The Talking Monkeys: TeleMarketers

TeleMarketers

Frederick w/headset

This may be a good point to call attention to several ideas worth noting. Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Orangutans, and Gorillas are not monkeys. The fact that they cannot vocalize their displeasure over this common misparlance does not diminish the vehemence of their umbrage in being categorically misassociated with such lesser primates. Although racism or even breed prejudice is a regrettably common and repugnant offense in both the animal and human species, I feel less inclined to begrudge our hairier cousins for their misdeeds than I do Man(un)kind. Racism is a fact that cannot be ignored, for in our ignorance we have done terrible injustices to ourselves, as well as our victims, but trying to pretend to be oblivious to differences in race out of political correctness deprives us all of the benefit of insight and humor in seeing ourselves as both unique and yet the same.

Charles was a team leader for The Chimp Project, although his supervisors told him it was called the Qualifier/Closer Feeder Project, which in itself was a misnomer insofar as both Chimpanzees, as well as Bonobos were used in the project which included a mixed-breed Chimnobo, (as he was originally dubbed), who quickly pointed out that he preferred to be known as a Bonanzee, because he liked the association with both Bonzai  and Bonanza. His name was Frederick, and the “trainers” who were trying to ascertain just how far his linguistic abilities could be developed in the absence of vocalization were reportedly getting taught a lesson or two themselves, once they “discovered”  Frederick’s uncanny ability to communicate telepathically. In truth, it was more of a matter of Frederick being able to finally break through the researchers’ oblivion and bias.

None of those results, tests, or findings were brought to the attention of Management because, first of all, it was never authorized, and secondly, the researchers involved did not want to expose themselves to ridicule or disdain from the scientific community. But it was certainly an incredible serendipity for those involved who actually experienced it, and it was Frederick who had coined the term Talking Monkeys to describe not only the Humans involved in the project, but also the Project itself.

Charles had become privy to all of this because of his conversations with Mark and Darcy, the Trainer and Handler who attended numerous events at The Home for Wayward Souls, which most members called The Sanctuary  (which was actually the amphitheater where most of the services were held, or performed, if you will). They had only coincidental contact at PharmaCorp, but became friends at their place of “worship”. Mark once said “We worship Life…God can take care of himself…but Life needs Nurturance.” Ash later heard of the remark, and was so impressed that he worked it into an entire sermon.

As mentioned before, Charles had become a TeleMarketer out of regrettable circumstance rather than a plethora of more desirable choices. Charles’ skills and experiences were wide and far-reaching, but when he found himself both grounded and shipwrecked by his previous career occupations, he eventually washed up on the shore of The Island of Lost Souls…Telemarketing.  Frederick was Charles’ link to the outside world of potential customers, or Leads who were qualified by Frederick to eliminate the members who were either not interested in signing up for PharmaCorp’s services, and would be channeled off to another department, like Customer Services, or who could be delayed with prerecorded messages until Charles or another secondary feed could be assigned to a Hot Lead with marketing potential.

Charles had two cousins that were hearing impaired, and had taken the time to learn American Sign Language well enough to communicate with emergency patients he encountered as a municipal Paramedic. It was a delightful coincidence of circumstances that Charles got to meet (and communicate) with Frederick through Mark and Darcy, because not only did they work out of two physically separate facilities, but Charles, as well as the other participants in the “Feeder Project” were never even informed that their qualifiers were not human. Mark and Darcy had sworn Charles to secrecy about the facts of the project because it had been made very clear to them that any leaks about anything associated with The Chimp Project would have dire consequences for all those involved. The so-called “Talking Monkeys” project was in fact a small part of a very convoluted series of experiments with far-reaching future implications, depending on the results of these initial findings. As omnipresent as PharmaCorp was in both the business community and everyday lives of millions of people, they were small potatoes to the real movers and shakers who were quietly monitoring those results from a very safe and remote distance…at least for now.

Telemarketing has become yet another lint-trap or catch basin for both Angels who fell far from grace from very high distances to knuckle-draggers who barely stand upright. Sometimes it only takes one misstep to go from a six-figure salary to homelessness, and Charles had done it more times than he could count. He was just grateful that it hadn’t had to come to this until fairly late in his life. For now, telemarketing would almost pay his basic bills with few frills, indulgences or perks. And also for right now, The Home for Wayward Souls had shown him a way to achieve a type of fulfillment that no career could offer. He sought involvement with other people of like mind. Now it was beginning to look like there were some very interesting overlaps or apparent coincidences and circumstances that seemed to be drawing themselves together of their own volition.

From soccer moms to strippers and aged semi-respectable crack whores, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, automobile salesmen, yacht brokers to marine mechanics, electronics technicians, construction workers, waitresses with masters’ degrees and heterosexual waiters, overeducated shitheads who don’t appear to be capable of tying their own shoes, chefs and short-order cooks,  bartenders, middle-aged widows and divorcées, bright young kids who are trying to work through college and college professors who broke the wrong rules, senior citizens who couldn’t or didn’t want to have to live off just Medicare and Social Security, nouveau riche Aristocrats who hit the skids, anybody with enough skeletons in their closets to fill a neighborhood graveyard, but not enough to involve time in a federal penitentiary, (unless they are involved in the Witness Protection Program), African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Arabs, East, West and American Indians, and Carribeans of every stripe and stature, Caucasians with no imagination, focus, direction or purpose who just fell down the rabbit-hole,  all trying to get ahead, or get by until something better comes along, if there is a call center in your neighborhood, this is where they will land eventually, if they fall far enough. When the economy tanked, the pickings were never so good.

Then there are the infirm, the disabled, and the marginal who come to the call centers. Morbidly obese diabetics, chronic lungers, and the psychologically infirm, wheelchair-bound paraplegics and amputees, they roll, limp on crutches or half-crawl into work, dragging their oxygen and insulated containers for their insulin with them, or people just nuttier than squirrel shit that couldn’t possibly hold a job anywhere. Where else? A yard-and-a-half of ass hanging over both sides of the seats of their electric carts with nasal cannulas drooping over their upper lips like Frito-Bandito mustaches, they all have a workplace to call home, special parking and handicapped-friendly access to every corner of the building. “Give me your Tired, your Poor, your Huddled Masses yearning to breathe free; send these, the Tempest-tossed to Me…we’ll leave the light on.”

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