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No Soliciting

Click to Verify You are Not a Robot

By Amos GladePublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 9 min read
Top Story - November 2023
21
No Soliciting
Photo by Manny Becerra on Unsplash

“Hello! We’ve been trying to reach you regarding your car’s extended warranty,” Alec hung up the phone. He hated robocalls; he knew he could just not answer, but he also hated losing control over his phone. He worked a customer service job from home. If someone needed to call him and he didn’t have their number saved in his phone, which was often, he needed to answer.

He sipped at his morning coffee and stared out the window of his cottage. It had rained the day before and a robin was bathing itself in a puddle. It dipped low into the water and then ruffled and shook water into miniature sprays before basking in a ray of sunshine. “I should get a birdbath,” he thought.

Alec turned on his computer. He preferred to work at his kitchen table while finishing his coffee. It was cozy. He had a lot of natural light, and he could see a full view of his small home all the way from the front door to the sliding glass door into his backyard.

He opened a browser to login and start his workday and was immediately barraged with popup ads:

LOOKING FOR BIRD BATHS? Best Birdbath and birdbath accessories for the lowest prices. D-I-Y your own bird bath projects! 10 Styles of birdbaths that will spruce up any backyard gathering. How to attract the largest variety of birds to your birdbath. 8 things to know before you install a birdbath. Birds love a birdbath, AND SO CAN YOU!

Alec rubbed the bridge of his nose, “fuckin’ technology.”

A click and a slide-shuffle could be heard as mail slid through the mail slot in the front door. Alec turned to see a small beige parcel dangling from the lip of the slot.

He stood on bare feet, feeling the cold of the wood floor, and walked to gather the mail. His phone rang. Without looking he answered it, “Hello, this is Alec.”

“Hello, this is congresswoman Miyoko Mori, and I am calling to garner your support in the upcoming election. Did you know that even a minimum donation of fifteen dollars a month can help clean up the atrocious acts of current congressman Barry Kontor…”

Alec hung up the phone and pulled the package from the door. He might not be able to get the robocalls to stop but he knew what was in this package. He tore it open and pulled out a ‘No Soliciting’ placard.

The placard came with two sticky strips of double-sided adhesive tape. He tore them open, placed them on the back of the card, then opened the door.

“Hello, Sir,” said a rotund man in khaki shorts and a floppy hat with his arm up in a knocking position. His sweat-stained shirt featured a picture of a cartoon yellow bird. He put his arm down, “I happened to notice that your lawn had some bald spots. I’m working with some of your neighbors…”

“I’m not interested,” Alec said.

“It would only be a consultation,” the man’s eyes stared directly through Alec as his smile faded.

Alec held up the placard, “I’m really not interested.” He fixed the placard into place at what he felt was a standard eye level, pressed firmly for 30 seconds as instructed, and closed the door in the still staring face of the man.

With the door firmly closed, Alec’s phone rang.

“Hello, this is Alec.”

“Hello, this is Rita from Exotic Destinations. I’m calling to congratulate you on winning…” Alec hung up his phone and smashed it into his pocket as a knock came at the door.

He flung the door open and yelled out, “I told you I am not interested!”

A pigtailed little girl in a purple and brown uniform, topped with a little purple beret, stood holding a box of cookies. She stared straight into his chest and started a monotone script, “Hello, Sir. I am selling cookies to save up enough money for myself and my troop to feel the joy of summer camp where we will work together with communities to build educational experiences for the youth of underprivileged areas…”

Alec let the girl drone on for a moment. He felt bad for yelling at such a small child, but there was something off about her. He just couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Except for her mouth she was nearly stock still and she was staring straight at his chest. Was she blind? Alec waved his hand in front of her face, but she just kept talking. He looked into her eyes. Were they – solid black?

“…can I put you down for eleven boxes of Pecan Gooeys, Lemon Monkey Barrels, or Grandma Jelly’s Peanut Squares?”

“I’m sorry, not today,” Alec answered with as sad a tone as he could muster. He kept eye contact with her as he closed and locked the door. The girl stood there, staring where Alec had stood, without moving a muscle.

Her fingers shot through the mail slot, “if you would like something else, we have thirteen different flavor varieties in total.”

Alec walked back to his computer, finally able to get his work started. He could see the first three emails in his queue which had the following subject lines: Enlarge Your Penis in Five Easy Steps!, Fire Hydrant Fire Sale Ends Today!, and Sexy Unidentified Humanoids in Your Neighborhood!

He deleted the spam mail just before his phone rang. He pulled it out and saw it blinking the word, “Mom.”

“About time, a call I can handle,” he said as he answered, “hi mom!”

There was static on the other end, followed by a dial tone and half a ring, then:

“Hello?”

It was not his mother’s voice. It was barely a human voice.

“This is Alec,” he said.

“Hello Mr. Alec, this is Bridgette from First American Reserve Treasury Bank. It appears there has been some fraud associated with your credit card. If you could provide me with your password as a verification, I can assist in clearing up any concerns you might have associated to the potential threat.”

“Is this a robot? How did you get my mom’s phone?” Alec didn’t wait for any answers. “Jesus Christ,” he screamed as he hung up his phone and tossed it across the room with a clatter.

His phone landed right by the front door. He took a couple deep breaths and went to retrieve it. As he bent over to pick it up, the door knocked. He was starting to get a headache. “I need to get a peephole installed,” he whispered to himself.

Alec opened the door to find two young men dressed in full suit and tie, short cropped blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, and the widest grins he had ever seen. They each had little name badges declaring themselves Brother Smith and Brother Newman.

“Are you brothers?” The question escaped Alec’s mouth before he could stop it.

Their grins, already impossibly wide, grew wider and toothier. “Brothers in god, my friend,” said Brother Smith with a tiny twinkle in his soulless eyes.

“I’m sorry, guys, no soliciting,” Alec pointed to the freshly hung sign on his door.

“We’re not selling anything,” said Brother Newman, “just passing along the good word of our creator to those willing to listen.”

“Soliciting includes political, financial, or religious reasons. Sorry guys, you need to move along,” Alec started to close the door when it was stopped by a foot. Brother Smith pushed the door open and his grin grew wider.

“We just want to help those willing to listen find Jesus,” said a glassy-eyed Brother Smith, cocking his head awkwardly to the right.

Alec took a step backward into his house and ran into something blocking his path, he turned to see the rotund man in his living room.

“My brother-in-law has really great deals on solar panels right now,” said the rotund man opening his mouth with a disconnected grin. His tongue flopped around in his mouth as he talked.

Alec’s phone began to ring.

“You need to leave my house,” he said, “how did you even get in here?”

The little girl with pigtails emerged from behind the rotund man’s bulk, “I put you down for seventeen boxes of Sweet Chedder Doodles. I could sign you up for the limited time warranty with that.”

Alec’s phone rang.

A brunette with no eyebrows came in through the door. “Hello Alec, this is Rita, I think we got cut off on the phone earlier. We are offering luxury cruise travel at 50% off, you simply must sign up within the next hour to get the benefits of this limited time offer.”

Alec’s phone rang.

“Enhance your sexual stamina,” said Brother Newman with an awkward twist of his neck to the left.

Alec’s phone rang.

The light on Alec’s Alexa spun in blue, “Did you say you wanted to hear the newest deals on birdbaths?”

Alec’s phone rang.

A slow knock came at the sliding glass door where a balding woman in a floral dress held up a form, with each word she spoke a different part of her body twitched, “Magazines? We have Fooder’s Digestive or Independent Feminist. Delivery begins four to six weeks after signing up.”

Alec’s phone rang.

“Pickled cream patties,” the little girl’s voice cracked like radio static.

“The lord is your sunshine and savior,” Brother Smith’s teeth cracked from his tight grin.

A tall, crooked man twisted his way into Alec’s house. He was dressed in jeans and a form-fitting baby blue golfer’s polo, wearing a matching trucker’s cap with the initials N-F-T branded across the center. His legs and arms were inexplicably long and he towered over Alec. He had no face whatsoever and when he spoke it reverberated through the fissures of Alec’s skull.

“Join us Alec,” the thing said and held out his gangly twisted and twitching hand. The world grew quiet. Alec stared at the blank face as the silence grew so deep he felt like his heart had stopped. The magnitude of calm enveloped him. In his peripheral vision he saw shadows of more and more figures entering his home. The thing clasped Alec’s hand in its smooth appendage, “now is the time to invest in cryptocurrency.”

The phone fell from Alec’s grip; it twisted, and spun, and hit the floor with a muffled crack. Through the dead silence Alec heard one last ding letting him know he had one new voicemail.

THE END

psychologicalurban legendsupernaturalmonster
21

About the Creator

Amos Glade

I'm Jeff Carter; I wanted a unique & personal pen name. Writing offers an opportunity to create and heal. These stories in the bizarre, horror, and magic realism help inspire me to move forward with novel writing. Thank you for reading.

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Comments (11)

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  • Harun rashid3 months ago

    You're doing amazing work—keep it up, congratulations!

  • Oh God, this is a nightmare! It scares me to imagine what would happen if these bots took human forms. Congratulations on your Top Story!

  • KJ Aartila3 months ago

    Yuck! It does feel like that sometimes, though! Nice job!

  • Naveed 3 months ago

    You're doing amazing work—keep it up, congratulations!

  • I'm really happy to know people are enjoying this! Thank you all for the positive feedback. :)

  • Bravery TE Walker3 months ago

    Oddly relatable XD

  • JBaz3 months ago

    Brilliantly written Comically in a scary reality sort of way. The little girl freaked me out. Well done on writing this on a well deserved Too Story

  • Rachel Deeming3 months ago

    I like the dark humour through this as well as the criticism of door-to-door callers incessantly clamouring for attention. No doubt,. they can be horrifying.

  • Andrea Corwin3 months ago

    OMG this is just like my days!! No soliciting signs on door, notes left on porch or in handle, robocalls 4 x per day, blocking calls and they come again from new number, conversations create pop-ups on phone or laptop… you covered it all with great humor and horror! I laughed out loud, thanks!!

  • Raymond G. Taylor3 months ago

    Yikes! You should offer that as the next Netflix horror series. Would be tooo scary for me to watch. Great piece of writing and well done for the TS!

  • Salman siddique3 months ago

    liked it

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