Car 2

Miss Billie Holiday

Outward appearance

Girl with short hair, black trousers and a fluffy fake fur coat. Pink-cheeks, freckles, clear-framed spectacles, AIDS ribbon. Keeps smiling and shaking her head.

Inside information

Her mother was a singer and named her daughter after a jazz great. Billie works in accounts at British Telecom.

What she is doing or thinking

She imagines herself in the pub, telling the following true story.

The computer tells us we have this telephone number and no one has ever paid a bill on it? So I have to go over all the records, back to when we kept things in writing. There's no record of payment at all.

So I ring the number to check that it still works. I hear a dialing tone. It rings and rings, buts no one answers. I try ringing at 6 pm, I stay for the late shift and ring at 10 pm. Never any answer.

So I look up the address: 172 Tottenham Court Road. We send out the first threatening letter. "Payment must be received in 7 days or legal proceedings will be taken." No answer. We cut off the connection.

We send out a court summons. And another. We send a notice of conviction. They don't pay the fine. Finally, we send in the bailiffs.

The bailiffs can't find 172 Tottenham Court Road.

Then we get an angry call from Camden Council about causing a traffic hazard.

We were billing a traffic signal box. It has a telephone number so they can modem timing instructions. I was trying to talk to a traffic light.

Can you imagine if it answered?

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