Digital Ischemia

29/07/2017

Cold Call: Day 16

A series of telephone conversations where truth comes away in layers – begins at Cold Call: Day 1 and ends at Day 19

SOUND: PHONE RINGS
LACRIMOSA: Right. How did you get my home number?
SìMON: (D) Private detective.
LACRIMOSA: What?
SìMON: Kidding. Council Tax records.
LACRIMOSA: I tick the box!
SìMON: It only takes one wee slip one year and yer cooncil’ll flog your details to anyone that pays. Once it’s on the internet, that’s it: name, full address, age bracket, co-habiters. I already kenned which toun you live in.
LACRIMOSA: Hang on, Council Tax record—electoral register—doesn’t have phone numbers.
SìMON: I got the area code and just started trying combinations. All very logical.
LACRIMOSA: You are a fucking cold caller!
SìMON: OK, seriously, it doesnae take much searching to find some local site with your name and number on, like a community cooncil report with planning applicants listed, or, in your case, a freecycle site trying to affload some classy knick-knacks.
LACRIMOSA: You’re a fucking cold calling stalker. I told Gordon about you, by the way.
SìMON: Are you no’ flattered I went to all that trouble to cyber-stalk you?
LACRIMOSA: I suddenly feel very exposed.
SìMON: Good.
LACRIMOSA: How is that good?
SìMON: All your information is out there already; better you ken about it.
LACRIMOSA: So I can be even less trusting of cold callers?
SìMON: Am I still digging myself in a bigger hole here?
LACRIMOSA: I’m sure you can get yourself a ladder off Gumtree.

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28/07/2017

Cold Call: Day 15

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

SOUND: PHONE RINGS
LACRIMOSA: Listen: this isn’t the Fetish Warehouse.
SìMON: (D) Oh, really?
LACRIMOSA: It’s just me stuck in the house.
SìMON: Aye, I figured, you’re too…caring to inflict pain.
LACRIMOSA: If you only knew me.
SìMON: No, OK, I just couldnae hear any chains clanking so I kenned you were—
LACRIMOSA: Pulling your chain?
SìMON: Hah!
LACRIMOSA: The fetish BDSM thing just was stupid. It was a spur of the moment bit of nonsense. It’s not even funny.
SìMON: It worked for me.
LACRIMOSA: Doesn’t say much for you.
SìMON: I don’t have anything against that, er, ‘community’; it’s good for bad puns – the stereotype.
LACRIMOSA: We’re all stereotypes. So, you rumbled me. Can we stop doing this now?
SìMON: My name’s no’ Sìmon.
LACRIMOSA: Mine’s not Lacrimosa.
SìMON: Oh, really? What is it?
LACRIMOSA: Does it matter? Can we just hang up now?
SìMON: Probably no’; you could say anything.
LACRIMOSA: Henrietta Soleil Buckminster-Fullerene the third.
SìMON: Aye.
LACRIMOSA: Your turn.
SìMON: It’s Simon.
LACRIMOSA: How utterly dull. Try again.
SìMON: It really is.
LACRIMOSA: I don’t care. Can you not invent something?!
SìMON: Simon Gillespie.
LACRIMOSA: There must be thousands of those. I think I used to know one—well, work with one.
SìMON: That’s me.
LACRIMOSA: What do you mean?
SìMON: I’m the one you used to work with – at Dalry’s.
LACRIMOSA: Wait, there, you don’t know who I am, never mind where I worked!
SìMON: Actually I do. Mind I used to call you, at your new work, after you left? You thought I was after a job. Then one day you didnae answer. Then someone else picked up and it was all careful wording about you being oot the office. Then eventually they just said you didnae work there any more. (PAUSE) Hello?
LACRIMOSA: How many times did you call?!
SìMON: Several.
LACRIMOSA: Hello not-the-person-I-thought-I-was-speaking-to – pointlessly-lying-to.
SìMON: So we were both lying.
LACRIMOSA: I’m sorry.
SìMON: What for?
LACRIMOSA: For not calling you back. I still have your number.
SìMON: Thanks for no’ lying there. I hate that ‘I lost your number’ shit.
LACRIMOSA: Oh, I definitely still have it. I just can’t get at it.
SìMON: On a shelf you cannae reach?
LACRIMOSA: Hah. I thought you were a ‘professional contact’ so I saved one of those fancy files with all your trivia to remind me who you were, you know, and how often you pestered me about ‘doing lunch’. I saved it and backed it up and copied it to my external hard drive at home. Then I got the sack and didn’t have hundreds of pounds to furnish myself with Microsoft Office and all its security botches and flaky instabilities. So now I have a dot-VC-something file that my dear old second-hand open-source PC has no idea what to do with.
SìMON: That was a pretty convincing story.
LACRIMOSA: OK, good, because yours is so totally full of holes and creepiness that I’m not going to speak to you anymore.
SìMON: Fair dos.

27/07/2017

Cold Call: Day 14

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

SOUND: PHONE RINGS
LACRIMOSA: Still speaking to me?
SìMON: (D) Ah, I suddenly thought ‘oh shit, that’s why you were so…reticent about your personal life: you’re married’ and I just felt totally inappropriate.
LACRIMOSA: Right, because I couldn’t have any other relationship with a guy and usually I’ll tell my entire history to any weirdo that calls.
SìMON: Who is he? A friend?
LACRIMOSA: Neighbour.
SìMON: Just good neighbours, eh?
LACRIMOSA: Not your business, but aye, actually.
SìMON: Even though you’re at work?
LACRIMOSA: Wow, good accusatory tone there, like you’ve just uncovered organised fraud!
SìMON: He’s the neighbour of the ‘Warehouse’?
LACRIMOSA: No, I’m working from home. And no, my home isn’t a Fetish Warehouse; twenty-first century telephony allows you to route calls pretty much anywhere you want.
SìMON: Plausible.
LACRIMOSA: By all means hang up and give me peace.
SìMON: I’d best let you keep the line free, then. Get back to filing your nails to a sharp point.
LACRIMOSA: I’m sure you have an aunty to visit.
SìMON: Aye.

26/07/2017

Cold Call: Day 13

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

SOUND: PHONE RINGS
LACRIMOSA: How can I not help you today?
SìMON: (D) I think I might have a thing for ninety-year-old women.
LACRIMOSA: I like that you’re accepting of it, in a mocking it kind of way, but you don’t have to keep speaking about it. You can get bored and walk away, but I can’t, so…
SOUND: DOOR OPENS
SìMON: Am I ask—
GORDON: (OFF) Anyone hame?
LACRIMOSA: Oh!
SìMON: Who’s that?
SOUND: DOOR CLOSES, WHUMP, RUSTLE
LACRIMOSA: Sounds like Gordon; hang on. (OFF) Hey, how’re you?
SOUND: KISS
GORDON: No’ bad. Yoursel’?
LACRIMOSA: Usual—hang on. Hello? You still there? No, you couldn’t wait fifty seconds, could you? Hung up.
GORDON: Oh, sorry; I didnae realise you were on the phone. Who was it?
LACRIMOSA: Yet another cold caller. You should drop in more often. Frighten them off.
GORDON: You still having bother with that? Are you reporting the numbers?
LACRIMOSA: Aye. They do what they can, the enforcement people, but these cold calling centres—well, I’m imagining racks of underpaid, disillusioned, terrorists-in-the-making, obeying the über computer like robots, but maybe it’s just one woman in her front room, while the wean’s asleep, making a bit to afford spaghetti hoops.
GORDON: Can you still get spaghetti hoops?
LACRIMOSA: Oh, tell me they’re not replaced by spaghetti emoticons or something? I was raised on hoops! And beans and anything else in dubious orange sauce on cheese on toast. So long as it had dairy it was ‘healthy’. Ugh, that foul Mr Men mug of warm milk.
GORDON: I dinnae mind Mr Foul…
LACRIMOSA: Hah hmm. He was an ‘adult-themed’ Mr Man, who discovered that cows and chickens didn’t spend their days in idyllic pasture, contentedly producing milk and eggs to thank us for their wonderful lives, but were rammed in squalid barns, festering with disease, unable to move, too weak even to stand, treated like expendable machines.
GORDON: No’ an entertaining read.
LACRIMOSA: No, it didn’t sell so well.
GORDON: Well, that’s the day’s vegan propaganda over.
LACRIMOSA: Maybe I should try it on one of my cold callers.
GORDON: What was this one selling?
LACRIMOSA: He’d only been on two minutes; they take longer than that to wade through the scripted preamble.
GORDON: Why dae they dae that?
LACRIMOSA: I suppose it’s so unsuspecting folk get confused and agree to take out some PPI so they’re covered for when they have to check if they’ve had PPI.
GORDON: You’re pretty sparky the day.
LACRIMOSA: It’s nice to have someone intelligent and self-determined to speak to.
GORDON: Thanks very much!

25/07/2017

Cold Call: Day 12

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

SOUND: PHONE RINGS
LACRIMOSA: Hello?
SìMON: (D) I came up with a better response for your beached whale.
LACRIMOSA: I remembered another beached whale.
SìMON: Go on, then.
LACRIMOSA: I was camping on South Uist in the Hebrides – island hopping for students. I was following this burn through a gulley. Everything lovely till I got to the coast and started smelling something nasty. Why am I telling you this?
SìMON: Gi’e me a laugh?
LACRIMOSA: It’s awful.
SìMON: The clue’s in the name, Lacrimosa.
LACRIMOSA: It did upset me a bit, that massive, bloated, steaming, putrefying… It was unnatural: all cut up by fishing gear. I was stuck gawping at it a while, then I got the fear that with the sun on it any minute it would explode and shower everywhere with rotten flesh and maggots.
SìMON: Step away fae the ticking whale?
LACRIMOSA: Pretty much. Sorry, that wasn’t entertaining. I don’t know why I launched into that.
SìMON: Reality doesnae have to always be, you ken, happy.
LACRIMOSA: What was your comeback?
SìMON: Eh?
LACRIMOSA: You said you had a better response?
SìMON: Oh, aye. I think you look like someone with hidden depths. (PAUSE) That didnae sound as good as it did in my heid. Oh, I see what I’ve done there: cannae look at hidden things, can you?
LACRIMOSA: No, it’s that you think I look like anything. How would you know?
SìMON: Oh, it’s just a common word construction. I’m a visual person. I’m not stalking you.
LACRIMOSA: Wouldn’t be difficult.
SìMON: How?
LACRIMOSA: Never mind. I need to go: that’s the postie pulled up.
SìMON: No, you don’t. I’m sorry. Clumsy phrasing.
LACRIMOSA: I really do. Big load of kit due.

24/07/2017

Cold Call: Day 11

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

SOUND: PHONE RINGS
LACRIMOSA: Hello.
SìMON: (D) Any better today?
LACRIMOSA: A bit.
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?
LACRIMOSA: My ex.
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.
LACRIMOSA: Bye.

23/07/2017

Cold Call: Day 10

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

SOUND: PHONE RINGS
LACRIMOSA: Hello.
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?
LACRIMOSA: Ha.
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.

22/07/2017

Cold Call: Day 9

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

SOUND: PHONE RINGS, REPEAT, REPEAT

21/07/2017

Cold Call: Day 8

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

SOUND: PHONE RINGS
LACRIMOSA: What?
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?
LACRIMOSA: Please.
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?
LACRIMOSA: Why?
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.

20/07/2017

Cold Call: Day 7

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

SOUND: PHONE RINGS
LACRIMOSA: Hello.
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.

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