A short story: Name Droppers by Robert Glancy

Exclusively for The Independent on Sunday, Robert Glancy creates a new short story and a world in which not a single word is wasted

Suit: Here it is.

Suit puts a radio on the table.

Creative 1: Let me guess. Another sodding iPhone.

Creative 2: But, no, wait! This iPhone is yellow and smells of butter. Wow!

Creative 1: Pretty sure radio has already been invented.

Suit switches radio on. It plays Creative 1 saying: Pretty sure radio has already been invented.

Creative 1: But wait! It records too! Ground breaking stuff, Suit!

Suit turns dial. Radio plays Creative 1 saying: The agency is utter bollocks. I should be writing my film script not drafting lame copy for shitty nappies.

Creative 1: Hang on! I said that at home, yesterday, to my wife, in private. You bugged my home! I’ll sue this agency for breach of rights, my human rights and .…

Suit: Pipe down. We didn’t bug you. Now: you ready to hear something incredible?

Creative 2: What? That you’re a moron. I think we’ve already established that.

Suit: This little invention here can tune into anything anyone has ever said.

Creative 1: What bollocks!

Suit: It’s a big idea I know. So wrap your heads around this. There was a scientist called Babbage who said the air itself is one vast library, on whose pages are forever written all that man has ever said or woman whispered.

Creative 1: Very poetic. But so what?

Suit: Well, this little puppy can read all of those pages; everything everyone said from the dawn of time vibrating outward and onward like rings on an infinite pond.

Creative 1: Bullshit!

Suit: Some proof is required I see. OK. So why don’t we listen to some of your past?

Suit turns dial. Radio plays Creative 1 talking in a high-pitched voice: I really love this girl, mum, I do, I do. Samantha is the sun, the moon and sky, but she won’t even go out with me. I’m lovable aren’t I? You love me don’t you mummy?

Creative 1: What! No! That’s impossible. How the hell did you do that! That was when I was, like, twelve or something.

Suit: You were seventeen actually.

Creative 1: Wait! This is mind-blowing. I think I’m having some sort of heart attack.

Creative 2: But this’ll change the world. Governments will hear everything their enemies say. Friends will hear friends backstabbing them. No one will be able to lie in court anymore. We’ll rewrite history by listening to what historical figures actually said. We will hear everything, we can tune in to the cosmic boom of the Big Bang, we can listen to the voice of Jesus, or God himself, oh God! But then people will stop talking for fear of being heard, they’ll slice out their tongues, Christ, nothing will ever be the same ….

Suit: OK please just calm down.

Creative 1: Is this even legal?

Suit: We’re ad men. Legal isn’t our problem. Our brief: come up with a killer name.

Creative 1: iRadio?

Suit: I don’t pay you to plagiarise.

Creative 2: The DOP?

Suit: Stands for?

Creative 2: Death of Privacy.

Suit: Funny guy.

Creative 1: The Conch?

Suit: Too Lord of the Flies.

Creative 1: It’s about spying, why not: The KGB.

Suit: Too Russian.

Creative 2: The CIA.

Suit: Too America.

Creative 1: The al-Qa’ida

Suit: Too soon.

Creative 2: RadioBug! 

Suit: Good name, something there, go on.

Creative 1: RadBug.

Suit: Like it so much I’m taking the name out to dinner.

Creative 2: The Bug.

Suit: Love it. I just divorced my third wife so I can marry the name.

Creative 1: Or just: Bug.

Suit: Yes, yes! I’m bonking the brains out of that name, love it! Keep going, I’m about to blow my ….

Secretary opens the door balancing a tray of coffee and Suit screams.

Suit: Sod off! We’re on to something here! No distractions!

Creative 1: Easy Suit, she’s just bringing coffee.

Secretary: Sorry, I’m the new secretary.

Suit: Soon to be ex-secretary!

Secretary: Should I come back?

Suit: You should piss off!

Secretary wobbles and a cup smashes on the floor.

Suit: Who is this idiot? We’re on the cusp of naming history! You’re fired!

Secretary: Well you’re a prick!

Suit: What did you say to me! Do you have any idea who I am?

Secretary: You’re a dick who’s paid too much to think up lame names for dumb things.

Everyone sits back in shock.

Suit: Well, if you think you’re so smart, darling, why don’t you name this puppy? Here’s the brief: a radio that can tune into any conversation ever. There you go, sugar-tits, now tell me what you call it.

Secretary: Well, it’s so obvious.

Suit: Come on then, dazzle me with your amazing idea.

Secretary: The Eavesdropper.

Silence. Everyone smiles at everyone else.

Suit: You, sweetheart, are a beautiful genius.

Robert Glancy has just had published a  new novel, Terms & Conditions, which tells the deliciously cynical story of a nice-but-dull terms & conditions lawyer who is struggling to remember who he is after a mysterious car crash leaves him with amnesia and certain suspicions about his allegedly nearest and dearest ....

Terms & Conditions is published by Bloomsbury (hardback, £12.99).

Arts and Entertainment
Emo rockers Fall Out Boy

music

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat

Arts and Entertainment

film

Arts and Entertainment
A sketch of Van Gogh has been discovered in the archives of Kunsthalle Bremen in Germany
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is heading to Norwich for Radio 1's Big Weekend

music
Arts and Entertainment
Beer as folk: Vincent Franklin and Cyril Nri (centre) in ‘Cucumber’
tvReview: This slice of gay life in Manchester has universal appeal
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
‘A Day at the Races’ still stands up well today
film
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tvAnd its producers have already announced a second season...
Arts and Entertainment
Kraftwerk performing at the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) museum in Berlin earlier this month
musicWhy a bunch of academics consider German electropoppers Kraftwerk worthy of their own symposium
Arts and Entertainment
Icelandic singer Bjork has been forced to release her album early after an online leak

music
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth as Harry Hart in Kingsman: The Secret Service

film
Arts and Entertainment
Brian Blessed as King Lear in the Guildford Shakespeare Company's performance of the play

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links