On Ghosting from the Plan

Chimney cleaners are coming. They're scheduled to arrive within a three-hour window.

Tonight I will watch a handful of films. It's been planned that the tickets have been set aside with my name on them.

The first hour of the appointment window comes to pass with no arrival of any chimney cleaners.

The second hour of the appointment window comes to pass with still no arrival of any chimney cleaners. 

And then I find a dead body. 

I am not sure what to do. 

The chimney cleaners call. Can we reschedule?

I think about the films with my tickets. Can we reschedule? 

Upstairs there is still a dead body. 

"That's fine," I say. 

The chimney cleaners are now scheduled to come later when I will not be at my evening plans. 

I don't know how to say the body is dead. 

"Don't you think we should tell?" he asks me when I call for help.

"No," I say. 

"Can you check if he's cold?"

He's not, but his body is stiff.

"And what about the chimney cleaners?" I ask. 

"Call them and reschedule." 

I get a voice-mailbox that sounds like a girls' slumber party. You've reached the chimney cleaners, a young woman says half-laughing. The company has a name and even she does not use it. We're not here right now but leave a message and we'll call you back. 

I leave a message to reschedule.

I don't yet cancel my evening plans. I don't yet release my tickets. 

"I think we should tell," he says when I call him back.

"I don't think we should," I say. 

"I have to jump but call me back in thirty minutes."

I redial.

You've reached the chimney cleaners.

I close the door to the room with the dead body. 

I dial again. 

We're not here right now. 

I call him back. 

"I'm going to make this a conference call, but I can do the talking," he says. 


There is crying. 

And what about the chimney cleaners? 

"Reschedule," he says when we are private off the conference. 

I redial.

Leave a message and we'll call you back. 

I let go of my tickets. 

The chimney cleaners neither show up nor call back. 

I decide to tell more people about the dead body. I am advised not to tell certain people about the dead body.

It is Thursday and I have to change my weekend plans.