"The Solicitor"


Andrew Olson

When I call, it’s usually after 5:00 p.m.—but never later than 7:00. I always ask for the person I’m calling for by the first name. Is Jill there? Is Mark there? And then, if they’re still on the line, I talk to them about what I’m selling. Oh, don’t be mistaken—most people hang up on me. Probably seventy-five percent. Another five percent listen for 30 seconds, and then hang up. Another ten percent listen for a minute, and nine percent for a minute and a half. A measly one percent make it to the end. That’s when I lay it on them, when they find out this call isn’t like any ordinary solicitor calling.

            The reason most people hang up, I think, is they don’t believe me. If I was on the other end of the line, I'd certainly question what I was saying.

            The one person out of a 100 who stays on the line usually thanks me from the bottom of his heart. It’s not uncommon for their families to send me cards. This makes perfect sense, because the families are the ones who benefit the most from my calls.

            Then there’s the occasional person who doesn’t believe me. Like the other day. The man I called wanted to toy with me, like I was someone asking for money.

            “Hello, is this Steven?” I asked him.

            “No, it’s Joe Bob. Who the hell is calling?”

            “My name is Stanley Morgan, from Morgan Associates—”

            “Oh shit, another solicitor. Oh, Christ, you’re the fifth to call me tonight!”

            “I want you to listen very carefully to what I have to say, Steven. I’m only going to say this once. Are you listening?”

            “Oh, I’m listening like you can’t believe, Stanley Morgan.” And he laughed.

            “This isn’t a joke.” I cleared my throat. This is always the hardest part. “Steven, you’re going to die tomorrow. I know this is difficult, but this is your last chance to help out your family. This is your last chance to buy life insurance, to take care of your wife, Nancy, and daughter Eva.”

            Silence .

            “Steven are you there?”

            “This is the funniest thing I’ve heard all day—no, funniest thing all year. Do you wait till the holidays to call people like me?”

            “As I’ve already told you, this isn’t a joke.”

            “You keep telling that, but what kind of credentials do you got? Are you God or something?”

            “Hardly, Steven. I’m just trying to help you out.”

            “Well, even if I did believe you, what the hell are you gonna do now? If I’m dying tomorrow, how am I going to sign up for some friggin’ insurance policy?”

            “Have you got today’s mail, Steven?”

            “The mail? Sure, I got it. It came with a stack of bills as high as my knee. I don’t look through that shit till the middle of the month.”

            “I want you to go to your stack of mail. You should see a letter from Morgan Associates.”

            I heard Steven drop the phone and go look for the letter. I could hear him grumbling as he looked around. He managed to insult the cat, the dog, even his daughter—and finally came back to the phone.

            “Yeah, I got it. What do you want me to do with this?”

            “Open it up. You’ll see two pieces of paper. In order to qualify for $1 million of Life Insurance for your family, just check the box on the first piece of paper.”

            “What box?” Steven asked.

            I realized I was dealing with someone who probably couldn’t read.

            “There’s only one box, Steven.”

            “Hey, don’t get all condescending with me!”

            “Just check the box and sign it. Use the return envelop to send the first piece of paper back to me. Have you checked the box and signed the piece of paper, Steven?”

            “Look, I don’t know what this is. I mean, you could be asking me to sign away my life.”

            “Steven, it’s very important you do this. It’s the difference between your family being comfortable in the next few years—and having serious financial problems.”

            “I don’t think I want to sign it, Mr. Morgan. Something smells fishy here.”

            “What do you have to lose, Steven? And even if you like, go ahead and read through the document. I’ll wait. It’s written in plain English. Go ahead. I’ll be right here.”

            Steven read the document. It was only 12 words long, and the box was very simple:


Check here to receive $1 million life insurance. Guaranteed. No questions asked.


            “Look, why don’t I call you back, Mr. Morgan.”

            “There’s no time for that, Steven. You either sign and send off that document tonight, or your family has a lot of problems.”

            “You sound like you’re threatening me now. Doesn’t make me really want to sign anything.”

            “Look, Steven, it goes like this: I could call 1000 people tonight, but I’ve only got time and resources to call five people. You’re one of the lucky five.”

            “Or unlucky,” he said.

            “The point is, you have this tremendous opportunity to give your family the security they need. You can give them the life they deserve. Isn’t that what you want?”

            “Well, of course it is.”

            “Then please sign the form and put it in the mail. My courier will pick it up tonight.”

            “Is this some kind of practical joke?”

            “I wish it were, Steven.”

            “How do I know?”

            “Well, if it is a practical joke, everything will be OK tomorrow—and you’ll have life insurance for $1 million, guaranteed.

            Steven did put his form in the mail—and he died the next day while crossing the street downtown. A pickup truck ran the light and hit him. The driver was drunk.

            People have often asked me how I come across this information, about when people are going to die.

            The truth is, I don’t know. The names, phone numbers, causes, dates, and times all come to me. They just appear, like little movies in my head. And I write them down.

            Before I did this, I really did sell insurance at a big company that will remain nameless.

            I suppose it’s a blessing and a curse. I make a good living, but for those who take advantage of my services, they and their families will have piece of mind. And someday, I’ll probably see my own death; it’ll come to me the same way. Of course, I'm prepared for that and have life insurance. Until then, I’m just doing the job I was sent here to do.

            So, if you receive mail from Morgan Associates and then receive a phone call from me, I'd advise you not to hang up.