The banality of the machine
The young man receives a call in the middle of the day from a machine which playfully “uhs” at the digital recollection of his name. The machine describes a number to be called and a number to be injected, magically, into a future conversation. The young man worries about all of the various ways he might be eaten, and worries that he is no longer permitted life.
“I may have to pay to release myself from this prison, and that is probably the only way it can be done.”
The number confirms his suspicions and lets him know, in a cheery voice, that he should have known. The young man and the number laugh and hang up the phone. The young man views the phone call as an unnecessary, but necessary, omen, releasing him from his prison without cost, with a bill paid pre-call.