OPERATOR: Hello, what is your emergency, please?
CALLER: Help! I live in a quiet English village where nothing ever happens.
OPERATOR: What is your emergency, please?
CALLER: You don’t understand. I live in a village that is nestled in the English countryside — a sleepy English village with a close-knit community. The kind of place where nobody locks their doors, and everybody knows everybody.
OPERATOR: Is it—
CALLER: Peaceful? Oh, yes. And quaint.
CALLER: So rural! And everyone smiles at everyone.
OPERATOR: Is there a Women’s Institute?
OPERATOR: Oh my god.
CALLER: Exactly. It’s the last place you’d ever expect something terrible, awful, and homicidal to happen.
OPERATOR: Sir, I need you to stay calm. I’m going to play some relaxing yet melancholy ambient piano music while you give me your details. Do you own a dog?
CALLER: No. Why?
OPERATOR: That’s too bad. It’s nearly always a dog walker that finds the body. If you have a dog, you’re less likely to be the body. But since you don’t have a dog…
CALLER: Should I get a dog?
OPERATOR: Sir, remain calm. I need you to stay inside and lock all of your windows and doors.
CALLER: Are the police on their way?
OPERATOR: No, I’m sending a documentary crew.
CALLER: Is that from the program that’s hosted by that woman on Coronation Street?
OPERATOR: No, sir. It’s one of the other ones.
CALLER: That’s too bad. I really wanted to meet her.
OPERATOR: You wouldn’t be meeting her even if she were coming to your village, sir, as you’ll have been murdered.
CALLER: Oh, right. I forgot. Is there anything else I can do?
OPERATOR: Well, it would be helpful if you could find a few good photos of yourself and leave them on the kitchen table. The documentary people like to have several pictures of the victim to work with. It saves them having to keep cutting back to the same blurred photograph between interviews with the villagers about your murder.
CALLER: Do I have time to get some headshots?
OPERATOR: Look out your window, sir. What do you see?
CALLER: It’s an ordinary day, just like any other day.
OPERATOR: That’s when all murders in quiet English villages happen, sir.
CALLER: Isn’t there something I can do?
OPERATOR: You can give me some information about yourself.
CALLER: Will that help the police stop the murderer from killing me?
OPERATOR: No, but it will help the documentary crew stretch out the episode about your murder to an hour. First, is your spouse having an affair?
CALLER: I’m not married.
CALLER: Is that a problem? I thought that was a good thing. Isn’t it usually the spouse who commits the murder, or the person the spouse is having the affair with?
OPERATOR: Well, I suppose that is two fewer potential people who’d want you dead, but it’s just that the documentary people generally like to interview the spouse of the victim. It engages viewer sympathy. “Here is someone who was brutally murdered” (that would be you), “but he must have been a good person on some level because someone married him.” But as no one’s ever wanted to marry you, it makes your death seem less consequential.
CALLER: It’s consequential to me!
OPERATOR: It won’t be, sir. You’ll be dead. Remember? Is there anything nice I can tell the documentary crew about you? Despite the fact that you are not married, are you a well-loved member of your community?
CALLER: Well, I wouldn’t go that far. Not “loved” exactly.
OPERATOR: Do you volunteer for a charity?
OPERATOR: Oh. Then I suppose your death will leave the entire village reeling, not so much because you were a well-loved member of the community, but because your death was so violent.
CALLER: How violent is it going to be?
OPERATOR: Do you have any enemies?
CALLER: None that I know of.
OPERATOR: You’ll probably be killed by a rando then. They’re usually pretty violent.
CALLER: Will my death be less violent if I volunteer for charity?
OPERATOR: I’m not here to answer your hypothetical questions, sir. I’m here to collect your information. The documentary crew will need to interview your friends. If you could just give me a list of names.
CALLER: I don’t have any friends.
OPERATOR: You what? No friends?
CALLER: I have some acquaintances, but mainly I keep myself to myself.
OPERATOR: You’re not married and you have no friends? Hmm. Well, would you describe yourself as a quiet man?
OPERATOR: So, you’d be the last person anyone would expect to commit a heinous murder in cold blood in broad daylight in a sleepy English village.
OPERATOR: How dare you, sir? How dare you murder an innocent, decently married charity-volunteering person in your own village?
CALLER: I haven’t murdered anyone!
OPERATOR: Not yet.
CALLER: I have no intention of murdering anyone.
OPERATOR: You would say that, but we both know you’ve been repressing your rage for years, bottling it up until you snap, like a hangry Yorkshire Terrier. Just one thing, sir: if you have any photographs of a nefarious nature or a collection of exotic lizards or anything like that in your house, just leave them on the kitchen table so the documentary crew doesn’t have to comb through your house looking for them. This makes it easier for them to portray you as the sicko that you are.
CALLER: I’m not a sicko.
OPERATOR: They all say that. It’s so predictable. And do me a favor: when the police bring you in for questioning, sit up straight. It absolutely gets on my tits when I’m watching recorded footage of an interrogation and the suspect slouches in the interrogation room. There’s just no excuse for it.
CALLER: I am not a murderer!
OPERATOR: You disgust me.