“Can you spare $128.11? I’ve already sold my Emmy.”
Although we cancelled our wireless service with Cincinnati Bell several months ago, we still pay for Zoomtown, Cincinnati Bell’s Internet service. When this month’s bill arrived it was $128.11 — not, as we were anticipating, $31.95 plus tax.
We suspect a phone call something like this took place the morning after the Emmys.
CINCINNATI BELL CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE: Good morning, thank you for calling Cincinnati Bell. My name is Rebecca. How can I help you?
JEREMY PIVEN: Rebecca, it’s Jeremy Piven. You probably saw me on TV last night.
REBECCA: Jeremy! I sure did. I’m glad you took those hosts down a peg or two.
JEREMY: Yeah, listen, Rebecca. I need $128.11.
REBECCA: But Mr. Piven, you’re no longer a spokesperson with us.
JEREMY: I DON’T WANT THIS TO BE HARD, REBECCA.
REBECCA: And I think I can smell the alcohol on your breath through the phone.
JEREMY: Wait, where are my pants?
REBECCA: Plus you just won an Emmy. Your suit looked pretty nice too.
JEREMY: I’d rather not go into the details, but I need money. Fast.
REBECCA: I’m afraid I can’t just authorize giving you $128.11.
JEREMY: Rebecca, have you ever crossed the Russian mafia?
REBECCA: Excuse me?
JEREMY: I didn’t think so. Listen, Rebecca, this is a matter of life or — why do I have BW3’s Mango Habanero sauce in my armpits?
REBECCA: Okay, Mr. Piven, here’s what I can do. Let me just riffle through some of our accounts and find an unsuspecting customer whom we can slap with an unnecessary charge. Here’s one that looks promising: Ben & Erin Vore.
JEREMY: Oh I hate them.
REBECCA: Good. I suspect they’re sufficiently dense to not notice that we’ll continue to charge them for wireless service even though they cancelled it on July 25.
JEREMY: Yes! Brilliant!
REBECCA: Then when they write that check in a month I’ll wire you the money.
JEREMY: No, that won’t do! I need it now! Do you know what happens when you betray someone named The Greek? HAVE YOU NEVER WATCHED “THE WIRE,” REBECCA??
REBECCA: Mr. Piven, calm down. If the Vores are late with their check, that’ll be an extra ten dollars in your pocket.
JEREMY: I don’t think you understand my — why is there a tattoo of Shia LaBeouf on my inner thigh?
REBECCA: I’m afraid this is the best I can do, Mr. Piven.
[Silence. Muffled sobs from the other end of the line.]
REBECCA: Mr. Piven, are you crying?
JEREMY [crying]: No.
REBECCA: You’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through this.
JEREMY: I suppose I can go on the lam for a month. I’ve got a friend who could do some cheap reconstructive surgery on my face to disguise my appearance. Do you think I’d look good with cheek implants?
REBECCA: I thought you already had cheek implants.
JEREMY: Anyway, the life of a fugitive can’t be worse than being a Versace salesman in Rush Hour 2.
REBECCA: Or your role as Herbert Hortz in Car 54, Where Are You? when even Daniel Baldwin got higher bidding than you.
JEREMY: That was a very dark period for me. If you remind me of that again, I’ll hunt you down with this bloody machete I somehow woke up with.
REBECCA: That’s the can-do spirit I expect from an Emmy winner!