A story in Fifteen Minutes
“Can you write a short-story in fifteen minutes?”, my smartphone asked me.
“Yes, definitely I can. But I have a condition”, I replied.
“What?”, it inquired.
“You need to remain silent until I finish it”, I said.
“Agreed”, it beeped.
I opened my laptop and started typing random words as fast as I could. I had no clue what I was writing. Most of it was subconscious gibberish that was manifesting itself through broken phrases and incomplete sentences. But I continued writing. Rather, typing! Because I wanted to prove to this electronic device that claims itself to be a smartphone, that I can indeed write.
The clock was ticking faster than usual. My fingers couldn’t match it’s pace. There were a thousand thoughts running across my mind but only few of them translated onto the screen. But why, I asked myself. Why were only certain thoughts that found place in my writing while I had to discard the rest. Was there a visible pattern? I couldn’t quite unlock the mystery.
But I admired at the capacity of the human brain to think so many thoughts simultaneously. In less than a fraction of a minute, I had thought about my job, my colleague’s last prank, my upcoming trip, the order I had placed on Amazon earlier that day and the raise in my salary that was due this month. And amidst all this clutter, I had managed to preserve my idea of a novel that I have always wanted to write.
I read whatever I had written and edited a few words. There was no beginning, middle or end to the story. It wasn’t even a story. Just some chunk of random thoughts. I sighed and stared at my screen. I looked at my phone. It remained true to its promise – silent as ever! I suddenly noticed the beautiful teak-wood tree shaped bookshelf my friends had gifted me on my last birthday. I noticed the intricate carving and detailing on it. I noticed the books I had placed on the shelf. I hadn’t completed even one of them.
“Wake up”, I yelled and tapped on the phone.
“Fifteen minutes are not over”, it buzzed.
“I don’t care. I need to talk”
“I knew you can’t stay away from me even for fifteen minutes”, it said with a smirk.
“I can. And that’s exactly why I woke you up. I want to tell you that I am letting you go”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I am dumping you”
“Dumping me in the sense?”
“I just realized that life was more beautiful without you. I had much more to read, write, observe, explore and notice about the world around me before you entered my life. And I have taken a firm decision. I am letting you go”
“But you can’t do that”, it yelled.
“Of course I can”, I said and picked it up. I long-pressed on the power button and started walking towards the washroom.
“No! You can’t. You need to backup your contacts ……”, and its mechanical voice whizzed out.
“I don’t need them. They’ll find me in case of an emergency. That’s how we lived our lives back in the 90’s”, I yelled back and dumped the phone into the commode and flushed it.
I went back to my cubicle, put my laptop into the sleep mode and looked around. I looked at the ceiling and observed the white patches of light around each tube. I noticed how plain and boring the walls looked. I looked at my colleagues. Everybody had their heads lowered as if they were bowing down to the mighty evil demon in front of them who was controlling their lives everyday. I looked at the colleague who sat right next to me. She was busy typing away a medical article for a client while listening to some EDM on her headphones.
Suddenly, I was overcome by an impish desire to do something that I have always done on Social Media. I poked her.
“Do you know palmistry”, I asked.
“What? No!”, she replied irritably.
“Oh. Did you know that every palm has a unique smell of its own. And your palm’s smell defines your personality. Smell your palm to check”, I instructed her.
She brought her palm closer to her nose and sniffed. I hit her hard on the back of her palm. She jerked back and looked at me with her eyes wide open, confused and lost. I laughed at her ‘why the heck did you do that’ expression. She fumed and jabbed at me with her headphones. I laughed harder and she eventually smiled back. She poked me back.
A little far away from us, a piece of electronic junk, drenched in urine, poop and floating tissues; growled in anger and vowed to take revenge on its master.
P.S: The above short story was written in 30 minutes
Copyright/Author: Avinash Matta