SCAM LIKELY

Audio version

SCAM LIKELY

A flash fiction thriller by Justin H.K.

August 1st, Morning

Arthur wakes to a digitized version of the melody to “Banana Phone”. He looks at the phone, and seeing it display “SCAM LIKELY” in large font, he silences the phone and flops back onto the bed, his shaggy dark brown hair twisting awkwardly toward his bedside table. Vbbt. Vbbt. Arthur groggily pushes himself back-up and checks the phone again. It seems the spam caller left a voicemail. He pushes play. A cold machine voice says:

“Hello, we are looking to reach Arthur William Cottfield. We would like to speak to you about refinancing your high interest loan. Please call 1-800-686-6462 during the hours of 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Monday through Saturday.”

Arthur rubs his eyes and deletes the voicemail. His full name. These robocallers were getting desperate.

August 2nd, Morning

While Arthur is making his morning coffee and browsing the news a notification at the top of his phone displays a call. “SCAM LIKELY” it says in large font. Was this the same number as yesterday? Arthur swipes away the notification. A new notification pops up at the top of his phone. “New Voicemail”. Again? Arthur presses play on the voicemail. A cold machine voice says:

“Hello, we are looking to reach Arthur William Cottfield of 4015 West Maple Grove Road, Fairfield Ohio. We would like to speak to you about refinancing your high interest loan. Please call 1-800-686-6462 during the hours of 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Monday through Saturday.”

Arthur takes a long sip from his coffee cup. He really needed to work on securing his private data, these robocallers were getting way too specific.

August 3rd, Morning.

Arthur dries off his hair, spits into the sink, and picks up his phone to check his notifications. “SCAM LIKELY”. Third day in a row. He would’ve picked up and given them a piece of his mind this time. He goes to his voicemails and presses play. A cold machine voice says:

“Hello, we are looking to reach Arthur William Cottfield of 4015 West Maple Grove Road, Fairfield Ohio. We would like to speak to you about refinancing your high interest loan. Please call 1-800-686-6462 during the hours of 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Monday through Saturday. As we have been unable to successfully reach you we will try reaching you at your workplace Swanson Logistics with the phone number 1-800-457-2572.”

What the fuck. These places were getting desperate, and seriously creepy. Arthur blocked the number. Probably should have done that day one. This is what happens when people call in the morning. It’s called basic human decency. Oh well, he doubted they would actually call him at work.

August 3rd, Afternoon.

Arthur is digging into his pad-thai when the office assistant Mary knocks on his door.

“Come in!” Arthur says with a mouth full of food. Arthur chews quickly and wipes his mouth with a cheap brown napkin.

“So, not a big deal, but, uh, I got a really weird call asking for you. They just asked if they were speaking to Arthur William Cottfield. I said no, and they hung up, or it hung up I guess.”

“Especially persistent spam.” Arthur reassures Mary, putting his hand up defensively. “They’ve called me three days in a row.”

“Why didn’t you block the number?”

“It was early, don’t razz me. Seriously weird, knew my address and everything.”

“Damn. Robocalls are getting aggressive. See, this is why I only communicate by text now.”

August 3rd, Night.

As Arthur is enjoying his dinner and watching “The Office” his phone rings. Rings rings, like a regular phone. He had changed all of his ringtones to the melody from the song “Banana Phone”. He grabs his phone and sees in large font the words “SCAM LIKELY” followed by the number 1-800-686-6462. How the fuck? Arthur picks up the phone.

“Who the fuck is this, and how the hell did you get past the block?”

“Hello, we are looking to reach Arthur William Cottfield of 4015 West Maple Grove Road, Fairfield Ohio. We would like to speak to you about refinancing your high interest loan.”

“Well you fucking can’t, why do you keep calling me!”

“Is this Arthur William Cottfield? The Arthur William Cottfield who attended a Cleveland Indians game with his father who was sick with cancer of the liver? The Arthur William Cottfield who had impure thoughts about his cousin Jessica Sadie Cottfield while swimming in Lake Michigan in July? The Arthur William Cottfield who wrote mathematical formulas down on an index card and used it to defraud academic institutions while taking the ACT? The Arthur William Cottfield who attended a very important meeting on the train crossing at East Elm Road at midnight August 3rd 2013? Can you confirm you are that Arthur William Cottfield?”

Arthur stares angrily at his phone. His eyes began to water. “Who the fu… What do y..” Arthur takes a deep breath. “Yes I can confirm I am Arthur William Cottfield.”

“We would like to speak to you about refinancing your high interest loan.” Arthur looks at his phone again. The number has changed. 666 it says. The voice deepens to a cold, human monotone. “Hi Artie. It’s me. Bad news. I’ve decided to come calling a little early. Before you complain, it says I can do this, you really should read the fine print of anything you sign in blood. I’ve got great lawyers down here. Hugs and kisses Artie, see ya’ soon.”

Arthur tries to put down the phone, but he can not.

END

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