Afternoon at the chateau.
The noble Heelers is doing his good deed for the day.
He is ringing Monty Baines, a blind poet living in retirement in the town of Kildare.
"Let's spread a little kindness," he murmurs to a passing sheepdog as he dials the number.
Many years ago Heelers wrote a newspaper article about Monty.
He was aware that Monty was a bit isolated.
Yet the young high flying Heelers had not reached out to offer the hand of friendship at that time.
Over the course of the next decade he occasionally entertained guilty feelings about this.
And just recently Monty Baines had called him looking for a copy of the old newspaper article.
It seemed almost as if God had provided the high minded Heelers with a chance to right an historic wrong.
To atone for a sin of omission.
And Heelers had thereafter resolved to keep in touch with the man who'd recontacted him.
Just to light a candle of hope in the darkness of modern life.
He would make sure to ring the old blind guy at least once a week and check how he was doing.
In perpetuity if necessary.
So I'm ringing.
The phone is answered.
"Hey there Monty, this is James Healy, just checking in to see how you're doing."
There is a moment's silence at the other end.
"Sorry, I can't talk at the moment."
The phone went dead.
He'd hung up on me.
I scratch my bald pate thoughtfully.
Enter the Mammy stage left.
"What's wrong with you?" quoth she.
"It's that old poet guy in Kildare, he hung up on me again," sez me.
"Again?" quoth the Lildebeest.
"That's the third week in a row," sez me.
"He was probably busy," quoth the aged parent.
I shook my Roman emperor head.
"Lil," sez me, "we've got to face facts. Once could be an accident. Twice could be carelessness. But three times in a row means the desperately lonely isolated old blind guy doesn't want to talk to me."
"Do you think?" quoth the Mammy.
"And there's more," sez me. "I was ringing the Melia moghul last week and he hung up on me as well."
"Why would he do that?" questioneth Lilt.
"He didn't want to talk to me either Lil," exploded me.
"But he likes talking to you," persisteth the Mam. "You're always planning to produce plays with him. You know. The ones that never happen."
I consider her remarks.
"Recently I've been trying to convert him to Christianity," confesseth me. "It hasn't taken. I bet that's why he's not staying on the line when I ring him. And he never meets for coffee anymore either."
"You're reading too much into it," insisteth the mother of all the Healys.
"And there's another one," murmured me remembering suddenly with horror. "I rang Cousin Raymond in France last week and he said he couldn't talk, that he was just about to head out the door to an appointment. He didn't hang up exactly but he didn't stay on the line. With Baines and Melia and the old guy that makes three in a row."
"You really think they didn't want to talk to you?" probed the aged P.
I nodded bitterly.
My handsome preraphaelite features went a bit gothic.
"There is no other realistic conclusion," I stated (baldly). "Here was me thinking I was doing the Lord God Almighty a personal favour. But apparently my conversation is pure torture for these people. I'm just an irksome intrusion on their solitude. This is terrible. The lonely would prefer to be alone than listen to me. The lonely find me insufferable."
"You probably just caught them at a bad time," romanticised the Mammy.
I shot her a haunted look.
"My God Lil," I breathed in profound astonishment. "I've become a crushing bore."