Digital Ischemia


Cold Call: Day 11

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1

SìMON: (D) Any better today?
SìMON: I was thinking about your…condition, obviously. You seem pretty calm about it.
LACRIMOSA: I am generally calm. You can’t really be hysterical with clingfilm and chains hanging off everywhere.
SìMON: Hanging aff your what?!
LACRIMOSA: Bad choice of words. Very lax, Lax – that’s my nickname by the way in case I’m just baffling you.
SìMON: Right, right. I wouldn’t’ve gone for ‘Lax’; I would’ve figured you as a ‘Mosey’.
LACRIMOSA: I didn’t get that far: I got scared by the ‘crim’ bit.
SìMON: How are you so calm then? Or were you always?
LACRIMOSA: I was a melodramatic adolescent – tramping the streets at night, rain mixing in my tears, composing hideous poetry…
SìMON: You did that an’ all?
LACRIMOSA: Not dramatic enough?
SìMON: Pedestrian.
LACRIMOSA: OK, one time I got a bit…’despondent’ is what the doctor says—about my health: another chronic thing not shifting—and decided to dare my body to survive. Basically out the comfort zone and say to it ‘do you want to live? Do you have a survival instinct? Operate or die!’ (PAUSE) Hello?
SìMON: Hello. Hey. I’m here, I just—I’m just a bit shocked, well, stunned—startled.
LACRIMOSA: Are you all of those?
SìMON: One at a time, but things are changing fast. It sounds like you had, well, half a mind to kill yourself.
LACRIMOSA: I know it sounds like I was seriously depressed, but I really wasn’t. I was quite calculating. And the doctor signed off on it.
SìMON: They maybe thought you were going on one of those health pilgrimages.
LACRIMOSA: It was a bit, like those folk with cancer taking the notion to walk across North America.
SìMON: Did you go?
LACRIMOSA: Aye. Packed myself on a ferry for the seasickness – all part of the masochism. Chugged up to Stavanger, Kristiansand, Bergen… Then I just started walking out the town, until I got lightheaded and keeled over.
SìMON: Obviously somebody found you.
LACRIMOSA: You’re nae use for suspense. I was lucky in that, but it was a popular path, seemingly, so I was never in real danger. Curses.
SìMON: Who found you?
SìMON: I wasnae expecting that twist.
LACRIMOSA: I mean at the time he was my ‘pre-‘. Doing fieldwork from a gorgeous log hut by the fjord.
SìMON: Boffin?
LACRIMOSA: Marine biologist. Probably still is. He was pretty fervent. I learned the word ‘fecund’ from him. And ‘brackish’. He said—he always made a joke that he thought I was a beached whale, lying there, totally inert. Otherwise he wouldn’t’ve approached me.
SìMON: A whale? Where was this again?
LACRIMOSA: Norway? You’re supposed to say I couldn’t possibly look like a beached whale.
SìMON: Missed my cue there. Have to go, sorry.


Cold Call: Day 10

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1

SìMON: (D) Hey. Are you alright? You never answered yesterday.
LACRIMOSA: Sometimes it takes me a while to get to the phone.
SìMON: A bit tied up?
SìMON: You don’t sound right.
LACRIMOSA: I’m pretty sore and tired. And that’s another gift for BDSM puns.
SìMON: Playing too hard?
LACRIMOSA: Is that your best effort?
SìMON: What’s going on, really?
LACRIMOSA: I’ve had it a while. It comes and goes.
SìMON: Have you—sorry if this is patronising—have you seen physios and suchlike?
LACRIMOSA: Aye, the whole panoply: physio, osteopath, neurology, ecto—what was that one?
SìMON: Ectoparasite-ologist?!
LACRIMOSA: Hah. Aye, those; even psychologists.
SìMON: They think you’re making it up or?
LACRIMOSA: Just deluded. No, oddly they thought I might be a tad depressed, you know, with my life as well as my body grinding to a painful halt.
SìMON: Harsh. And what did they all say?
LACRIMOSA: Oh, all sorts, but in the end the tests my GP did were conclusive enough: arthritis.
SìMON: Is it a special sort? I mean obviously you… er, seem a bit younger than the usual sufferers.
LACRIMOSA: Aye, too old for ‘juvenile arthritis’; too young for—what is it—’geriatric arthritis’?
SìMON: So you have mid-life arthritis?
LACRIMOSA: Mid-life crisis arthritis! That sounds good! Almost makes up for feeling like a ninety-year-old woman.
SìMON: I’m sorry to—if you don’t want to speak about it…
LACRIMOSA: I don’t mind, every once in a while; I can’t live in a fantasy the whole time.
SìMON: What do you do, when you’re no’ masterminding a deviant business empire?
LACRIMOSA: It’s quite time-consuming, actually: thinking up ridiculous marketing strategies for fetishes, then waiting for some gullible idiot to call so I can trot them out.
SìMON: Happy to help. Does it help?
LACRIMOSA: It’s a distraction. These things arrive in my head and it gets too full so I have to get them out somehow.
SìMON: Really?
LACRIMOSA: I get a lot of spam calls. It’s a good deflection. How’s your aunty?
SìMON: She’s actually doing better. I think my daffodils turned the corner for her.
LACRIMOSA: Her daffodils.
SìMON: You should try them.
LACRIMOSA: I’ll try anything. Right, I’m away to steal some flowers.


Cold Call: Day 9

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1



Cold Call: Day 8

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1

SìMON: (D) What’s new in feet and shoes and that?
LACRIMOSA: Three for two on pre-worn insoles.
SìMON: Three?!
LACRIMOSA: Two for wearing; one for…
SìMON: How, just how, is that attractive? Do they just get blootered like moths at a lightbulb or what?
LACRIMOSA: That was me last night.
SìMON: What?!
LACRIMOSA: The streetlight outside my bedroom: it used to be that comforting sodium orange glow that gives robins chronic insomnia. Now, suddenly, it’s a pinpoint white thing like a distant nuclear explosion. It’s mesmerising.
SìMON: Are you sure it’s no’ a star?
LACRIMOSA: On a concrete stalk?
SìMON: Why were you looking out your window?
LACRIMOSA: Headache.
SìMON: Is that all?
LACRIMOSA: Is that not enough to justify being awake?
SìMON: I mean was anything else aching…or bothering you?
LACRIMOSA: Like what? You think I had moon-ache after finding out you work at a prison?
SìMON: That’s a new euphemism for women’s trouble.
LACRIMOSA: Why are you so edgy?
SìMON: Moon-ache. Tell me a story.
LACRIMOSA: Me and my pub buddy, Jules, used to tell stories. We got fed up of the same old hairy faces at the bar, drinking, posing, gossiping and no decent banter. She had this idea we should go somewhere else for the change, pretend to be someone else. Travel agents, we decided. A job that begs bizarre facts about random places. Telling stories when you’re down one pint of cider is easy. Next thing I have five kids, two of them twins.
SìMON: Just in the story?
SìMON: Thanks for that image anyway.
LACRIMOSA: You like looking at pregnant women? Is that your thing?
SìMON: Are you pregnant?
LACRIMOSA: I’m closer to the moon than I am to motherhood.
SìMON: No kids then?
SìMON: Just a common thing for folk our age.
LACRIMOSA: How would you know my age?
SìMON: Just roughly. Er, it comes out in conversation.
LACRIMOSA: Like your creepy interest in my personal life.
SìMON: When does it stop being an amusing fetish and start being creepy?
LACRIMOSA: Around about now.


Cold Call: Day 7

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1

SìMON: (D) Alright?
LACRIMOSA: You’re not calling from Cornton today.
SìMON: Day aff.
LACRIMOSA: Did I slightly jump the gun yesterday? With your careful omission of important facts?
SìMON: Like it being a women’s prison?
LACRIMOSA: So it’s unlikely you’re an inmate.
SìMON: I wasnae lying about security.
LACRIMOSA: How could you be? You said nothing about it.
SìMON: I need to get out, but. You start out thinking they’re evil, then you get to ken the various ways society’s failed them, then you start wondering whether the behaviours we call ‘deviant’ or ‘criminal’ are even all bad or just inconvenient to the unequal status quo.
LACRIMOSA: That would be unsustainable thinking. Dangerously moral.
SìMON: Any openings at your Fetish Warehouse?
LACRIMOSA: I beg your pardon?!
SìMON: I should probably end it there. Good as I’m gonnae get the day.


Cold Call: Day 6

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1

LACRIMOSA: Hi. I did an online search for that number you called from the other day.
SìMON: (D) Cornton.
LACRIMOSA: Aye. Specifically Cornton Vale. As in the prison. (PAUSE) So, when you said you were in security, you meant in a secure institution.
SìMON: I am.
LACRIMOSA: Don’t you think you should’ve mentioned that?
SìMON: I’m no’ proud of it. I suppose it would’ve come out somehow. Well, like it has.
LACRIMOSA: OK, I’m ending this call now.


Cold Call: Day 5

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1

LACRIMOSA: Why do you always phone when I’m about to take a break?
SìMON: (D) Perfect timing.
LACRIMOSA: I don’t get my nice cuppae!
SìMON: And the rest of your day’s spent answering call after call, listening to perverts droning on about their special desires?
LACRIMOSA: And measurements.
SìMON: I thought you were telling them yours.
LACRIMOSA: I’m a receptionist, not a woman of negotiable affection.
SìMON: I thought you might have a dual role as a latex advisor.
LACRIMOSA: They should be called that.
SìMON: Or chrome consultant.
LACRIMOSA: What’s chrome?!
SìMON: All sorts of things: studs, dangle bars—
LACRIMOSA: I see you’ve taken off your safe search. Are you building up to admitting your fetish?
SìMON: Aye, I have a weird urge to speak to co-workers at tea break.
LACRIMOSA: So why am I in this conversation?
SìMON: I misdialled.
LACRIMOSA: That’s your story. But this is a premium rate number so I’m getting paid anyway.
SìMON: That’s a total story.
LACRIMOSA: Aye, that was a bit lame: obviously the fifty pence a minute doesn’t go to the, er, ‘service provider’.
SìMON: Is speaking filth worth thirty pound an hour? No, I still couldnae.
LACRIMOSA: What exactly is your job?
SìMON: That will have to wait to tomorrow.
LACRIMOSA: I’ll try to contain myself.
SìMON: If you cannae I’m sure there’s someone with a fetish for it.


Cold Call: Day 4

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1

SìMON: (D) Hello.
LACRIMOSA: Ah, my serial cold caller. How’s things at the hospital?
SìMON: Fine.
SìMON: My mum’s moved ward again. Mrs McIver’s still AWOL. This is the new normal.
LACRIMOSA: Your mum?
SìMON: My aunt. They look similar. They’re sisters.
LACRIMOSA: Are you easily confused by older women?
SìMON: Aye, put that in my preferences.
LACRIMOSA: Flustered by threesomes.
SìMON: Sticky threes… Er, I mean dialling the number three. How’re you?
LACRIMOSA: Well, obviously my number hasn’t changed. Has anything? Plastic tat all still intact. Oh, I looked up the moon last night. I mean I looked up at it as well.
SìMON: Good clear night for it – nearly full.
LACRIMOSA: So I found out—I never understood why you couldn’t see a new moon.
SìMON: Because it’s in line with the sun so there’s no reflection to see. Although obviously your retinas are toast if you’re looking at the sun.
LACRIMOSA: OK, so I’m an idiot. Do you know about stars as well?
SìMON: No, but I did a search for ‘Fetish Warehouse Linlithgow’ and it doesnae exist.
LACRIMOSA: Did you take off your ‘safe search’?
SìMON: You mean my search results are all child-friendly?
LACRIMOSA: Did your parents set up your internet for you?
SìMON: My father is frighteningly no’ bothered about internet security.
LACRIMOSA: So that’s your rebellion?
SìMON: What?
LACRIMOSA: OK: flustered by mother, latent rage about father. Interesting.
SìMON: Er, I need to go.
LACRIMOSA: No doubt.


Cold Call: Day 3

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1

SìMON: (D) Hello. It’s me: Simon, Sìmon, whatever.
LACRIMOSA: You’re calling from a different number.
SìMON: You werenae answering the other one.
LACRIMOSA: Ah, the stalker’s logic. What’s going on out there in the world?
SìMON: No idea.
LACRIMOSA: The line’s too clear for you to be calling from the European Space Station.
SìMON: Spaceman Spiff spirals into a terminal retrograde orbit of the planet Zaikon, his thruster engines vaporised by rebel Xanthamum fighters…
LACRIMOSA: Oh, I love Calvin and Hobbes – so brilliantly bittersweet.
SìMON: I love how in this six-year-old’s world his thoughts came out pure philosophy.
LACRIMOSA: I learned the word ‘trenchant’ from that. What was the deal with the merchandise again?
SìMON: Bill Watterson was—is a man of deep principles; he just wouldnae sign aff on any. It was a feature of the materialist world he just couldnae abide.
LACRIMOSA: The plastic tatterers must’ve been all over him, slavering.
SìMON: Tatterers!?
LACRIMOSA: Plastic tat – our plastic, toxic world. I used to work in a lab where they were researching bacteria that would digest plastic – biodegrade it to something harmless. I wonder what happened to that?
SìMON: Probably realised bacteria that could eat plastic wouldnae stop there. You know, they’d froth everywhere; they’d be at everything plastic. Bacteria don’t know what we still want and what’s waste.
LACRIMOSA: Right enough: suddenly your phone’s dust, your furnishings are crumbling, vehicles and buildings melting. Actually, that’d be brilliant…
SìMON: Did you wear a lab coat?
LACRIMOSA: You just couldn’t help yourself, could you?
SìMON: I held myself back a whole thirty seconds!
LACRIMOSA: If I tell you that, and about the safety goggles, I’ll have to charge you.
SìMON: Whouf, steady on.
LACRIMOSA: I was just enjoying my post-apocalyptic fantasy but you had to ruin it.
SìMON: If I could flee up to the moon and leave this shit heap behind…
LACRIMOSA: What’s your work?
SìMON: Security.
LACRIMOSA: That was succinct.
SìMON: It wasnae a tough question. And that’s all there is to it.
LACRIMOSA: Must be dull if you’re moon-gazing and blethering on the phone.
SìMON: That’s what you get paid for.
LACRIMOSA: Aye, time’s up.


Cold Call: Day 2

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1

SìMON: (D) Is this the, er, Fetish Warehouse?
LACRIMOSA: Oh, aye, sorry: I thought it was an internal call.
SìMON: I wouldnae like to think what ‘internal’ means in your line of work.
LACRIMOSA: You’re not into surgical stockings?
SìMON: No’ when my aunt’s wearing them.
LACRIMOSA: I’m so sorry. How’s she doing?
SìMON: No change. I’m just away up there the now.
LACRIMOSA: Bless her. And Mrs McIver?
SìMON: No idea. If you’re still no’ her then I’ll have to start checking tea rooms.
LACRIMOSA: Well, we don’t really do scones, so how is it I can help you?
SìMON: You should: Mrs McIver’d be your top customer. It sounds awfy quiet. Maybe you need some ‘mood music’ playing? Attract some customers?
LACRIMOSA: What mood would that be?
SìMON: Er, thrash metal?
LACRIMOSA: Very good.
SìMON: What was that?!
LACRIMOSA: I think that’s a peacock.
SìMON: And what the hell is that?!
LACRIMOSA: It’s not a euphemism. Just the standard ornamental bird thing with the big feathers.
SìMON: I don’t think folk should be interfering with massive feathers with the birds still attached. I think that’s animal abuse.
LACRIMOSA: (LAUGHS) No, nothing to do with fetishes—well, I hope not—nothing to do with us, anyway.
SÌMON: I didnae think Linlithgow was so exotic.
LACRIMOSA: It’s not a standard pet, is it?
LACRIMOSA (CONT’D): Aye, there, it’s calling again.
SìMON: What’s it saying?
LACRIMOSA: They sound like Penelope Peacock—Pitstop, don’t they? Or am I confusing them?
SìMON: You’re confusing me.
LACRIMOSA: Haielp! Haielp!
SìMON: Er, OK.
LACRIMOSA: Right, I’ll stick to inanimate fetishes.
SìMON: Anything happening in the world of whips?
LACRIMOSA: BOGOF on the cat o’ six tails.
SìMON: Other three fall aff?
LACRIMOSA: Worn out. Blunt.
SìMON: Second-hand? Is that hygienic?
LACRIMOSA: Some folk like it.
SìMON: I got a bunch of daffodils to take up the hospital but—aye, there’s six, so they just look dodgy now.
SìMON: I’m not made of money.
LACRIMOSA: Tricky steal from your neighbour’s?
SìMON: I actually nicked them from my aunt’s garden.
LACRIMOSA: I honestly can’t decide if that’s sweet or twisted.
SìMON: You’re the expert. So, I’d best get my sweet, twisted self up there afore they die.

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