Short Story: “Your call is important to us”.

“Your call is important to us.”

A multi-millionaire CEO wakes up inside a glass box.

He woke up on the floor of what seemed to be some sort of reinforced glass box in the middle of an otherwise empty warehouse. He was still in the expensive suit he had been wearing in the restaurant, and recalled washing his hands in the bathroom just before feeling a needle in the back and then blackness.

Someone had loosened his tie, but left him unmolested. His wallet was there, but his keys and his phone were gone. This was obviously, he thought to himself, some form of kidnapping. Hardly surprising given who he was.

He pressed against the glass. He knew something about armoured materials. His panic room at home was made of them. The glass was solid, thick but clear with a slight green tinge and held in place with a heavy metal frame. Any attempt to break the glass would break his foot faster than the glass.

The whitewashed wall of the warehouse was bare on all four sides.

No, wait, it wasn’t. On the wall nearest the box, in large clear black letters, was an address. It even had an Eircode number. Above it, in equally large letters it said “You are here.”

Was this a joke? Some sort of trick? Some sort of mind game?

He then noticed some sort of device attached to the glass on the outside. It was a vent, with a digital display, and it said “Minutes of oxygen left”.

That made his chest tighten, because it suggested that the box was airtight. He looked around, and it did look sealed. The vent was outside holes cut into the glass. 

He then noticed there was also a smart phone attached to the outside of the box. There were a number of holes cut into the glass which allowed his finger to reach the green dial button on the phone.

He hesitated. Was it some kind of trap? A bomb? Not that he could see any other option.

He took a breath and pressed the button.

The phone lit up.

A number flashed on the screen.

He knew that number. Of course he did. It was the customer service number of the company he was chief executive of.

“You’re through to TryinAer. For customer service, press one. For reservations, press two.”

The digital display beeped and came to life, as did a noise from the vent. It was sucking out air, and the display started counting down from thirty minutes.

“No!” he cried, and tried to block the vent with his two hands, but the vent was just slightly two big and he could hear the air sucking. It was like the vent had been designed to be just slightly too big.

“You’re through to TryinAer. For Customer Service, press one. For reservations, press two.”  

He looked at the display counting down, and then abandoned the vent and went to the phone. He pressed one.

“Thank you for calling TryinAer customer service. Your call is important to us. To deal with an existing flight, press one. To deal with a new flight, press two. For other queries press three.”

He pressed three.

“You can resolve many of your queries by trying the TryinAer website at or waiting online to speak to a customer service agent. To speak to a customer service agent press one.”

He pressed one.

The display was now at 22 minutes.

“Thank you for selecting customer service agent. Did you know that you can find details on frequent customers queries on You’re currently 37 in the queue.”

“What? Answer the fucking phone!” he shouted at the phone.

The clock was now at 19 minutes.

He tried to block the vent again, this time with the silk lining in his jacket.

“Thank you for calling TryinAir. Your call is important to us. You are number 29 in the queue.”

16 minutes.

“Did you know that you can find details….”

“Yes, yes, I fucking know! I fucking know!” he shouted at the phone, then stopped.

Did he just see?

He stared at the digital clock. 

Did it just speed up when he spoke?

“Hello?” he asked, and the clock jumped forward three seconds.

“Jesus fucking Christ!” he exclaimed, knocking ten seconds off the clock. 

 “Thank you for calling TryinAir. Your call is important to us. You are number 20 in the queue.”

 The phone then beeped.

He looked at it. 

A low battery warning.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” he screamed, before slapping his hand over his mouth as another 15 seconds vanished. 

“Did you know that you can find details…”

He was finding the air getting heavy, and sat down in the corner. Remain calm, say nothing, preserve as much oxygen as possible. 

 “Thank you for calling TryinAir. Your call is important to us. You are number 9 in the queue.”

He closed his eyes.

The phone beeped again. The battery warning again.

“Hello, you’re through to TryinAir customer service. Jackie speaking. Can I have your booking reference please?”

He jumped up.

“Jackie, thank God. Jackie, this is Trevor O’Reilly. I need you to call the guards and give them the following address, and probably put a trace on this call too just in case it’s false.”

“Can I have your booking reference number please?”

“This is Trevor O’Reilly, I’m your boss, I need you to listen.”

Eight minutes.

“Mr O’Reilly, my boss is Josh. Now, if you give me your booking reference…”

“Are you stupid? This is Trevor O’Reilly!”

“Sir, I’ll thank you not to take that abusive tone with me. TryinAir does not tolerate…”

“Shut up! Shut up! Just listen!”

“Sir, Mr O’Reilly himself told us in a video to never believe all the people who ring us daily pretending to be him. To be honest, I can’t imagine what kick you get from it! We have a clear TryinAir procedure to follow and if I don’t I lose my bonus for wasting the company’s valuable time.You have a Tryin Day. Good bye.”

“No wait!”

The phone clicked dead, just as the digital countdown reached zero.

He was now gulping trying to breed, and felt the darkness closing in around him.

The door clicked, hissed, and swung open.

A rush of cold fresh air pumped in through the vent.

He felt the blackness fall away as the clean air filled his lungs. 

Just outside the door, a mobile phone, his mobile phone, was vibrating with hundreds of Twitter and message alerts. As he caught his breath it was only then he noticed the tiny digital camera in the ceiling of the box. 

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