The phone rings. I ignore it. It persists. I'm not a fool. The strategem I
employ comes easily to me. I lift the extension. I say nothing. Silence too,
at his end. He replaces his receiver. Remarkably harsh dialling tone.
After seeing to a few odd jobs I decide to make a telephone call. I lift the
phone. Dead silence. Unprecedented. The telephone system in my area
normally sans pareil. At the report of the slightest fault telephone
technicians arrive post haste, on the dot, to correct. But in this case
problem palpable. I can't phone to declare the fault, the fault is so vast, so
pervasive, it so consumes, is so final, as to obstruct, without a chink of
Silent phone. Dead night.
The extension? Phone off the hook? The extension phone off hook? I
investigate. Extension secure, with a certain indolence, on hook. I am
nonplussed. Not only that. I take one of my seats and sit nonplussed.
Nonplussed. No tone. Dead night.
I leave the library, go into a phone box and dial my flat. Number
Someone is trying to do me in.
From Transatlantic Review, June 1977