John Helmer: Triggered

April 5, 2018

The kitchen phone rings and I pluck the handset from its cradle.




“Hello. I’ve been informed that you were recently in an accident—”


“Well I’m afraid you’ve been misinformed. I was not recently in an accident. Who told you this outrageous lie?”


My wife, passing through the kitchen, rolls her eyes.


“Just give me their names and I’ll hunt them down and slay them like dogs—”




Nobody calls us on this telephone anymore. People we actually want to talk to use our mobile numbers, or message us on Facebook, WhatsApp or whatever. Nobody uses the landline except these sad fantasists chasing non-existent ambulances.


“Stop tormenting them,” says Kate.


“They’re fair game,” I retort. “I never asked them to ring me up and tell me about accidents I haven’t been in.”


The phone rings.


“Hello, I’m informed you have recently been in an accident—”


“Wow! Your timing is bang on: I’ve been suffering from chronic amnesia and the last six months are a total blank. This is the first clue I’ve had - you’re a godsend! Tell me all about it and together we can reconstruct the missing—” [read more]


Illustration by Chris Riddell


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