Many, many miles and even more years ago, before the Wildcats came to Mossflower, a much younger and far more innocent (and much prettier) me was working in a call center.
After barely three hours sleep, I stumbled in to the office, logged in to my computer and opened the phone lines.
Almost immediately the phone rang.
I stared, it was 0630, who the hell buys toy soldiers at 0630???
but, sleep deprived little me, answered the call and, in that automatic, bright cheery voice we all loathe from the blackened tattered rags of our call center-poisoned-soul I said
“>company redacted< mail order, someenglishguy speaking, how may I help you"
There was silence.
I could hear breathing.
And then this very sweet sounding lady said …
“Are .. Are you real?”
And guys, I flat didn’t know.
My poor little sleep deprived brain just gave me a 404.
In that moment, for a second that felt like it lasted a thousand years everything froze because I. Did. Not. Know.
Am I real? Is this a simulation? Am I a robot? A clone?
Am I a weasel having a nightmare about being a call center employee?
Time restarted and I said.
“I … I think so?”
and the lady laughed and explained that because I sounded so bright and chipper she thought I was a recording but I gave a name so it confused her.
Rest of the call was lovely, she just wanted some soldiers for her son.
But that moment has stayed with me through all of the intervening years.