The Telemarketer Monologue This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 15, 2011
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TELEMARKETER. Consults manual, dials number, waits, hands folded on desk. Phone rings on the other line four times before someone picks up. Reading from a large billboard wall opposite.

Good afternoon, sir slash ma'am. (Two second pause) Damn it.

Dial tone. He repeats the consulting/dialing process. Phone rings on other line.

Good afternoon, um … sir?

Dial tone. Repeats process. Phone rings.

Good afternoon … ma'am. I am calling from the (Squints at billboard) Zenith of Living (Makes a face: what the hell?) Time Share-

Dial tone. Repeats process, a little faster this time.

Good afternoon, ma'am. I am calling from the Zenith of Living Time Share Company. Could I interest you in-

Dial tone. Glances at manual, dials number, drums ­fingers on desk.


Dial tone. Shoves manual aside, dials a random number quite violently. Waits, breathing hard.

HI. My name is JONATHAN. Yes. Pleased to meet you, too. Thank you for acknowledging the fact that I actually have a NAME and possibly a soul. Technically, I am calling from some stupid company called the Zenith of Living, which only has that name because the idiots who created this ridiculous institution for the hopelessly jobless thought they would be sued by Looney Tunes if they used the name Acme. Yes, they DO mean the same thing; zenith and acme are both defined by Webster's Dictionary as “the highest point or stage that represents perfection of the thing expressed.” I've never forgotten those synonyms, you know why? Because contrary to what you might believe, I actually completed high school and went to college, except there's not much out there for a psychology major, and I'm now being professionally ignored for a living.

(Pause. Matter-of-factly) I hate this job … Every day, exactly 14 people tell me to go to hell over this damn phone and everyone else hangs up. It doesn't even occur to them that I'm already in hell, and it just happens to be called the freakin' Zenith of Living! No no no, actually, you know what, I've been to hell three times already: junior high, high school, and state university. Three circles right there, baby. Let's see how many you've been through, huh? Oh, yeah, I know Dante, too.

Look, I peaked in elementary school. I was the one male kid who had neat handwriting and good spelling and perfect manners, and I wasn't afraid to dance with ANY girl, even the one who never washed her hair. Everyone loved me back then, you know? Teachers were always real proud when I was in their class, and parents were always ruffling their hands through my especially wavy hair.

And then I get to junior high and suddenly I'm nobody – no one even cared about the hair anymore! It's like the minute I grew up, I entered hell. I was still a good kid, you know, it's just there were like 500 other equally good kids from 500 other elementary schools. The somebodies were never good kids, they were the ones who did drugs or dated people even though they didn't have a clue what they were doing, or they were the crazy geniuses who won the National Science-thing when they were 13. But if you're just a good kid, you can't be either of those. You just … lived, and that was it.

I don't know. Maybe, maybe this entire planet is hell for the five billion good-but-mediocre kids. The bad ones kill each other or OD or whatever and leave early, and the geniuses become our bosses and make us feel inferior and powerless by naming their companies the Zenith of Living. Yeah! That's it. We get torturous jobs like this one where people who get paid 20 times as much as we do taunt us by telling us to go to hell! But, see, WE'RE ALREADY THERE! Ha-HA! I get it. I'm onto the plan, now … Whatever that changes.

(Long pause. He's done venting.) So, um, Miss … Susan, if you get this message on your, um, answering machine, PLEASE don't report me to my boss and don't tell him what I said about this job being, you know, hell. (Laughs nervously) And, uh, don't call the police, either, PLEASE, because, like, you know my full name now and stuff.

S--t. No, SORRY, sorry, didn't mean that, taking that back, um … BYE, Susan, bye-eee.

He disconnects and lets the dial tone run for a while as he slowly hangs up. He sits back slowly, exhales. Looks at billboard, reaches for the manual, and begins to dial. Lights go down.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

Paigeb7277 said...
Sept. 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm
Loved this. I'm using it to audition for my schools next play. Thanks!
Wordgasm said...
May 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm

haha, loved this :)


Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 18, 2011 at 6:05 pm

That was great. :)

I think I'll be a little politer to the next telemarketer that calls...

bieberl0ve15 replied...
May 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm
haha me too :)
NicaTooSavage replied...
May 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm
this is boring .... write something new 
bieberl0ve15 replied...
May 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm
? what....
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