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Srbija 2020

KGB: Planet of the Apes

KGB’s internet ‘provision’ has been messing with my head again. The call centre has been shamelessly blaming my computer. I know it ain’t the case. They have promised engineers. I know they aren’t going to come. And so after several weeks of CSI-like investigation, the only explanation for three months (and counting) of delays and prevarication is what is really going on at KGB’s call centre:

05.00 – Goran is awakened by 'In the Jungle' played full volume as it is every morning. He awakes with his usual call-centre hang-over but he tumbles out of his hammock regardless. He has no choice. He is a primate.

05.10 – Goran combs his hair and wipes sleep from his eyes. He puts on a tie and gets Sasa to make sure that it is straight. Sasa, as he often does, checks him for fleas. Hygiene is important amongst the KGB monkeys. Goran makes his way to the office. There are five other KGB monkeys about to start their shift.

05.20 – Goran arrives at his desk. He puts on his headset and adjusts his seat. Milos from the previous shift is a Rhesus monkey. He’s got shorter legs than Goran and likes the feet rest a little higher. He plugs himself into the KGB network and so his day, like every other, begins.

05.25 – Goran’s answers his first call. He opens the plastic-bound folder on his desk where KGB’s ten question and answer lines are written. He needn’t have to, he knows them by heart.

06.28 – Goran receives a call from a username that he thinks he recalls. He solves the problem by Question 3: Did you restart the modem? He reassures the customer that everything is fine with the system from where he is sitting. He was taught to say this and finds himself often using the line.

07.25 – Dejan, Goran’s line-manager, checks up on him to see that everything is alright. Dejan promises to replenish his bananas when they get low.

09.00 – A caller makes it to Question 9 before resolving their internet woes. Goran started to sweat; thinking he might have to open the security box and press the bright red button labelled ‘hang up’. He is glad when it doesn’t get that far. He rewards himself with a banana from the bowl by his desk.

10.22 – Goran notices Sasa’s tick again. He has been getting increasingly concerned by his friend and co-monkey recently. The pressure of the call-centre has been taking its toll on him and Sasa has persisted in repeating the dangerous rumours circulating the call-centre.

10.30 – Bojan, the gorilla from Security, does his rounds. He takes a close interest in Sasa’s work and Goran watches with concern until a caller interrupts him.

10.43 – Sasa gives Goran an I-desperately-need-to-talk-to-you-look whilst he is fielding a call. Goran is getting worried that he’s cracking up. He’s barely touched the bananas in his bowl and his call resolution rate has been well down. He resolves to speak to him at lunch time.

11.04 – A caller from the day before rings again and asks to take Goran’s name. Goran gives it him and inputs the information onto the database. Miodrag, the call-centre boss, will need to be informed. Miodrag is the most intelligent of the call centre primates and the last port of call for the most stubborn caller. It is Miodrag who generally decides when the call centre monkeys should hang-up or promise to send ‘technicians’.

12.00 – Goran shares a bunch of bananas with Sasa over lunch. As they pick at each others fleas good neighbourly, Sasa whispers that he has obtained more information about the vicious rumours circulating the office. Goran hopes to calm his co-monkey, but Sasa just gets more agitated the more Goran tries to calm him. Sasa beats his chest, attracting Bojan’s attention and they are forced to end their conversation and return to work, but not before Sasa whispers that ‘the sales on the boulevard are for real’. Goran tries to put the thought to the back of his mind, but feels distracted for the rest of the afternoon.

12.26 – A persistent couple with a French username call again. They make it through all ten of Goran’s questions and even ask for his name. He enters this fact onto his computer and signals Miodrag who has been watching the proceedings with interest since Question 8: Did you change the modem? Miodrag smoothly intervenes, promising to send technicians before hanging up. Goran is impressed by Miodrag’s professionalism. He supposes this is the reason he is the manager at the call centre.

12.50 – Sasa passes Goran a note. Bojan isn’t looking and he opens it. In Sasa’s distinctive Rhesus scrawl is written ‘They sold Bogoljub! Attached is the proof.’ Paper-clipped to the back of the note is a receipt. It outlines the sale of a Tarsus monkey from an address on Boulevar Kralja Aleksandra.

Apparently, the government’s decision that receipts should be given for everything extends even to the sale of burnt-out KGB monkeys. The shock of Sasa’s proof sends Goran reeling. He feels sick to the stomach. Even the bowl of bananas that Dejan has so recently replenished seem unappetising.

13.05 – KGB’s internet network goes down across the city. Miodrag tells the call centre staff to tell any callers that it is a global problem, needing global solutions. A number of callers don’t believe it. ‘Technicians’ are promised.

13.42 – Sasa’s tick is back and Goran is convinced that he is fielding calls from the Boulevar. Goran recognises that he is skating on thin ice and hopes that he can cover for him. He hears the name Bogoljub mentioned several times, as well as the figure of 400 euros. Further calls interrupt him eavesdropping on his co-monkey.

14.05 – A caller complains that the KGB technicians have failed to arrive after a two week wait. Goran promises to prioritise their account and informs Miodrag.

14.34 – The persistent couple with the French username are back. Goran immediately puts them through to Miodrag. Goran watches with interest as his manager fields the call. Beads of sweat begin to appear on the downy hair of Miodrag’s forehead. The couple’s line of questioning apparently frustrates even KGB’s most capable primate. ‘Technicians’ and other promises are all rejected before there is eventually some resolution in the conversation. Goran returns to his work whilst his manager adds the caller’s username to the call-centre blacklist. Let them bother the humans at the Dorcol office.

14.54 – Goran fields his last call of the day and feels some satisfaction that he is able to solve a few callers’ problems this time.

15.00 – Goran’s day ends. He tries not to think about what Sasa has said. He just wants to make it to his hammock. It has been a difficult day for Goran, the call-centre primates and for KGB internet users across the city.

[This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, companies or events is purely coincidental.]


For a piece of fiction, this surely explains a lot.


Who said it was fiction?

Change ISP

How about changing ISP? Continually banging your head against the wall will not cure your headache!

Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 pounds.

Monopoly I am afraid. Unfortunately there appears no way around this as other providers wont touch my area with a barge pole. The internet dead-zone persists.
And the pain isn't in the head its somewhere else.