The Dark Ritual of Line Faults

Last month I picked up my handset and it was silent. It had been a while since I last heard it ring. People would tell me that they’d called but there was no answer.

I called Telstra, like many times before, to perform The Ritual.

I imagine The Ritual is the same for everyone. No one talks about it, but I’ll break the taboo. First you listen to 50 minutes of chanting. Then a voice greets you. The voice is exotic. Bubbly, professional, detached.

The Ritual starts with the test of humility. If The Chanting has upset you, you must Calm Down Please Sir. The Ritual is over quicker if you stay calm. Deep, slow breaths help.

You try to tell the voice how they May Help You Today. You state your case.

As long as you stay calm, the Voice will send you a text message. The message is a link to speak to the same Voice again. This is a trap for those inexperienced in The Ritual. If you try to use it, your mobile rings once. It has definitely rung, but not long enough for you to answer. It will not ring again.

The third part of the ritual is the Unplugging of Devices. Then the Trying a Different Handset. Then the voice says it will run the line test.

The line test confirms your claims. It’s time for The Escalation. There is more chanting. You speak to a similar voice. Less bubbly, more professional. Just as detached. You repeat your case. You repeat the Unplugging of Devices and Trying a Different Handset.

The Voice declared my phone line “Spooky”.

If you’ve made it this far without needing to Calm Down, the voice will Send Someone. Usually in about a week. Between the hours of 8am and 12pm. Maybe. A person over 18 years of age must be at the premises to grant Someone access to your property.

The appointment made, The Ritual is complete. You make a pact to stay on the line to complete A Quick Survey. It is tradition to break the pact.

I went through The Ritual and Someone finally arrived. They blamed the ancient infrastructure, as tradition dictates.

Two weeks later: no dial tone. This time there was static. I tried calling it and got a busy signal.

I performed The Ritual again. The Chanting, the Staying Calm, The Escalation, the Sending of Someone, the Quick Survey.

The Voice declared my phone line was now “Haunted”.

Someone is due to arrive in an hour. I must gird myself. I fear the Someone will be unable to resolve my issue, but I must be steadfast. I pray the Someone can exorcise the demons.

I shudder to think what is worse than Haunted. We continue to pay our Monthly Tribute. There is never any issue with billing.

Inside me is a sea of fear and anger. All I can do is pray.

And I must always Stay Calm.