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© July 2003 Tony Lawrence

A Phone Call

Many a year ago, I worked for a small reseller. It was a blustery winter afternoon. Heavy snow was falling, the owner and all the big shots of course had skipped out early ("Bad storm coming - see you tomorrow") leaving us worker bees to hold down the fort. It was getting close to five o'clock, so the remaining five or six of us had gathered in the front office, anxiously peering at the mounting snow drifts and wishing we had the guts to just walk out. None of us were working at this point, except the receptionist, who would still get a phone call now and then.

Our receptionist was a woman easily given to blushing. The slightest double-intendre would flush her face. She was a good sport about it, so some of us would sometimes deliberately provoke that reaction to see how red we could get her face. This evening was probably the best, yet we really did nothing but raise our eyebrows.

It was one of those perfect timing moments. The rest of us were chattering and laughing too loudly, a phone call came in. Apparently the connection was bad, the man on the other end had an accent, and of course we were making too much noise. Our receptionist was struggling to hear, and perhaps we all noticed that at the same time, or she waved a frustrated arm at us to quiet down, but suddenly we all went silent just as she blurted out:

"You have a seventeen inch WHAT?"

A seventeen inch monitor, of course, but we all turned to her with appropriate expressions of amazement on our faces. Our poor receptionist got the idea immediately, turned bright red, and became even more flustered. She finally managed to transfer the call to somebody's voice mail while the rest of us kidded her mercilessly. "A seventeen inch WHAT?" was frequently heard around the office for days afterward, and she would reward us with a great blush every time.




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