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Chapter 49
December 31, 2017

Your Call Is Unfortunate To Us...


BOB and RAY, a couple of middle-aged call centre employees in a busy area, are sitting at desks with a binder in front of each of them and a phone. On the wall behind them is the crest of the Canada Revenue Agency. Bob's phone rings. He answers.

BOB: Hello, Canada Revenue Agency. How may I hinder you?

CALLER ONE: (female) I beg your pardon?

BOB: You have reached the Canada Revenue Agency. How may I hinder you today?

CALLER ONE: Aren't you supposed to be helping me?

BOB: Well, ma'am, that would depend upon the nature of your complaint, wouldn't it?

CALLER ONE: (flustered) Oh! Well, I hadn't really -

Ray titters, ignoring his own ringing phone.

BOB: What's on your mind, sister?

CALLER ONE: I just received an assessment of my taxes. It says I owe the government $87,000. But -

BOB: $87,000, ma'am?

CALLER ONE: That's right.

BOB: Only, it's rare that people's assessments come out in perfectly round numbers.

RAY: (stifling laughter) In fact, it's against government policy.

Bob puts his hand over the mouthpiece and shushes Ray. Then, he takes his hand off the phone.

BOB: I'm sorry, ma'am, could you repeat that?

CALLER ONE: Okay, if you want to know the exact number, it's $87,346.37.

BOB: Yeah. That sounds right. What seems to be the problem?

CALLER ONE: I only made $27,000 last ye - $27,364.73, to be exact - last year.

BOB: Thank you, ma'am. Precision does help the process go along more speedily.

CALLER ONE: What are you going to do about this error?

BOB: I'm sorry, ma'am, but the CRA does not make errors. If you're claiming that this is a counterfactual positive...


BOB: We don't make those, either. Sorry.

CALLER ONE: Is there anything I can do to make this right?

BOB: There is one course of action you could try...


BOB: Do you have your T-FAL5 in front of you?

RAY: (chuckling, under his breath) T-FAL5! Good one!


BOB: Well, I'm afraid you're going to have to go to the Ministry of Paperwork and request a T-FAL5 form. They're usually issued every third year, so they may ask you to sacrifice a goat while saying an ancient Aramaic prayer if this is an off year. You can find the prayer on the Ministry's Web site, along with a 24 part video tutorial on how to read and speak ancient Aramaic.

Ray covers his mouth with his hand to try and stifle his laughter.

CALLER ONE: A tutorial on how to read Aramaic?

BOB: It's hosted by Donald Sutherland.

CALLER ONE: Are you kidding?

BOB: This is the Canada Revenue Agency, ma'am. We don't have a sense of humour.

SOUND: a phone is slammed and there is a dial tone. Bob looks at the phone in his hand and hangs up.

RAY: (snorting) That was the sound of another satisfied customer!

BOB: (looks at Ray's phone, which is still ringing) Aren't you going to answer that?

RAY: If it's important, they'll stay on the - (the ringing stops) There. How important could it be?

After a moment of quietly contemplating the phone, it rings again. Ray answers.

RAY: Good evening. Department of Irony, Iron Mongering and Camel Incentives. How may I scalp you?

CALLER TWO: Is this Canada Revenue?

RAY: It most certainly isn't. How may I squelp you?

CALLER TWO: I have a question about keeping records of payments made to me through Paypal.

RAY: Don't do it.

CALLER TWO: I beg your pardon?

RAY: Friend, you have your whole life ahead of you. Don't throw it away on some unproven technology that will only break your heart!

CALLER TWO: But...but...what do I do about my Paypal payments?

RAY: You can stay Paypals if you like, but if you ask me - and, you did - I would tell you to put a ring on it! You can't keep leading it on like this!

CALLER TWO: I...I have no idea what you're talking about!

RAY: So, on a scale of three to 27.5, would you say this call was satisfying, very satisfying, orgasmically satisfying or just okay but you're going to say orgasmically satisfying so as not to hurt my feelings?

CALLER TWO: You're nuts!

SOUND: a phone is slammed and there is a dial tone. Ray happily hangs up.

RAY: Man, I love this job!

BOB: Me, too, brother. I think I'll answer my next call in Swahili!

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