Steve DuBois gives us a humorous, yet stark vision of the phone call from hell. With homage, respect and apologies to Bob Newhart [1]

International entrepreneur O. Mio Theo (Rupert to his friends) is hard at work, a diminutive homunculus behind his over-sized megadesk, surrounded by screens displaying currency, commodity and stock values and media streams. His fingers fly at lightning speed over multiple keyboards and he speaks continually in a low tone to his hovering robotic PA, Lucifer. Suddenly, the office calm is shattered by a 1990s-retro mobile phone ring-tone. Theo picks it up and holds it to his ear. Lucifer dematerialises and returns to his basement dominion where he also picks up a phone and listens.

Theo speaks:
“Is that you Walt [2]? Good to hear you Walt. How’re you keeping?
“Oh good, good. What you got for me then Walt?
“The domino effect? W…w…what’s that Walt?
“You set up little domino tiles close together standing on end? You push the first one over !!?
“W…w…what’s that good for Walt?
“That pushes the next one over? A…a…and then what Walt?
“They ALL fall over? Oh yeah, right! Well what good’s that Walt?
“Oh you’re talking about European countries Walt. S…s…so not little tiles?
“Just EU countries? H…h…how does that work Walt?
“You do a ‘brexit’ on the first one? Uhh! W…w…what’s a brexit Walt?
“OK! You threaten to split a political party … and then? To stop THAT you hold a referendum?
“What does THAT do Walt?
“It gets the country to leave the EU. So how do you know you are going to win the referendum Walt?
“You can guarantee that! Well that’s great news Walt, we could make a lot of money on that alone!
“There’s more? You get some help from abroad? W…w…where’s that Walt?
“You’re not going to say! OK Walt … we’ll leave that for now! I guess I’ll f…f…find out eventually!
“What happens next Walt?
“When one country does a brexit then the next one does a brexit and so on just like dominoes.
“S…s…sounds good. How do we make money out of it Walt?
“Currency fluctuations? Trade deals? Arms sales? Building walls?
“Well Walt, we’ll leave that to your foxy little salesman [3]. When can we start Walt?
“You’ve got it all set up. What’s the first country to go Walt?
“The UK. OK Walt, give it a little brexit push then.
“Walt, Walt … you there? What happened Walt? Did they all fall over?
“The UK domino fell in the wrong direction. It’s in the Irish Sea Walt?!
”Where’s that Walt? Between England, N. Ireland and Ireland.
”Two countries Walt? That borders on the ridiculous!
“Walt! S…s…set them up again and have another go!
“Walt, Walt … you still there Walt? What happened Walt. Did they all fall over?
“The UK domino fell in the right direction. Well that’s great Walt! It didn’t reach France?
“Where is it now Walt?
“Well f…f…fish it out and have another go.
“Walt, Walt … you still there Walt? What happened Walt. Did they all fall over?
“You accidently nudged it from the direction of Scotland? What did that do Walt?
“The UK domino disappeared … Where IS it Walt?
“What do you mean … there’s four separate dominoes? Oh … It broke into four!
“And you think some of the continental ones might be stuck down with superglue as well?
“OK Walt, well we’ll give it another try in a few decades.
“I gotta go now Walt. I’ve got another call coming in.”

Theo jabs at his phone and speaks again:
“Hey Nige! How ya’ doin’ buddy-boy? What you got for me then Nige?
“The three-card trick … and you’re the shill. Uhh … what’s a ‘shill’ Nige?
“Who’s the patsy? Everyone? Oh, I like THAT Nige …”

Theo talks for a while before promising to think about Nige’s scam and hangs up. In the basement, Lucifer also hangs up. Then tapping in a number, Lucifer waits for a response and speaks:
“Is that you Nige? Have you heard of brexit and the domino effect? …”

1 Bob Newhart (back)
Walt is a descendent of Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer, adventurer and spy who promoted ‘to…bac…co’ to the World … which was a disaster for everyone. (back)
3 Liam Fox (back)