Nostalgic short story: British Telecom, a phone box, and a birthday conversation with aunt Suzy

IT’S his birthday. He jumps with excitement as he hears the letterbox slam. Dash downstairs to scoop up the scattered mail on the hallway floor. Rip-open the envelopes at relentless speed and read the messages in the birthday cards. He instantly recognises the writing on the envelope of this particular card – Aunt Suzy. He grins with delight whilst ripping open the envelope to reveal not only a birthday card, but a rather generous cheque received from his favourite aunt.

How does he thank Aunt Suzy? Flowers? Chocolates? After a few minutes of deliberation, the answer is clear: no need to splash out on flowers or chocolates – it’s good to talk and Aunt Suzy would love to hear his voice. The answer is to give her a call and show his appreciation. The phone box is only a short stroll down the street.

Once at the phonebox, he swings open the door and pulls out a note with Aunt Suzy’s phone number from his back pocket. The dial tone is healthy as he dials her number.

‘Hello?’ Before he has a chance to respond to Aunt Suzy’s greeting, a annoying series of beeps belt through the receiver – totally forgot about getting the coins ready to make the call. He frantically twists and shakes with one hand down the front pocket of his trousers trying to dig out the loose coins. Eventually, he manages to dig out a 10p coin and slides it into the pay slot.

Hello it’s me.  How are you?

Hello my lovely. I can’t grumble. How are you? Are you having a nice day? Happy birthday my love.

Thank you Aunt Suzy – I’m having a great day thanks –  thanks for the card and cheque.

You’re welcome my love. How you getting on with Sandra? She’s a lovely girl.

Ohh you mean Sonia? We broke up a last year – things just weren’t working out.

That’s a shame my love, Sandra was such a nice girl, I could tell she came from a decent home and was brought up with good manners. Not to worry, there’s plenty more fish in the sea. What you having for dinner? We’re having a nice piece of steak from Marks – Jeff loves a nice piece of steak with not too much fat on it. He’s out cutting the grass at the moment so he’ll be ready for a good feed afterwards. Any chance you can get back with Sandra?

Sonia! No Aunt Suzy … No chance!

That’s a real shame. I had a friend at school called Sandra – she was such a good friend but always had a stream of snot coming out her nose. It was lucky that I always carried a hankie.

Those annoying beeps kick in and the call ends abruptly. He walks away with his heart beating twice as fast than when he first stepped into the tall red box. He giggles to himself whilst thinking about the randomness of Aunt Suzy. Just a quick simple call as made her day and provided her with enough gossip to last a few hours.

The End

British Telecom is featured in the retro hardback book, Section N Underpass – reminisce on adverts, leisure and entertainment from the 70s and 80s. Get the rundown by clicking the front cover below:

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