Courtesy Calls: Why Alucard is Not Allowed to Answer the Phone
Once upon a time, Alucard had enjoyed the winters. The long cold nights suited him just fine. But as time went on, he discovered what a curse it was. Rather than enjoying having more hours to be awake in the winter, he now dreaded those long nights. Besides, the weather in England was miserable. As often as not, they got cold rain, not snow. There were missions, but they were few and far between. If the Hellsing Organization needed a full-time vampire exterminator, that would only mean that the United Kingdom were in dire straits. Not that he would mind that, really, but it would likely vex his master. Not that he would mind that either. He smiled a bit.
But she was not here. She had taken Walter with her to a meeting, and left him to fend for himself. Later, he would prowl about the empty house for a bit, but for now, he was sitting in Integra's chair with his boots propped on her desk. "Take care of things while I'm gone," she'd said. The sun had already set, but it was barely dinner time. He hated to admit it, but he was bored. There was nothing to do. He rummaged in a desk drawer and found Integra's cigars. He took one out and toyed with it a bit. It smelled of her.
He was still debating whether or not to light it when the phone rang. Not a secure line; just the generic outside line; the one the hired help used to call their families. His smile widened. He could have some fun with this. He picked up the phone.
"Hellsing Organisation," he said in his deep voice, as politely as possible.
"Hello, Mr. Hellsing? I'm Tim from Johnson's Windows, Roofing and Siding, and I'm just calling to let you know we're going to be in your area. Our new windows can save you a bundle on your energy bill. Tell me, sir, when was the last time you had your windows replaced?"
Alucard blinked. No one talked that much, did they? There were so many misperceptions, he didn't know which one to correct first. So he just answered the question. "I think most of them are about 150 years old. Why do you ask?"
"Because those old windows can be terribly inefficient!" The man sounded almost upset, but in a falsely cheery sort of way. He'd never spoken to such a strange person before. "Do they rattle in the wind?"
"Not all of them, no."
"Well, a window that rattles is just letting out all the heat from your house. You wind up heating your whole neighborhood, which can be quite costly in the wintertime. New windows will pay for themselves in no time with the savings on your heating bill." He'd already said that, hadn't he? "How many windows do you have?"
"Oh, I've never counted them. Even I'm not that bored." Though at least now he had an idea of what to do when he roamed the house one of these nights. "But it takes the staff about a month to clean them all in the summer."
"Really? Splendid! I can send out a crew to take a look at them and give you an estimate for free. It won't cost you anything just to have them take a look."
Suddenly, Alucard was very interested. He took his feet off the desk and sat up. "You're telling me you'll send people out to my house?"
"Yes, of course. That way you will have the opportunity to ask all your questions in person, and we can estimate how long it will take to have the work completed."
"Interesting. When can they be here?"
"Sometime this week. Would Thursday work for you?"
"Yes, I suppose I can wait that long. What time on Thursday?"
"Well, it will depend on how long their other calls take, so any time between noon and four."
"So you send these people out to various houses, but you don't know where they are at any given time?"
Tim faltered for the first time. "I'm not quite sure what you mean. They call to check in after each job, and I can always page them if I need to."
"Oh." He sounded a bit disappointed. "Do these men have families, by any chance?"
"Some of them do. Why are you asking?" Tim was definitely getting suspicious. The game was up.
"Well, you so kindly offered to deliver people to my house, and I was just checking to see if they would be missed. But it seems someone will be checking up on them, so in that case, I'm not interested. Our windows will probably hold up for another 50 years, so I'll just continue to find my own…workers."
"Good night, sir." He sounded angry. He just hung up, leaving Alucard holding the phone and laughing like a maniac. And here he had been thinking that there was nothing new!
Later that week, his master called him up to her office. She was sitting behind her desk, tapping her fingers impatiently. The cigar was in her mouth, already lit.
"What is the meaning of this?" she asked him, taking the cigar out of her mouth. Before he had a chance to feign innocence, she went on to explain. "I've just received a call from the local authorities detailing a complaint against a Mr. Hellsing. Despite my assurances that there is no Mr. Hellsing, they are convinced that someone in this residence threatened a caller with kidnapping his workers. Care to explain?"
"Oh, that must be that window salesman. I told him we didn't need any."
"What else did you tell him, Alucard?"
"Nothing! I merely enquired into how he kept track of his workers. It didn't seem wise to me for him to be sending them into strange homes he knew nothing about. Especially in such small numbers."
"Well, whatever you said, he called the police warning them that there was a Hannibal Lecter on the loose."
"Who's Hannibal Lecter?" Alucard asked, honestly puzzled.
"That's what I asked. He's from an American movie. Apparently, he kills people and eats them."
"A monster, then," he dismissed the news. "I would like to see this movie, though," he mused.
She leaned back in her seat. "We'll see if Walter can get a copy for you. But from now on, do not answer the phone in my absence. Let the answering machine get it; that's what it's there for. I do not need the local police questioning what types of freaks I harbor here."
He grinned at her. "Only the best."
Author's note: This takes place in the '90's, so there were no automated telemarketers back then, and not as many people calling from large call centers. You really could draw them out into long conversations. Silence of the Lambs came out in 1991.