But I'm On The 'Do Not Call' List

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Illustrated by Monique Laffite

Paul Beckman | Read flash fiction 'But I'm On The "Do Not Call" List' Illustration by Monique Laffite

When the phone rang I knew it wasn’t going to be good and I was right, and there was nothing I could do about it. My credit card usage had been halted the computer voice said and if I tried to use the card it would be confiscated. That’s an embarrassment you don’t want to happen in public the voice continued.

I got the message, but it wasn’t finished. Use of an unauthorized card, which yours now is, is a misdemeanor and subject to the penalties of the fullest extent of the law. I was ready to hang up but it continued on and I was fascinated—mainly because I didn’t have the brand of credit card this bonehead computer was talking about. If your spouse or children have cards instruct them immediately to cease their use or the same embarrassments and punishments will apply to them.

Leave my kids out of this I yelled into the phone. Your kids have already been called the voice continued as if it could hear and understand me. Your neighbors, the Hempsteds, disobeyed their warning and ended up being written up in the Police Blotter of your local newspaper. Not only the Hempsteds, it went on, but also O’Hara, Michael not Charlie, Rabbi Lerner and your cousin Jake from Philly. This warning is serious and not to be taken lightly.

To play this message again touch one, to hear only the names of your friends and family who have received similar warnings touch two. To hear a list of your business associates who will be notified of your misdemeanor touch three. If you agree not to use your card and to heed this warning touch twelve. I repeat, if you agree not to use your card and to heed this warning touch twelve. We’re sorry that you’ve not accepted your responsibility in this matter. Have a nice day.


About Paul Beckman

Paul Beckman writes everywhere and sells real estate in Connecticut. One endeavor is much more rewarding than the other. He’s been published in The Raleigh Review, Boston Literary Review, The Brooklyner, Web Del Sol, Playboy, 5 Trope, Word Riot and other wonderful venues in print, on line & via audio and photography.

More flash fiction by Paul Beckman



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