's 2020 Horror Write-off:

Dead Number Killed My Phone; Please Help

Submitted by Annabelle Henderson

Hey guys, hope I got the right forum this time, I'm having trouble with my phone, please help.

So, I work for a small time telemarketing firm in Georgia, They do some contract work for some big names in politics, and have recently been trying to spread out to e-mail marketing. I am one of the guys they brought in to fill out their existing phone marketing contracts so they can make a clean jump to e-mail and close their telemarketing division entirely, which they have already begun doing.

I work in a room about the size of a shoebox with three other guys. Lenny, an old man who insists that he work til the day he dies, Roger, a boy fresh out of high school who thinks he's the hottest thing since skinny jeans, and Nella, a nice young woman who takes this job way too seriously. We each sit in one corner of the room with our backs to each other making calls. None of us have ever met our boss, who calls himself Mr. Lam, and communicates with us entirely via an outdated fax machine placed on the floor in the center of the room, the secretive guy even faxes us our paychecks.

In the “division” there is a big whiteboard just above Lenny's desk with an ever growing list of “Dead Numbers”, meaning numbers that are on our lists but never pick up the phone when called. They don't hang up, they aren't disconnected, the phone just rings until we have to stop trying and move on to the next number. I'm telling you all of this because one of these dead numbers finally picked up.

About a week ago me and Lenny were coming in together early after I had helped him with some yardwork, and we found Roger at his desk, disheveled. Apparently, after we had all left the night before he had started trying every single dead number on the list, and about midway down, he found one that picked up. Roger implored one of us to try it, so I did, and it rang. It rang for almost half an hour, and I almost considered hanging up and telling Roger that his late night was getting to him, but just as I went to put down the handset the ringing stopped, and the noise began.

Some sort of, sloshing, straining sound, like boiled egg after boiled egg plopping out of a water balloon and into a dish of mayonaise, with this wet chewing noise in the background. I guess whoever had this number originally had a cell phone, and had dropped it in an industrial vat of something at work, probably deviled ham. Roger just looked relieved that he wasn't the only one who could hear it, and as Nella arrived the workday began.

When I tried to call the first number on my call list though, there was just the noise on the other end. Sorry to burst your bubble if you were hoping for this to be some horror story, but it was just because I had forgotten to hang up.

So I did, I hung up, dialed the number, and called again. And it rang, it rang for a good long while, and then on the other end, just the noise. So I told Lenny we had another dead one, he added it to the whiteboard, and I sat back in smug security about winning my bet that we'd reach 50 by christmas. I tried the next number on my list, it rang for a bit, and then it was just the noise.I kept trying every single one of the numbers on my list, noise. Then, every number I knew, including my own house phone, and it was just that wet sloppy noise on the other end.

I told the others my phone was busted, and that I wouldn't be able to work until I could fix it. I tried faxing Mr Lam but he refused to acknowledge the problem, I even had him call me, and when HE called it worked just fine. First time any of us heard his voice, I lost a bet to Nella on him even having one, and he told all of us nothing was wrong and to keep calling our numbers. So I sorta just, tried them, hoped it would count, and went home to ask you people for help with my technical issue.

Please hurry, it's affecting my home phone now too. I guess it's like a computer virus for phones and I spread it to mine when I called, I don't know I'm not good with technology.

EDIT: I'm beginning to hear the noise without a phone. It's getting closer, I think I need to lie down and wait for it to pass over me, will tell you how that goes.

Last Updated: November 23rd 2008