Adam used to love his phone. He carried it everywhere and every time it buzzed, he melted. He fidgeted whenever the battery ran low. The phone, which had three different outer casings, was a new model, and he treated it with respect it deserved.
Yesterday Adam hated his phone for the first time. He waited and waited for it to deliver a young woman’s message, but it refused. He ran his fingers through his hair, accidentally pulling about fifty strands out of his scalp. He turned off the ringer, hid the phone under his pillow, and ran into the kitchen. Two hours he would leave it untouched. He needed to study for finals free from desperation and distraction.
His phone wasn’t used to playing the role of messenger alone and did not like being forced under the pillow and gagged. The phone—being a new model, after all—was especially peeved by Adam’s obsession with this young woman. Though Adam tried, he could not forget about his phone, which simmered and fumed under his flannel pillowcase.
When she did (finally) text, the phone decided to hide her message. And that needy, pathetic young woman sent another just forty-seven minutes after the first. His phone hid that one too—tucked both messages deep into a glass-lined ridge of metallic plastic and then purred victoriously. Adam returned a minute early to a blank screen. He threw his phone against the wall, but the blank screen did not break and the messages did not shake loose.
Claire Stamler-Goody is a writer, scientist, and photographer living in Chicago. Her previous work has appeared or is forthcoming in TIMBER Journal, Birds Piled Loosely, and Linden Avenue Lit.