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๐—๐˜‚๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฎ ๐—›๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—บ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—น๐—น๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—–๐—น๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ, ๐—œ๐—ป๐—ฐ. ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜๐—น๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฒ

by Ralph Greco, Jr.



โ€œYes, can I help you?โ€


โ€œI have been transferred now five times, and I am sick of it!โ€


โ€œIโ€™m so sorryโ€”please let me assist you. What is your name, Missโ€ฆ?โ€


โ€œDonโ€™t you have my name by now, I have entered it four times to your automated system? Please, just help me!โ€


โ€œIโ€™m so sorry for the inconvenience. I assure you this is the last time youโ€™ll have to give anybody your name. Things with me will go much faster than with your last operator; just give me your name, please, so I mightโ€ฆโ€


โ€œHaversmith, Julia Haversmith. H-A-Vโ€ฆโ€


โ€œI got it, Mrs. Haversmith, okay, I see you on the tech screen. Yes, yes, I see what your problem is. Iโ€™m so sorry for the delay.โ€


โ€œWell, thank you. I didnโ€™t mean to raise my voice; itโ€™s just that, well, I have been on hold for a while, then transferred, then put back on hold. Iโ€™ve had three different techs on the phone over the last hour, and each one keeps transferring me down the line. Iโ€™m sorry for yelling at you.โ€


โ€œI completely understand your frustration Mrs. Haversmithโ€ฆโ€


โ€œJulie, please, call me Julie, okay? And your name is?โ€


โ€œHi Julie, my name is Cecelia.โ€


โ€œThank you, Cecelia, finally I think I might be getting somewhere.โ€


โ€œYes, yes, I assure you, Julie, that by the time we end this call, we will have your C.I. unit fixed.โ€


โ€œThank you so much; itโ€™s so great I finally have somebody on the line who can help meโ€ฆ Wait, a Clone Inc. car just pulled into my driveway.โ€


โ€œYes, that would be Henry Zee.โ€


โ€œYes, oh hi, yes, yes, Iโ€™m on the phone with her right now. Sorry Cecelia, but Henry, yes, Henry, just knocked. Heโ€™s here right now!โ€


โ€œMrs. Hโ€ฆI mean Julie, letโ€™s you and I talk for a bit while Henry sees to the unit, okay?โ€


โ€œYes, yes, Iโ€™m, well, I just never expectedโ€ฆโ€


โ€œAll part of the service, Julie. By the time you get to me, and sorry to say it had to come to that, you do get higher tech support, and we get the job done.โ€


โ€œWhy couldnโ€™t they just transfer me to you an hour ago?โ€


โ€œI wish I could easily answer that question, believe me, by the time people get to me, they are usually not as nice as you.โ€


โ€œAnd I didnโ€™t think I was being nice at all.โ€


โ€œHaha, well you were and are, you are a delight, Julie, really. But to your questionโ€ฆ Itโ€™s the companyโ€™s first-line-of-defence protocol, although not one I happen to agree with. But with sixty-four percent of our call complaints so easily fixed, and mostly from online support, the company feels customers donโ€™t usually need the personal touch of higher-tech support.โ€


โ€œYou mean the better โ€˜human touch,โ€™ thatโ€™s what it is, really.โ€


โ€œWell thatโ€™s not for me to say, of course, but just between you and me, you wonโ€™t believe how many people have simply kicked a C.I. replicator plug out of a wall, or they might have simply filled the saliva reservoir but forgot to add their weekly allotment strands of hair, plenty of the problems are actually that easily fixed. This is why the company doesnโ€™t like to put calls all the way through at every instance.โ€


โ€œI guess I can understand; still, when somebody has a legitimate problem...โ€


โ€œYes, thatโ€™s where things can get a bit sticky, I agree. Henry just texted that he has the panel open, you can see that, right?โ€


โ€œYes, I can see him working on her from here; yes, he has that back panel open, the one your instructions told me never to open.โ€


โ€œRight, that would void your warranty. Only a Clone, Inc. tech is authorized to do what Henry is doing now. And I might add, Henry really is the best Julie. The saying around the office is โ€˜Where others have tread before and failed, Henry always completes his mission.โ€™โ€


โ€œOh-oh, wow, that was the first I laughed all day. Thanks!โ€


โ€œGood good, now while he works, do you want to go over your service contract? I see you presently have the gold package with us, right?โ€


โ€œYes, the gold, yes. Once-a-week automatic, which was working fine until yesterday when I didnโ€™t see a new model.โ€


โ€œAnd weโ€™re sorry about that, but you will, you will, donโ€™t worry. So, you are happy with the weekly obsolescence and the full rendering correct?โ€


โ€œYes, the clones are perfect; even my husband canโ€™t tell the difference.โ€


โ€œInside and out, we do work hard to maintain the very best standards for our replicasโ€ฆ and I should say, that is what you are paying for.โ€


โ€œReally, I mean, it was never any problem with the clones, it was just that the replicator just stopped working and didnโ€™t make me a new one this week. I got a little nervous to tell you the truth, and I couldnโ€™t figure out why, so I called.โ€


โ€œWell, you will be happy to know it is working now. Henry should be just leaving.โ€


โ€œHe fixed it already?โ€


โ€œAs I said, he is efficient.โ€


โ€œThank you, thank you so much, Cecelia. Why donโ€™t you transfer me to your superior? I would love to give you a glowing recommendation, youโ€™ve really been so fantastic.โ€


โ€œI would if I could, Julie. But Iโ€™ll be gone by tomorrow; it would be useless to compliment me specifically. I can put down that you like the model though, our original tech support human Cecelia would be very happy to hear that her clones are doing such a good job.โ€


โ€œOh, I, I didnโ€™t realize you were. I mean, Iโ€™m sorry, Iโ€ฆโ€


โ€œNo need to apologize, Julie, have a great day, and thanks for calling C.I. support.โ€


โ€œWait, wait!โ€


โ€œYes, Julie?โ€


โ€œWell, you are obviously a very high-functioning model.โ€


โ€œThank you; I like to consider myself so.โ€


โ€œCould I get an upgrade in my contract? Maybe at the end of term, make sure my new clones are outfitted with your brain capacity?โ€


โ€œWell, no offense Julie, but our brains are digitized and work connected to the Clone, Inc. hive-mind, yours works in an entirely different way. If we were to outfit a house human clone or even one of the everyday worker series with my brain, the clone would be nothing more than a robot. Believe me, neither you nor your husband would like that.โ€


โ€œWell, you seem very sweet, very human.โ€


โ€œThank you, Julie, thatโ€™s the nicest thing anybody has said to me all dayโ€ฆ and you have a great day, and thank you for continuing to be such a valued Clone Inc. customer. I assume Henry has just left?โ€


โ€œYes, he has. Thank you, Cecelia, it was so nice meeting you.โ€


โ€œLikewise, bye. Bye forever.โ€ โœฆ



Ralph Greco, Jr. is the devilishly clever nom de plume of Ralph Greco, a professional writer of short fiction, essays, blogs, SEO web copy, articles, interviews and reviews, one-act plays, songs, and the children's book series, Echo City Capers. Ralphโ€™s work has appeared in major market and small press magazines, online, in anthologies and single-author collection, and heโ€™s been published across seven countries. Ralphโ€™s music can be found at www.ralphgrecomusic.com. Ralph also writes for โ€˜adultโ€™ businesses worldwide and co-hosts the slightly naughty cultural podcast "Licking Non-Vanilla" (www.lickingnonvanilla.com).



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