Telephone Operator Romance | Zachary Lussier

It was not originally apparent to the girl how much he loved the telephone. She should have been skeptical when he insisted the telephone come to bed with them the first time he made love to her. Now, thinking back on it, he was probably on the telephone the whole time in his mind. Putting his lips up to it and talking into it, imagining his words coming out of a similar machine a thousand miles way. Imagining this while he fucked her, and called it “making love.” It was more like a pleasant conversation through wires. How are you doing? Fine.Their foreplay had been like dialing a phone. One of those rotary dial phones. He would place his fingers along her spine, or on her breasts, or her face. And it was like he was dialing a complicated phone number he had written down somewhere and couldn’t quite remember. And his own stubbornness made him refuse to try and find the piece of paper he had written it down on, even though it would be faster than dialing the wrong number a thousand times. She had never realized it, but it was true. That this is how it was each time. And the dial would spin back into place, and he would finally think he got it right and she would pick up and say: Hello?

And then he would go down on her. And the way he did this was just like how one talks into a phone. But it came across as silence from his end and she would ask again into the abyss of the receiver she was holding, which she didn’t even realize she was holding: Hello? And when there was no answer this time, she would hang up and remember she was making love, and forget the dream of having a phone conversation; the dream he had constructed around them like a telephone booth.

So, he would dial again by reaching for her breasts. She would feel his hands there and the dream would begin again. This time, when she said “Hello?” there was a reply. Another “Hello?”

“How are you?”
“That’s good,” expecting to be asked how he was doing.
“What’s up?”
“Nothing,” entering her vagina.

Then the conversation became officially awkward, and the fact that he was inside of her was like the elephant in the room, which is not how sex should ever be. But still, it carried on like an awkward silence over the phone, which we have all felt before at some time in our long and distant lives. If only she had realized it sooner!

All those times he called her couldn’t have been anything more than a reason for him to use the telephone. “Hello?”

“It’s me.”
“Oh, hi.”
“How are you?”
“Only fine?”
“Do you want to do something with me?”
“What do you want to do?”
“I don’t care.”
“Oh.” He came.

That’s why she had to get out of it. The telephone was always ringing in their relationship and he was always there to pounce on it. He loved the telephone more than he could ever love her. She knew it, he knew it, the telephone company probably knew it! She couldn’t take it anymore. She picked up the telephone and, with a passion she had never before conjured in the span of their relationship, threw it across the room at him.


Zachary Lussier attended the Jack Kerouc School for Disembodied Poetics. He currently occupies his time by traveling and writing. This is his first publication.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.