Mrs. Kurtz, fit the seventh.

"What seems to be the problem?"

"The problem seems to be that you're an ass. My cable modem is broken."

"Broken how?"

"How the hell should I know?"

"M'am, I can't help you if you don't tell me what the problem is."

"Bullshit. Send a repairman. I've wasted enough damn time on this phone call. Unlike some people, I don't get paid to chat."

"M'am, I'm going to have to put you on-- "

"Just give me your manager."

"Uh, m'am--"

"Now." She'd made that most sacred of demands. Back when she was in customer service, she would have-- "No voice mail. No messages that fall behind the monitor. No dropping the call. I know you punks. Get me your manager. Right...now."

"Hold, please."

He must have pressed the wrong button, because she could hear him clear his throat.

"Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me," he said. With each repetition, his voice slid higher. The phone clicked.

"Excuse me, are you Mrs. Emmaline Kurtz? My name is Bethany Tjeerdsma-Brunswick."

"You're the manager?" If she'd known the word, Mrs. Kurtz would have described herself as incredulous.

"Yes. There is some problem? How may I help you?"

Mrs. Kurtz inhaled.