In The Cell

pink

 

 

 

It was 2:00 a.m. and Marsha was just about to go home when her phone buzzed. There was a woman named Susan, just two blocks away, who was requesting an Uber. Marsha decided to do one more trip.  She arrived in front of a small brownstone to find a tall man of mixed race standing outside of the building. He walked towards the car and attempted to open the back door and knocked on it when he realized it was locked. She rolled down the window slightly.

“Hi, I don’t think this is your Uber, sir. I’m here for a woman.”

“Is her name Susan?”

“Yes.”

“That’s actually my girlfriend, I got a new phone and I don’t have Uber set up, so she just let me use hers.”

Marsha hesitantly unlocked the door. It seemed like a plausible story. It was very unlikely that a random stranger would be able to guess the name of the customer.

The man climbed into the backseat and confirmed that he was going to North Hollywood. Although it was late and she was tired she was grateful for the long trip and the large fare it promised.

They pulled out onto the street and drove in silence until they got to the freeway.

“I’m Marsha,” she said after a moment

“Okay,” he said with an uncomfortable glance out the window.

“Do you mind if I listen to some music.”

“No that’s fine.”

“Do you have a preference?”

“Anything is okay,” He said rather irritably.

She turned on a classic rock station and studied her charge in the rear-view mirror. He was very tall, nice looking and about thirty five. He was wearing a designer shirt and a nice pair of trousers that looked as though they were part of a suit.

She assumed the ride was some sort of a walk of shame situation. She smiled a bit to herself. Had the man met this Susan in a bar in Long Beach or had they met somewhere in Los Angeles and retired to her apartment? Maybe they knew each other and it was some kind of friends with benefits situation. Maybe they met on Tinder and it was just some random hook up. Maybe he was married and she was actually driving him back to his wife.

Marsha regarded her own flabby face in the mirror. She wondered if he was just in a bad mood or if she was simply not worthy of his attention.

She glanced back at the passenger and saw him reach into his pocket and pull out an iPhone. He began texting with someone. She noticed that the phone was pink. She had never seen a man with a pink cell phone before. He wasn’t gay. He said he had a girlfriend. He also said it was a brand-new phone. His gruff masculine demeaner made her wonder why he would have chosen pink.

“Are ya warm enough back there,” she asked.

“I’m fine,” he said abruptly.

The man had a deep look of concern on his face as he texted. He seemed to be involved in a very serious conversation. His hands were even shaking a bit. She wondered if the woman he was with had just woken in the middle of the night to find him gone. Maybe it was his wife? She felt rather cozy watching the drama unfold.

It was then that she noticed the red stain on his shirt.  Her stomach knotted. It was a fairly small stain, but it really looked like blood. Then she noticed another stain on his sleeve. She told herself that it might be just sauce, or perhaps it came from a cut.

What if he’d murdered the woman he was with? What if he had killed her and used her phone to call the Uber? Maybe he killed her and hid the body and then used her phone to get an Uber. It would be the perfect get away. When people noticed that she was missing it would looks as though Susan had run off on her own volition in the middle of the night.

She looked in mirror again to see that he had gone on Facebook and was posting something. She had to hand it to him; he was clever. Maybe he was posting something to Susan’s page of her saying that she needed a change or a break or something.

It occurred to Marsha that she had Susan’s phone number. All she had to do was call the number and if the pink phone rang she would know that her suspicions were correct. Then she remembered that if her suspicions were correct, he would also have her number. She decided she would drop him off and then call the police.

She turned the car onto the exit ramp and began to drive to the address.

“We’re almost there,” she chirped nervously.

“Okay,” he said.

The man reached into his breast pocket and Marsha’s hands gripped the wheel. What if it was a gun? What if he had seen her looking at him in the rear view, figured out that she was suspicious and decided to kill her?

Her heart raced as she drove down the street. She sped up and reached for her phone to dial 911. She felt a sharp thunk and water began splashing all around the car. She realized she had hit a fire hydrant.

“What the fuck,” The passenger screamed.

He leaped out of the car and ran down the street. When the cops arrived, Marsha attempted to explain what happened. She was handed a ticket and some information about rehab.

Marsha was fired from Uber. She spent the next week on her cell phone looking for a job.

 

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5000 Facebook Fans

fan

 

 

You have been blogging for five years to little avail. Your blog, “whatamIdoinghere.com” deals with your frustrations working as a high colonic technician. Your writing is witty and insightful you have tried to stay relevant by using the Urban Dictionary as a thesaurus. Your mom and your sister love your blog, but somehow it escaped the attention of the general public. Perhaps it is host sight you chose, you had seen so many less talented people become more successful than you. In five years you have had about a thousand hits and fifty followers. You have written a post a day, you deserve more.

You have always been hesitant to buy Facebook fans, but you are getting desperate. If people just knew about your blog you could get a book deal and quit your shit job. You have been through hell. You have overcome depression, you have had to eat ramen on numerous occasions and you once had a roommate that who constantly berated you.

You figure it is worth a try.  Although people may know that the fans are fake, it might at least get them to go to your blog and have a look and once they do that, they will be hooked. Your mom says you are brave for sharing your life with others. Just last week your friend Jennifer said you were amazing and beautiful, didn’t everyone deserve to be amazed?

You go to a website that sells Facebook followers and retweets and you order 5000 Facebook fans. You write that night’s blog post and head to bed. The next day you get up at 6:00 am and head to work. After a long hard day of vacuuming out some really rancid buttholes, you come home to find a small crowd gathered around your house. As you approach you see that they are starring in wonder at your lawn. You get closer to see that there are oscillating fans all over your lawn, they appear to be battery powered and they are spinning at an astonishing rate.

You push past your neighbors to find your mother in the kitchen, curled up on the floor in a fetal position, crying her eyes out. There are fans everywhere. You got to your computer to see that fans are leaping out of your computer one after the other at a bewildering pace.

You go back to the kitchen and pull your mother to her feet. You locate her car keys as a fan flies towards your head. You run out of the house and to the car. A cop stops you on the way.

“Excuse me ma’am. Are these your fans? He holds up one of the fans and gets it to stop spinning with a stick. You see the word, Facebook written on each one of the blades. A fan hits you in the ass, cutting you. The neighbors begin to run away screaming as more fans fly from the house.

“I’ve never seen these fans before,” you say as you and your mother get into the car.

“Ma’am did you buy these Facebook fans?”

“No,” you scream as you start the car.

“Ma’am, I need to talk to you,” she cop says as you drive away. In the rearview mirror you see that his throat has been cut by a blade in a ghastly scene.

You speed towards the expressway followed by the fans which are hurdling after you. You manage to lose them. You drive to a gas station where you fill up the car and get coffee.

You get into the car and drive to a motel were you rent a room and turn on the news. A pretty blonde reporter reads your story.

“This bizarre story comes out of Denver, Colorado tonight. A computer in a house on Ogden Street began spitting out thousands of battery operated oscillating fans. The fans, which had, “Facebook” written on the blades, are now flying around the city causing injury and even death. The Washington Park neighborhood has been evacuated and the FBI is investigating the case.  Tonight via satellite we are joined by Thomas Pinner who works with Strange Phenomenon Investigations in Scotland.

“Hello, Dr. Pinner.”

“Hello, Tracy”

“Dr. Pinner, what could be casing this strange occurrence?”

“Well, Tracy there are several different thing that could cause it. It might be that someone ordered the fans, but did not select the appropriate method of delivery. It might be that someone ordered Facebook fans, with fans meaning fanatics and the software system simply misinterpreted the order.”

“Thank you Dr. Pinner,” The reporter said.

“No matter what caused the phenomenon, this event has taken a horrible toll on our city. School is canceled tomorrow, there will be no public transportation and the highways will be patrolled. The National Guard has been called out with orders to shoot the fans on sight.”

You order a pizza and explain what happened to your mother. She hugs you and tells you it is okay, you did nothing wrong, you are amazing. You smile to yourself, because you finally know it’s true.

The Ringtone

cell

Belinda lay in bed staring at the ceiling. That morning marked her third straight month of unemployment. She was reviewing all the interviews she had in her head and wondering what she did wrong. Her benefits would run out soon and they weren’t really enough to live off of. She realized she should probably plan on going to sell plasma that afternoon.

She heard her phone buzz and she fished it out from under the bed and looked at the text. “I might not make it tonight…may have to work, Bill” the message said. For a moment she was confused; she didn’t know a Bill, it was obviously a wrong number.

“I really want to do this, would tomorrow night work?

 

She chuckled a bit she wondered what the circumstances were. He was Identifying himself, so whoever he was texting was obviously new in his life or he would be programmed into the phone he was attempting to text. She wondered if it was a date, or maybe a special professional meeting.

“Let me know,” said the next message.

She realized that she should text him and tell him he had the wrong number. She decided she’d do it as soon as she officially got up. She fell back to sleep for a bit. Then she got out of bed made coffee and took a shower. While she was showering she imagined what Bill must look like. She envisioned someone not very handsome, but very well groomed. Possibly the sort to wear designer clothes, go to the gym daily and get $100 haircuts on his balding head. She was sipping the coffee and looking at Indeed.com when she heard her phone buzz again.

She picked up her phone to see yet another message from Bill.

“Please do let me know if you’re getting these texts,” the next message said.

‘God, desperate much,’ she thought.

“I got them,” she texted back.

“Cool, is tomorrow okay?”

“Are you sure you won’t have to work again,” she wrote back.

“Yes, this was a one time emergency. Thanks for being cool.”

She wondered if he was being sarcastic or if he was simply trying to kiss her ass.

“It’s just that I canceled plans for tonight.”

“It’ just that I can’t do six. I can do eight if I drive like a maniac?”

“eight is fine.”

“Still want to go to Zorba’s,” he asked.

“Tots” she wrote back with a wink and a smile.

She went back to applying for jobs and surfing the net. She walked to Walgreen’s and bought some Dryel sheet which she used to clean her best interview dress. She put it on and drove to Zorba’s where she arrived at 7:50.

The bar was sort of dead that night two old men sat at the bar not speaking to each other. There was a married couple having dinner and talking about their lawn behind her and there were two women at a booth chatting quietly. One of them, a pretty, thin brunette was devouring an enormous piece of cake and appeared to be quite drunk. Her plump blonde friend appeared to be comforting her. Belinda attempted to eavesdrop on their conversation.

“It’s better to find out now than once your actually..” the blonde’s voice drifted off into the distance.

Belinda strained to hear what the brunette said, but only heard part of it.

“…took one look and walked out?”

With this a tall thin man with brown, thinning hair walked into the bar. He was wearing a nice suit and seemed to be in a big rush. He glanced around the bar looking right past her as he went. He walked over to the two woman.

“Bethany,” he said to the Brunette just as she was stuffing a giant piece of ice cream and fudge covered cake into her wide open gape.

“Bill,” she said when she could speak.”

“I’m sorry, if I’m a little late there was traffic and..”

“A little late, try two hours.” The blonde said. “I’m sarah.”

“”I thought we said six,” Bethany said.

“No, I texted you and told you I couldn’t make it until eight?”

“I never got it. Why didn’t you just Facemail me?”
“I don’t know I thought that since you gave be your cell I should just text, besides I…”

”You know what, Bethany exclaimed. I really don’t want to hear it. I’m really sick of cyber dates that I never hear from again. And every single plan being tentative, and saying lets hang out instead of do you want to go out with me? I’m sick of saying ‘it’s no big deal’ when it is a big deal. I sick of sleeping with people and acting like I wasn’t expecting anything. I ‘m sick of it! How dare you be two hours late, you dumb schmuck! What’s with the suit? You want everyone to think you have money? Learn how to spell if you want to impress people.  I’ve never texted with anyone who made so many mistakes.

Bethany got up and through some money on the table. The two woman stormed out. Everyone stared at Bill. He checked his phone and pushed a button. Suddenly a National Anthem ringtone went off.  Belinda instinctively turned to reach into her purse, but then realized she couldn’t answer it. Bill hung up and dialed again, this time when the Anthem played he looked around the bar, his eyes landing on Bethany.

He hung up his phone and the ring tone stopped. There was dead silence in the bar everyone stared at Bethany as he began to walk towards her.