreement her income remained the same for the rest of her life which was a very clever thing to do of him.

    Let's go deeper into this: he saved the company and if he was going to die first, she would have her own savings that no one else could touch. Plus she inherited her part of his money which was almost all apart from a donation to the Local Bug Protection Trust.
    You might never have heard of the LBPT but for the small city it was quite important. Let me explain: in medieval times there was a plague of a very rare type of bug. They were quite large and beautiful coloured. The shields, or rather wings, were golden yellow with purple stripes. Their bodies dark brown with long yellow legs.
    They used their wings to fly and to hop, rather silly thing to watch but they arrived where they wanted to be. They did not eat plants or wood (fortunately with only wooden houses in town), no, they ate – please skip this when you are a bit picky – all manure they could lay their legs on, even that of humans.

    I don't know how much you read about medieval times but at the time they did not have a loo. They used buckets and chamberpots (the latter only for the wealthy) and the content was just thrown out of the window or in the rivers.
With this in mind you understand how happy everyone was with the bugs.
    Goldsmiths tried to copy them as broaches and they were sold well. People even kept them as pets but this was forbidden as soon as the Pope declared the bug holy. You must surely have heard of Saint Bug. The disturbing problems in computers are named after them, you did not know that do you?
    To protect the bug, the LBPT was founded in 1530 and is now known as the one and only eldest Trust throughout the whole empire. And her employer (now husband) was the chairman of the Trust and therefore it was only reasonable he mentioned it in his will.

    But, if she was going to die first, he knew that the money he invested in her, was coming back into his account. You see how clever he was. Not even the bookkeeper thought of that, let alone suggested it. No, it was all his own idea, brilliant!!!
    Although he used to be in love with her voice and not herself (like numerous other people) his feelings changed during the marriage. And when he closed his eyes when she talked, he imagined a beautiful sexy woman. That is why he also kept his eyes closed when they made love. Of course he wanted her to whisper sexy words in his ears which she did. It worked both ways; he loved her voice and she loved the way he made love to her. Sounds complicated but it wasn't.

    The company thrived well, so did their income and lifestyle but instead of spending money they saved it fanatically. New employees were added and the very old ones replaced. And although the phones rang more and more, they never added a second, third or fourth telephonist. Not that they could not find one with a correct and pleasant voice but she did not want it and told him she could handle it all on her own.
    Another excuse was that she was too busy to teach a new telephonist the ins and outs of the company. No, she knew every customer, all their needs, all their voices; never could she leave this to someone else.

    She arrived at the company when she was 18 and just left school; a shy young girl who never travelled any further than the bus stop near the school and the one near the company. Wrong, she once went to a caravan park near the coast but at the time she was too young to remember it and therefore never asked her parents why they never went there again.

    When she applied for the job, she never believed that someone wanted her to work for them and was almost disappointed when they told her she could start the same day.
    She still remembered the day; sitting on a plastic chair (bright orange it was) with her bag on her lap, knees decently pressed against one an other, the feet with the flat shoes firmly on the beige tiles of the corridor.
    As soon as the director laid an eye on her, she saw the same expression on his face she noticed by many people before him: shock and empathy. But he asked her in, shook hands and asked the first questions.
    Though when he heard her voice, the look in his eyes changed and without references, he told her she was their new telephonist. She stared at him in disbelieve but he was very serious. He took her coat, let her ring her parents and together with his manager, he explained her how her job was going to be. And she was clever, very clever. In no time she could not be missed any more. The only downside the first couple of weeks was that people rang more often, just to hear her voice.

    Not long after they celebrated her 45 years with the company and 35 years of marriage, the bookkeeper noticed a slightly odd behaviour with her but blamed the overload of work for it. Still he spoke to his boss about an assistant for his wife. At the age of 63, she should not do it all on her own. But the boss, still content with her in all ways, said that the bookkeeper worried too much and all was fine.
Instead of identifying the problem and trying to talk to her, he bought a few extra telephones; after all it was and remained important that customers could reach them and too often the existing lines were engaged.
   Understanding very well that this was the way to stay the one and only telephonist, she accepted the extra phones as if he gave her a platinum ring with the largest diamond in the world. She worked harder and harder, afraid of being replaced by someone with a more beautiful voice and therefore afraid for the end of her marriage. To her he was still the very handsome man she married: tall, blond slim and muscular. She did not see how he changed over the years. She did not see his round belly, the bags under his eyes, the hair that turned grey and thin and his feet becoming more and more flat. Of course he knew it and also knew that how beautiful a new voice was going to be, they were all too young to fall in love with him. Now you understand why he bought the extra telephones.

    And more telephones were added; so many that she also worked during the evenings. And not just phones but also large wooden cable rolls to keep all the wires separated. All he could do in return was cooking her meals and make sure she was comfortable tucked in on the sofa for the so much needed rest.
    But one evening she did not come home at all. He rang her but all the lines were engaged which slightly worried him. He waited an extra hour and rang the bookkeeper at home, knowing he was always the last one leaving the office.
The bookkeeper assured him she was fine when he left but indeed very very busy!
    Although he believed the bookkeeper, he got more and more worried and at 10 PM left home to hurry his car to the company where all the lights were still on.
He entered the hallway and called her name. The silence that followed was most alarming. It gave him very unpleasant feelings; the hair in his neck stood straight up, his heart beat changed dramatically and although he was scared to death, he ran upstairs........

    The Local Bug Protection Trust survived, even without the man that was their chairman for so long. All members thought it was best for him to take his rest and not to return for a while. He never returned, his whole life was upside down after the gruesome find. Within a few minutes he turned into a very old man that lost interest in everything. Not just the LBPT but also his company which is left abandoned for many years now.
Photo: @acfotografie92 (Instagram)

   The company lost too many clients after the beautiful voice was gone and closed within a year. And he blamed himself for everything: the unemployment of all those hard working people, the loss of clients but above all the purchase of so many telephones. How on earth could he know that she, his very ugly wife but with the voice of a Siren, got strangled by all those different wires.....

Word of thanks: the photo of @acfotografie92 (Instagram) inspired me to write this story and I was given permission to use the photo as an illustration for which I am very grateful. Thank you Adrian!

Links: please visit the beautiful Instagram account of Adrian Chaventre and his impressive website.

Note: the story is pure fiction! A figment of my imagination!



  1. Anonymous4:53 pm

    Hi there! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if
    that would be ok. I'm definitely enjoying your
    blog and look forward to new updates.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thank you for your kind words. I indeed use Twitter:

      I always tweet as soon as a story is on line.

      Looking forward seeing you as a visitor of my blog again :-)