I was enjoying an after-work cocktail in the den when my houseboy burst into the room. He made the usual hissing and spitting sounds that pass for language amongst his people, waving crazily at the phone on my desk.
“What?” I said. “What are you trying to say, Kang?”
He hissed and spit again, still pointing at the phone.
“What, a phone call?”
He nodded furiously. I sent him away by throwing a piece of chocolate into the hallway, and picked up the receiver.
“Yeah,” I said into the phone. “This is Oz.”
“Hi, Mr. Carver?” said an unfamiliar voice on the other end.
“Mmmaybe… Who’s this?”
“This is Tina! How are you tonight?”
“Oh, that’s not important,” she said. “What is important are children… especially children with leprosy. Don’t you agree?”
“With the fact that children with leprosy are important.”
“Oh. I don’t know about that.”
“Well, let me ask you this. Do you know any children with leprosy, Mr. Carver?”
“Certainly not; we don’t allow poor people in my neighborhood. That middle class family is bad enough.”
“That’s great! That means you’re in a position to make a generous donation to the Children With Leprosy Foundation!”
“I — the what? Alright, who put you up to this?”
“Up to what, helping children with leprosy? That would be our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
“Oh brother,” I said. “Listen toots, the only way you’re getting a donation out of me is if you come down here and earn it with a world-class rim job. And don’t even think about sending this Jesus fellow to take your place.”
Naturally, she hung up. I set the phone down and strolled out of the den with a riding crop in my hand. Walking into the living room, I found Kang sprawled on the sofa, eating cheese doodles and watching television.
“Idiot!” I shouted, whacking him on the head with the crop. “How many times have I told you: screen out the telemarketers!”
Kang hissed and spit as he covered his head, then scurried off to his cot in the laundry room. What a pansy. He’ll need to toughen up if he wants to make it in this country, that’s for sure.