Saturday, December 17, 2016

Taste the Book: SU-MA

"Not you again," Su-Ma muttered, seeing the phone number displayed on the switchboard screen, identifying not just the number, but the location, whether it was a cell or landline, and the last time that particular number had called in.

Why now, with less than ten minutes until her morning shift on the switchboard ended? Anonymous lunatics who claimed God had talked to them through the cat and insisted everyone had to vacate Quarry Hall so they could move in and prepare for the Anti-Christ's siege during the Tribulation which had started two weeks ago -- that kind of caller she could handle. Not this repeat, whining nuisance. Knowing who was calling before she opened the line just made it worse.

Sometimes she could hate how much Joan and Sophie loved tinkering with the phone system and computers in general. Then again, it was fun having James Bond-type gizmos. Su-Ma envied her adopted sisters' ability to dream up new programs and security features and actually make them reality. Most of the time it was a good envy, wanting to be like them, having an example and role model to follow.

Anne, the last one to deal with this particular caller, had assigned a specific ringtone to the number. Even as she grinned, Su-Ma could almost wish they were back to a standard switchboard that simply read out the number and gave no history. Maybe the da-dum-da-dum-da-dum theme for "Jaws" was fitting, but Petra's "Witch Hunt" was more appropriate.

"Please, God, help me be kind," she whispered as she tapped the mouse to open up the line on the third ring, before the voicemail system picked it up. "Good morning, this is the Arc Foundation switchboard--"

"Put me through to your boss," the tense alto voice said before she could finish the standard line of, "To whom do you need to speak?"

"God is my boss, and the last time I checked, you can still speak directly to Him," slipped out.
Silence. For five seconds. Su-Ma muffled a giggle as she thought, A new record! The worst thing she could do was giggle. The young woman on the other end of the phone took herself far too seriously. 

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