Code-10 abort

I answered the phone within two rings, but there was silence at the other end. Three seconds later, there was a click, and a woman with an Asian accent introduced herself as Rachel. She began to ask me about pension plans. From the slight time delays, I guessed the call was being bounced off a bird above Karachi.

I explained to Rachel that, yes, I was indeed already receiving a pension. She asked me who I was receiving my pension from. I explained that I was receiving a pension from the Queen. This seemed to confuse Rachel. She asked me which pension company I was received my pension from. I explained that it didn't work that way, and that I received a cheque through the post each month signed by the Queen.

Rachel put me on to her supervisor. I didn't catch his name. He also had an Asian accent. I then had to re-explain my pension arrangements to him. He sounded confused as well. He explained that their database showed that I might not be receiving as good a pension as I could be. This set alarm bells ringing. I demanded to know which database he was accessing, as my personal details were supposed to be secret. He sounded even more confused. I asked him where he had got my phone number. He explained that his company had bought my details off a data provider, and asked me if my concerns had anything to do with the telephone preference service.

I explained to the man that I am indeed registered with the telephone preference service, and that, in calling my private number, he had blown the cover of my MI6 safe-house. The man tried to reassure me that there was nothing to worry about, but he was far from convincing and sounded pretty worried himself. I told him he didn't know what he was talking about, and demanded to know whether our conversation was being recorded. He said that it was. So I blurted out something about having to establish a new safe-house and hung up.

I'm going deeply covert: Coventry Protocol. The code-phrase is BLACK APRICOT.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. What I do when I receive these calls is to simply say yes to every question. It sometimes takes a while for the caller to realise I'm an idiot, but at least I've taken up 10 minutes of THEIR time and stopped them ringing anyone else.

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