The doorbell fell silent and then rang again and again. David, who did not want to move any more than he had to called out, “Ben, Seth – can you get the door?” There was no reply and the doorbell continued. It took a few more moments (and another ‘bing-bong!’ for David to remember that he was the only one in the house. It did not seem like he could pretend he was not there, either.
Perhaps in a cruel act of spite, his wife had tipped the caller off, paying them to stand there until he opened the door at which point they would run off behind some bushes to laugh at his expense. But even for a practical joke, this dedication seemed dedicated. Slowly, hesitantly, David made his way first to a sitting position and then after making sure that the floor would definitely stay grounded, he stood.
The world swam a little bit and the doorbell clanged inside his throbbing head more than from outside. Without waiting any longer, (just in case the floor did decide to become the ceiling) David made his unsteady and painful way to the front entrance. The dedication really was exemplary… David put his hand on the lock.
…it was almost… David opened the door. …almost – what was the word? “Oh, Christ.” David saw who it was. …pious.
It was not one caller, it was two. Despite being male and female, and of different ethnicities, they looked unnervingly similar, with horn rimmed glasses, neatly parted hair, and matching looks of revulsion on their faces. The woman was the first to recover. “Hello, my name is Sister Nettley. Please, don’t use the Lord’s name in vain.” David stared at her with bloodshot
eyes. A small drop of drool was still hanging from his bottom lip and his hair was sticking out at crazy angles. “What?” Sister Nettley sighed and repeated, “My name is Sister Nettley, and I would ask you use the Lord’s name in vain.” Her companion, seeing the David was not quite at his best added helpfully,
“It’s blasphemy. I’m Elder Monker, by the way.” “Oh. Shit. Sorry.” Said David. Apparently public swearing was also a matter of consternation and an awkward silence hung between them. David sneezed and not very surreptitiously pulled at his boxers where they had been riding up. “Yes?” he asked.
“We have a complaint to make,” said Monker, “About the phone call you made to our office.” David had not made a call, or rather, could not remember making one, and he told them as such. He stared at them with a face of pure innocence and confusion. If this was a practical joke, it was reaching into realms of surreal comedy that David had never even heard of, extending further than the ‘Mighty Boosh’, that David
had not found particularly funny the first time around. He doubted that the pair on his doorstep had found it amusing either. “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.” “The call. Last night. The abuse received by our brother, Elder Pontac.” “No. Sorry, you’ve lost me.”
Sister Nettley dug about in a large, black handbag. It seemed to take a momentous amount of time to find what she was looking for, shovelling piles of stuff about until she pulled out a neatly folded sheet of paper. Despite its time in her cluttered bag it was entirely unscathed and unblemished. “Here.” She said, handing it over to David. Written by some precise, quick hand was a record of the mysterious call.