Monday, November 01, 2004



Date: Wednesday 27th October 2004
Time: 1945 GMT
Place: Scary is working late at the office, an ornately decorated billiard room in a former stately home to the north of Reading. There is no billard table, alas, only desks.

The phone rings. Caller ID says "Number witheld"

Scary: "Hel-lo, BBC Foreign Media."
Childish yet familiar voice at the other end of the line: "Aaaagh! You've got a fat arse!"
Scary: "......"
-- CLICK --

Of course, I would never, ever have done something like that as a kid. OK, perhaps I did. Thirteen years of age, dialling numbers at random, perhaps I used exactly the same turn of phrase, casting aspersions at the waist size of spluttering victims. It was when we started dialling numbers beginning with "00" that the trouble really started.

In fact, I'd go as far as saying that I should have recognised that immature voice immediately. But then, hearing yourself speak outside the smoothing echo chamber of your own head is just so unnatural. The conclusion is inescapable. I have just received the world's first Time Travel Paradox Prank Phone Call, a phenomenon so important, it gets to have capital letters.

Isaac Asimov would have been so proud. He tried for years, and all he got was a huge phone bill and a filing cabinet stuffed full of restraining orders.

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