Casting Instructions for 'The Shoe-Box Telephone'
The outbound call:
Step 1: Wait for the end of your day, right before bed time. For now it?s just you and the night, just you and your thoughts, alone in your room. Don?t turn off the lights but do turn off your cellphone, your TV, your stereo, radio, computer, etc. You want zero distractions, and absolutely no interruptions. You want quiet. Then just wait for the ?right time?. What?s the ?right time?? It?s? one of those things that are hard to describe but you?ll just know it when you see it. You?ll just know. It may build up gradually, but when it?s finally there it?ll hit you, zero doubt. Only at this point may you begin writing your letter. If this threshold of certainty never comes within an hour, just go to sleep and try again the next night. If you?ve been trying for three or four nights already and the moment just never comes, then it may simply be that you?re not ready for this. That?s okay. Try a different person, or give yourself a break for a few nights. What you don?t want to do is write your letter while in doubt. That?d be a wrong number.
Step 2: Now write your letter. When you do begin writing don?t erase nor correct any mistakes you make (this includes scrawling words over; don?t). Don?t start over either. You only have a single sheet of paper and your first draft is your final draft. Explain to this person why they should give you a ring. Be honest. Let it all out. It?s not always easy. Don?t over think it, just write. This is why you had to wait for the right time. It?ll all make sense. Again, doubt = wrong number. Never dial a wrong number; it?s best to abort the whole thing.
Step 3: When you?re done tie one end of the string to the power object, and using a needle, insert the other end through the center of the bottom of your paper cup. Remove the needle, tie a little knot, and now you have a cute little paper telephone like you probably once made while you were a child. Don?t prepare this ahead of time before your letter. Write the letter first, THEN do the paper cup.
Step 4: Read your letter aloud, into the paper cup. Read it sincerely as if the person at the other end could hear you, including all the mistakes you didn't correct. Just read them. This is your outbound call.
Step 5: Place the object and letter in the shoe-box, and place the shoe-box on the floor of your phone booth, your closet. Then close the box but don?t seal it -just let the lid rest there gently, with the string still coming out from under and going to your paper cup. Leave the paper cup standing on top of the box. Leave the scissors on the floor next to the box.
You?re done. Now all that?s left to do is to wait for the ring.
The inbound call:
Step 1: The ring will come in a dream, either that night, or some night shortly after. You will dream of the person trying to call you, and you will wake up from that dream, usually in the middle of the night, and you will know it?s time to take the call.
Step 2: DO NOT turn on the light. DO NOT say a word. Just get up from the bed and go to your phone booth. Is the box still closed, with the paper cup standing on top? Good, get in the closet, sit down, and slide the door closed ( a closed booth is particularly important in case the ring comes after sunrise, because you?ll need the darkness). If you find the box open, or if you find the paper cup knocked over, abort the mission and snap off the string. Do not take that headset anywhere near your ear. Use the scissors if you can?t snap the thread with your own hands.
Step 3: Otherwise just sit on the floor there and press the paper cup to your ear and cover your other ear with your other hand to help you listen. It may take a while. You may not speak. Don?t move too much. Do not touch the box.
Some people report an increase in call quality after tugging on the string ever so gently.This is fine but just be careful NOT TO OPEN THE BOX by doing so. Remember they?re calling collect, and if it goes through, that shoe box must remain closed for at least a few months. Again, you may not speak, not even if you are asked questions, not even if you?re ordered to. You already said your piece at the outbound call. For the inbound one just listen. Avoid noise. When you?re done (or if you want to hang up at any time), simply hold the box lid closed with one hand, and pull on the headset with the other hand until the string snaps off. In case of emergency, use the scissors. Keep the closed shoe box somewhere safe for a few months. Dispose of that paper cup later too. Burning is fine, just don?t put it to your ear again.
What if after three or four nights the ring never comes? Maybe they have nothing to say to you. That?s okay. Try another person. Don?t do this too often.
Disclaimer: This may help you get closure, but it could also make things worse.
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