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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Relationship · #1955740
Karen felt disconnected, literally. It's okay to be cruel to telemarketers?
Karen was tired. The workday was long, and most people hung up. She knew better than to take it personally. Somehow society decided it’s okay to be rude, mean, even cruel to telemarketers.

Most days Karen could block the hurt with Disconnection, but this day someone had asked her “why she didn’t just kill herself.” Disconnection wasn’t working; she drove home in tears.

Karen entered her apartment’s kitchen, sat in a flowered vinyl kitchen chair and idly scratched a rip in an olive-green leaf on the 70’s style pattern. For an instant her husband was sitting there – he had sat in the chair countless times, had occupied the space she’d taken now. Then he slid away, faded like paper photos after these twenty years.

His murder taught her Disconnection. Futility’s path lay carved in stone before her. The cruel comment about killing herself was a skipping record, but she lacked the strength to turn it off. She was getting too used to the tune. She was alone now. She prepared leftovers, set them before her, did not eat.

The landline ring broke her reverie in many pieces, and they hastily reformed themselves into now-consciousness. Karen knew it would be a telemarketer, but telemarketers don’t hang up on other telemarketers, so she answered.


No pause. “I’ll be watching you.” Her husband’s unmistakably loving voice. Impossible, but happening.

“I’ll always be watching you. You are beautiful, intelligent, and so incredibly kind,” he continued soothingly. Impossible, but happening.

“Quit the job. Stop worrying. Let go, and all will be well. ” Karen wanted to speak but couldn’t – and then the voice was gone. But she listened, and quit the telemarketing job.

She’s still nice to telemarketers, though, and as promised, all is well.

Not Impossible. Happening.
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