Every call you take, every call you make

“The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled late Monday that the National Security Agency may temporarily resume its once-secret program that systematically collects records of Americans’ domestic phone calls in bulk.” – New York Times, June 30, 2015

*dials the nsa’s number*

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Our motto: “I’m listening.”
“Hello, National Security Agency? Rhiannon Paine here. Is it true that you’re systematically collecting records of domestic phone calls again?”

“I can’t possibly comment on – ”

“Because I think I might have told Fiona – my sister-in-law, right? – something my friend Jackson told me, only it was meant to be confidential, and Fiona is such a gossip – well, I don’t have to tell you – and I’m afraid she’s passing it on. In which case Jackson will be furious. Erectile dysfunction isn’t an ailment that inspires confidence in a high school football coach.”

“I can’t tell you anything about your sister-in-law’s phone calls, Ms. Paine.”

“Fair enough, but what about mine? Last Tuesday, about two in the afternoon. Her number is – well, duh, of course you know it.”

“I’m really not authorized – ”

“Well, I’m authorizing you, aren’t I? It was my phone call.”

“Ms. Paine, if the NSA were collecting records of domestic phone calls, and this is not an acknowledgement that we are, national security would require strict silence on the subject.”

File:Seattle Chicken Coop and 2 Hens.jpg
Chickens de-cooped.
“Look, that chicken has flown the coop. That sheep has left the pen. That cat has quit the litter box. A ‘once-secret program,’ the New York Times calls it. If the New York Times is that forthcoming, I don’t see why you can’t be just a little bit chatty.”

“Oh, all right. Last Tuesday, you said?”

“About two o’clock.”

“I’ll just put you on hold while I check … Ms. Paine?”

“Still here. Can I make a suggestion? For your on-hold music, you guys might want to reconsider ‘Every Breath You Take’ by the Police.”

“Hmm. How about ‘I Can See for Miles’ by the Who?”

“No. How about ‘Call Me Maybe’?”

“Yes, better. Or we could use ‘Don’t Hang Up’.”

“Or ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’.”

“I’ll suggest them. Now, about your phone call. Erectile dysfunction isn’t mentioned, but you did say that Jackson ‘needs more thump in his pump.’”

“Did I get any more explicit?”

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Moose with plenty of juice.
“Let me see … ‘too much spackle in his tackle’ and ‘no juice for his moose.’ You know, when you express yourself in metaphor like that, it makes things a lot harder for us.”

“Well, but I’m a writer. Is that it?”


“So with luck, Fiona’s telling her friends that Jackson’s sump pump isn’t working, one of his players is over-involved in a home-improvement project, and he’s run out of food for his pet ungulate.”

“I can’t possibly comment on that.”

“Understood. Well, thank you, you’ve been very helpful.”

“Please don’t tell anyone.”

“I won’t.”

“We’ll know if you do.”


“No comment.”

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