Customer Service

“Good morning. Customer service here. Let me say that this call may be recorded to assure quality. How may I help you?”

“Good morning. I need to return a purchase.”

“I’m sure I can help. The caller ID says ‘Smythe’. Are you Mrs. Smythe? And am I saying it right?”

“Yes, thank you. ‘Keep your eye on Smythe,’ my late husband used to say.”

“Thank you. I’m sorry to know of your husband’s death. Can you hold just a moment while I look up your account?”

“Of course. What luck! You answered on the third ring, I didn’t have to wade through one of those long menus, and I got a real live person! Are you allowed to tell me your name?”

“Folks here call me A-I, but you can call me Alice Irene.”

“Well, Alice Irene, you tell Tudbury’s they get points in my book!”

“Thank you, Mrs. Smythe. I see here that we recently sent you a damask tablecloth. Is that what you’re calling about?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

“Is the woven pattern not to your liking?”

“Oh, that’s not it at all. It’s lovely. But it’s too short.”

“I see. It says here that you ordered a tablecloth 60 inches by 102.”

“Yes. It’s my fault, really. When I measured the table, I didn’t realize that I hadn’t put in the last leaf. I really need one 60 inches by 120. Do they make it in that size?”

“Let me look. Yes, I think so. It says here ‘fine scroll white Irish linen double damask’. Is that the one?”

Yellow Chair ReviewThis is the second of three stories I wrote responding to a challenge by Bartleby Snopes to tell the whole story in direct quotes, without even a “he said/she said”.  All three have now been accepted elsewhere. You can read the first one fully published, “Tattoos” — or catch the teaser of the third, the one I like best, “The Whole Truth”

I can’t show you the ending of this one, because then I would have “published” the story, and Yellow Chair Review has the copyright to publish it first.  Stay tuned: I’ll post a note when you can read the whole thing, promised before the end of March 2017.



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