Voicemail Hell

Today has not started out that well.

I called AT&T to try and find out why my new iPhone 5 has so many problems. “Welcome to AT&T. Your call is very important to us,” a cheerful automated voice lied, because if it was so important to them they would have fallen off their wallets and hired enough operators to actually take care of their customers. I successfully navigated through eight different voicemail menus, before finally getting to speak to a live human being who wanted to know my mother’s maiden name before they would speak to me.

“Well her name was Thibault until Hollywood decided to make a movie out of my life and then he changed it because it was too French sounding to Stevens,” I try to explain.

“I don’t know what you are talking about sir,” the AT&T operator states, “but if you can’t give me the answer I have here, I can’t establish your identity and cannot talk to you,” and she hangs up.

I’m still fuming when the iPhone springs to life and Warren Zevon’s 1978 evergreen Lawyers Guns and Money my ringtone for my lawyer, Holly Marotte plays. Because I know she charges by the second and also because she is incredibly hot in a dominatrix meets badger meets stripper type sort of way, I pick up the phone on the first ring.

“I just served Hollywood with papers informing him that he has one week to fully comply with what is in your contract or we’re going to pursue all legal remedies available.”

“Okay,” I reply not wanting to run up my bill by asking her to elaborate on what legal remedies are. I’m pretty sure they aren’t sold at pharmacies alongside Robitussin and Vicks Vapor Rub, and more likely are available at the Medical Marijuana store that most of my friends patronize.

“So now the war is on, and you must not talk to Hollywood. If he calls you, you should politely tell him that you are represented by legal counsel and he should address all his comments to me.”

No sooner do I hang up when my phone goes off playing David Allen Coe’s classic country song, “I’d Like to Fuck the Shit Out of You”, which is Hollywood’s ringtone.

“Aren’t you going to answer your phone?” Nina Pennington urges.

“It’s Hollywood. Holly Marotte said I can’t talk to him,” I reply.

“No, Holly Marotte told you to politely tell him that you’re represented by a lawyer and then you can hang up.”

“But you know how Hollywood is, he’s very persuasive, he could sell sand to the Arabs or condoms to priests.”

“Just man up and answer the fucking phone,” Nina orders tossing me the iPhone 5 which picks now to work properly for the first time ever, which gives me an idea.

“Hello you have reached the voicemail for Ric Thibault Industries,” I try to sound like an automaton. Your call is very important to me. If you are calling to apologize for having your shyster send an e-mail claiming I had exhibited bad faith behavior in the form of breaching an oral agreement that I never made please press one.”

I hear Hollywood pressing one. It worked!

Emboldened I continue. “Thank you! If you called to change your best and final offer please press one.

“Operator,” Hollywood shouts into the phone while repeatedly hitting what I presume to be the “O” key.

“I’m sorry we did not recognize your response. If you called to change your best and final offer please press one.”

“Fuck,” Hollywood shouts but follows it up by hitting another key, which I hope is 1.

“Thank you. If you are calling to stop reneging on your agreement please press one.”

“Operator,” Hollywood screams.

“One moment please we are now connecting you.” I intone. I wait ten seconds and then put on my best Indian accent. “Hello my name is Raj in technical support. Who do I have the honor of speaking with today?”

“This is Hollywood,” a very tense voice states.

“Before we start, I have to ask you a security question sir. What is your mother’s maiden name?”

“I want to talk to your supervisor,” Hollywood demands.

“You can dial my supervisor directly sir. Her name is Holly Marotte and I’m not supposed to talk to you anymore,” I hang up.

Today wasn’t that bad a day after all.

Justin Bieber and Taking to the Mattresses

It’s 6:15 in the morning and someone is knocking fervently at my door. If I recall correctly Ed McMahon is dead, so it’s highly unlikely that the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes Prize Patrol is outside my house – and right before I went to bed last night I was surfing the web and there wasn’t anything on TMZ about Angelina Jolie being stricken by a viral infection of promiscuous nymphomania, so the chances are there’s nothing good on the other side of the door. So I decide to ignore it and pull the covers back over my head.

Eventually the knocking stops and I’m trying to get back to sleep while wondering if I may have made a huge mistake. It might not hurt to get up and go online to see if something had changed in the last few hours, and perhaps Angelina Jolie in fact has been struck by this hopefully highly contagious virus. I am thinking this through, when I hear the sound of shattering glass and someone trying to crawl in my window. I quickly run into the kitchen and grab a Ginsu knife for protection and reach for my iPhone to call 911 for the cops, but I don’t have any service because I have AT&T and no one ever has service when you need it when you have AT&T.

So I hurl my iPhone at the intruder and at least finally have a connection, because I hear the thud of someone hitting the ground and Nina Pennington’s voice begging me not to kill her as I turn on the lights.

“What the fuck are you doing breaking in here?”

“Selena Gomez broke up with Justin Bieber,” my girlfriend sobs.

“You broke into my house to tell me that?” is what I really mean to say, but Nina has really great tits and her father gave her an American Express card with no credit limit, so it kind of comes out slightly differently, “I’m so sorry. I feel your pain, and I’m here for you 100 percent, and – oh my God your tears are soaking your t-shirt, let me get those wet clothes off of you… would you like a hug?”

Unfortunately Nina doesn’t take up any of my offers, and instead starts in on a rant, telling me it’s all my fault – and that I’m going to be perceived as an asshole in hundred or so years when some modern day Shakespeare issues the most monumentally tragic tweet of all time blaming me for this debacle – which will soon replace Romeo and Juliet in future high school curriculums.

“How is it my fault?”

“Because you had to fucking write your autobiography, ‘While I’m Dead…Feed the Dog’ and then sell it to Hollywood. What type of asshole has an interesting enough life to write their autobiography at the age of sixteen?”

Nina still has great tits and a credit card, so I don’t respond directly, “but I’m sorry I don’t see what Selena Gomez has to do with any of this?”

“She was playing me in the movie. She was on the movie set hanging out with the actor that plays you, except he has an American name and is better looking, and the next thing you know Justin Bieber is hasta la vista baby.”

“And why is that a bad thing?”

“Because she was me, Nina Pennington – and everyone thought it was me going out with Justin Bieber. I was someone. People knew who I was and wanted to be me. Now I’m just a wannabe like you…” she darts her eyes around the room, “living in a shitty apartment full of mattresses? What are the hell are you doing with all these mattresses, are you getting into some sort of weird group sex thing?”

“I wish… I mean no! It’s just I’m suing Hollywood for reneging on our deal and not letting me do the music for my movie and not paying me either. Holly Marotte, my lawyer, filed a lawsuit, and wants to go for Hollywood’s jugular vein, which in his case is located in his wallet. The war is on. Holly Marotte told me that ‘it’s time to take to the mattresses.’”

“So you went and bought five used smelly mattresses?”

“I didn’t buy them, I didn’t have the money – so I went around the neighborhood and took in the used ones that people were throwing out.”

“You can’t use used mattresses. That’s gross,” Nina stops crying. “Didn’t Holly Marotte tell you that when you win your lawsuit you get to recover all your legal costs? Get dressed and come with me.”

*                      *                                 *

We pull up to a mattress store on Beverly Boulevard in Hollywood. The store is called Hastens, except it has two dots over the ‘a” meaning that it’s European and probably has so much class that it costs at least double what you would pay at Sit and Sleep, where at least you’d get the pleasure of buying a mattress at a price so low that it might kill that creep Irwin from their commercial.

“May I help you?” asks the flamingly gay salesman.

“Yes, my boyfriend would like five Vividus mattresses please,” Nina states.

“Okay that will be $400,000 plus 8.75 percent tax, so the grand total is $435,000, will that be cash or credit card?”

“Credit card,” I reach into Nina Pennington’s purse.