The Vanessa Connection

…Walking through the mall, I pass by the mobile phone company outlet and decide to go in to cancel my post-paid account.

Every month they’ve been telling me that I owe them a different sum of money. I had the $50/month package, but sometimes would be paying up to $150. On average, I spend 20 minutes talking on the phone each month.

Inside the outlet, they instruct me to dial 800-2222 [or something like that] on a mysterious telephone on the wall. A woman answers the phone in a lovely voice and I state my business.

She tries to convince me against canceling the account, informing me that I have accumulated 4000 unused minutes over the years that I have been a customer. She advises that I use those minutes before I cancel, or else lose them.

I ask her why I was told every month that I owe them money if I had been accumulating 4000 minutes. She can’t say, or doesn’t know what to say.

She again warns that I would be losing so many minutes if I cancel, but that if I still wish to I would have to pay the $62.19 that I owe, then call her again at that number. I tell her that I called that company a week ago and was told that I owed $500; I paid $600. I ask how could it be possible to still owe $62.19.

I ask her her name; it is Vanessa. I say goodbye, and line up at the cashier. 15 minutes later, I have paid $62.50 and return to the mysterious phone on the wall. There is a middle aged gentleman using it. I suspect that he is talking to Vanessa.

Can she, possibly, be cheating on me so soon? I thought we had a connection.

I decide to try calling the number with my mobile. If Vanessa doesn’t answer I will know that she is talking to another man and I will confront her when we speak again.

I sit among the rows of empty chairs in the waiting area and dial the numbers. I am relieved to immediately recognize Vanessa’s voice. She checks to verify that I have paid, and again asks me to reconsider; she seems more concerned about the 4000 minutes than I am.

I tell her that I am a recluse, that I have no friends with whom to talk on the phone. I ask if I can transfer the minutes to someone else. She says no. I tell her that she can have the minutes if she can figure out a way to transfer them to herself. She says that she can’t.

By this time I notice that the security guard has locked the gate to the main door leading out. Vanessa tells me that my account should be closed in four working days. I wonder how can days be working, and what do days do if they do work. I thank her, and the security guard lets me out through a side door. I thank him…


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