So I’m watching TV and the phone rings…after a long pause, a man comes on and says in a heavy Indian accent: Mr. (pause) Jones?
I say: Yes?
Him: I am calling from (pause) Santa Clarita. Have you heard of it?
Me: I live here.
I know by now this guy is calling from Mumbai or the local 7-11 store, but I’m bored with the Olympics–my wife is watching this new event, the seven-man Luge. Apparently, if you get down the hill with all seven guys still piled on top of each other, then you win the gold. The competitors who don’t make it get hospitalization. Anyway, I decide to have some fun with the guy.
Me: My phone ID says you are calling from Utah.
Him: Oh…they must be routing the call through Delta’s central switch.
Me: Delta must save a lot of money by routing local calls out of state and then back again.
Me: What do you want?
Him: First of all, this is not a sales call. [Obviously it is] We have drawn your name out of a hat [more likely a phone book] and you have won two free tickets on Delta Airlines. Isn’t that exciting?
Me: I think I just wet myself. Maybe I’ll come visit you in New Delhi.
Him: Very good. We are giving away these free tickets to celebrate our new Delta reservation center here in (pause) Santa Clarita. If you come to visit during our grand opening we will give you those two free tickets to anywhere Delta flies. Doesn’t that sound good?
Me: Will there be an open bar…and maybe some Tandoori chicken wings?
Him: Let me put on my supervisor.
Me: Okay. Alavidha.
Him: Alavidha. [Which is goodbye in Hindu]
I’m really getting into the process now, even though my wife is bugging me to turn off the TV mute so she can hear the screams from the seven-man Luge competition. Now a woman comes on the phone, also with heavy Indian accent. She’s the deal closer.
Her: Hello, Mr. (pause) Jones. Are you ready to come learn about our new travel agency? After a brief ninety-minute presentation, you will get your two free tickets.
Me: Travel agency? I thought you were with Delta Airlines?
Her: Ah, no, the man you spoke to is a Delta representative and wants you to fly his airline, but you can use any airline you like.
Me: Really? This a time-share pitch or a travel club, isn’t it?
Her: No, no, we are not selling anything.
Me: Okay, what’s the address and what time is your grand opening?
Her: What grand opening?
Me: For the new reservation center.
Her: You misunderstood. He should have said you need to make a reservation for the presentation.
Me: This reservation is for the meeting where you won’t sell me anything?
Her: That’s right. How about tomorrow?
Me: Give me the address here in (pause) Santa Clarita and I might stop by.
Her: The presentation is in Temecula, and you must make a reservation first.
Me: Temecula? That’s a 100 miles south of here. I thought you were calling from (pause) Santa Clarita.
Her: No answer.
Me: Can you do me a favor? Go look out your window.
Me: Be honest now, do you see any elephants or sacred cows?
Her: Are you going to make a reservation or not?
Me: Pass. Does this mean I don’t get the free airline tickets?
For some reason, she hung up.
Richard Allan Jones is the author of the military adventure novel, “Drafted,” available in paperback or Kindle at http://www.amazon.com.