Tuesday, 21 October 2008

21st October 2008

It has been two weeks since I left the message for Vicky at the book shop. My number is probably still wallowing in a pile of leaflets and flyers of new book launches etc. Who knows, wouldn’t it be a bit weird if someone got hold of my number and, well rang it? A reverse discarded number.

So all in all, I was waiting for Natasha to get her job before I got on to the next numbers. I decided yesterday that I could wait no longer, and I started to phone the next numbers on the piece of paper that flew through my door in the book shop.

I phoned the first number on the piece of paper.

Me: Hello is that Mrs Riches?

Mrs Riches: Yes

Me: Hello, well I am writing a book about discarded phone numbers, and I found your number.

Mrs Riches: Yes, and?

Me: Well, I wondered if there was anything you were still waiting for.

Mrs Riches: No.

Me: Ok, I’ll destroy your number, so that no one else can get hold of it.

Mrs Riches: Ok, thank you.


I was reminded of Millennium evening in London. We were standing on the banks of the River Thames waiting for the most spectacular fireworks display ever. There was to be a river of fire. A friend of mine, Big Jim, was being crushed by the thousands of people rushing to get to the river. With millions of pounds worth of fireworks going off behind him, the River virtually ablaze, Jim turned round and pronounced:

“Move back, there is nothing to see here!”

But there was nothing in the first number.

The second number went along exactly the same lines. I assured Mrs Baron I would destroy her number and that would be the end of it. There is nothing to see here.

I then received a phone call.

It was Mrs Riches.

Mrs Riches: Hello you phoned me just a minute ago. Who are you?

Me: My name is Ian. As I said, I am writing a book about discarded numbers, and yours is one of them.

Mrs Riches: It all sounds a bit odd to me.

Me: Don’t worry, I will destroy the piece of paper that your number was on, please be assured there is nothing untoward going on.

Mrs Riches: Well as long as you destroy the piece of paper…

Me: I will.

And so I phoned the next number.

It turns out it was a local estate agent. Written next to the number were the words snooker shop. I asked them whether they knew anything about a snooker shop. Apparently they are still trying to rent the shop out, and so I asked them to forward the details to me.

All seemed pretty uneventful.

I was driving home from the book shop.

I received a call on my mobile.

Person: Hello is that Ian Carpenter?

Me: Yes.

Person: Hello, this is Southend Police Station, you called a Mrs Riches earlier, can you tell me why?