Man Not Comforted by Assurance That “There are Always Other Ayatollahs”

Life isn’t as it used to be for 28-year old Adam Scroggy, who used to get his kicks conference calling two numbers and then staying quiet. Here is a transcript from his glory-days, ten years ago:

Ring, ring [phone rings]
Ayatollah Khomeini: Ayatollah speaking.
Salman Rushdie: Hello?
A.K: Yes, how can I help you?
S.R.: What do you mean? You called me.
A.K.: Do you think that’s funny? Really, I’m a busy man. I’ve got places to go, people to do. What do you want?
S.R.: Oh and I’m not busy, writing pretentious stories about how Britain is unlike India, and how India, conversely, is unlike Britain?
A.K.: Wait a minute: is this Salman Rushdie?
S.R.: Who wants to know? Ohhhhh, THAT Ayatollah. I knew you sounded familiar. Listen, stop calling me. It’s not funny anymore.
A.K: For the last time, you called me, you freak…

“Holding my breath, stifling an occasional snicker or hiccup, those were the days,” Scroggy remarked. “But now chat rooms are in; Rushdie’s free; and Khomeini’s dead. My friends tell me, ‘Don’t worry, Adam. There are always other Ayatollahs.’ But it’s just not the same.”