Monday Rewrite: On The Level

(Zacchaeus make a phone call)

Ah good morning, I’m inquiring about the insurance policies you offer. Yes that’s right. For climbing a tree. Yes, I know it’s a daft idea, yes, I could stay on solid ground. But I need to get higher up, don’t I? I’ll also need to run and look an idiot while I’m doing it, does your policy cover that? NO? Really? It doesn’t cover looking daft? Or running? Why not? Well, I just need to do it. I can’t just stroll along sedately, can I? There’ll be crowds. Because the word has got round that he’s coming. It’ll be like bank holiday in Blackpool round here. And let me tell you, some of the locals here are mean, worse than the Bake Off fans when they heard about the move to Channel 4. This lot can be brutal with their ‘getting to the front of the crowd’ policies. They have elbows like broken bottles. Know what I mean? They’re all right riff raff round her. Well, normally I do have protection. I have bodyguards, believe me, mate, I need them. Because I’m not popular.

What? Oh I collect taxes. On the level? Course it’s not on the level? Why would I be on the level? I work for the Romans, they’re not on the level. So I need to double what they ask to line my own poc… I mean make a decent living. But people don’t tend to like being fleeced for some strange reason, so that’s something else I wanted to ask about. I need accident cover, just in case one of the locals sees me up the tree and hurls abuse or more likely a rock or two. Or an old dustbin. D’you cover that? No? So basically you’re offering me nothing. Just a bit of hopeless advice – don’t leave the ground, stay on the level, don’t climb a tree. But I can’t. I don’t know why… I just… well you’ve heard the stories, haven’t you? Oh! Haven’t you? Well, Jesus is turning up and they say he’s not prejudiced like other people. They say he’s different. So I want to see what he’s like, I could do with a friend or two round here. You know they say money talks? Well, they’re wrong. It doesn’t. It sits around in piles making you feel lonely. So maybe he could help with that. But I’m never going to get a glimpse if I stay on the level, am I? You know, on the ground. I need to run, and I need to climb a tree and stick my neck out. All you have to do is guarantee I won’t get injured, hit by a full dustbin or look like an idiot. So will you cover any of that? No? Not at all? Well, thank you very much. For nothing.

I guarantee you I’ll be calling again and talking to your boss, so you’d better pray that nothing unexpected happens when I climb that tree. Otherwise you’re likely to be in big trouble. You’ll need a really big tree to avoid the boys I send round. What? No I can’t hold the line to speak to someone else. I was waiting on the line thirty five minutes before I got through to you, listening to I Will Survive on repeat, and to be honest I wasn’t that convinced I would survive! Besides I can hear the crowds gathering and I need to start running for it before anyone spots me out there alone without my heavies.
Good bye.

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