11 January, 2013

Flash Fiction: Waiting Game

Dalek Snow
Image: Dalek Snow, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Jeffery_2010's Photostream

While this photo prompt partly inspired this flash fiction, it really kicked into gear after reading a Charlie Brooker article where he talks about the future of toys. With Flash Fiction Project starting up the January Shenanigans challenge in a few days, I thought I'd get some early practice in.

           Andy and Mark spent the evening watching reports on the new Mickey Mouse doll; the battery powered dance machine that was a wish come true for some. Mark was baffled by its antics, “What’s it doin’? There’s no way it can do the Gangnam Style!”

    Andy looked down at his phone. His eyes narrowed at the screen, the loading bar teasing him just by being there. Even Mark’s dismay at the toy lineup did not scare him away.

    “Wow! They really went to town on these Easy Meals,” he said. The commercial went on about their new sauce grinder and Twinkie alternatives. Andy just mumbled at his phone.

    Then some more commercials came and went; valets for your snowmobile, a pop artist’s latest album, some chocolate candy, and so on. Mark, tired of being on the soapbox of consumerism, tried to look over Andy’s shoulder. His phone was still the center of attention even if the bar’s only 46 percent full.

    Unfortunately, Mark couldn’t read anything on the screen, battling the force of Andy’s shoulder.

    “What was that for,” He asked. “I was only trying to-”

    Andy shushed him and continued to stare at his mobile, now at the 60 percent mark. A daytime show was airing, the host sitting in his easy chair while a couple argued about commitments. Mark had no intention of listening to a cheating dilemma alone. He switched channels and proceeded to inundate his eyes with Peter Cushing and the sounds of alien invasion running through his ears.

    They remained at their separate screens for a long while, neither one saying a word. That silence was broken by Andy who clenched his fist in a moment of discovery and shouted enthusiastically.

    Mark turned around and out from his trance, “You’re finished with Ocean’s 11?”

    “Even better,” Andy said. “I’ve finished downloading The Men Who Stare at Goats! Now I can finally rest knowing that I can watch a George Clooney film without having to battle my way through road crossings, public transport, and lines to get to that precious Redbox.”

    Mark pointed to a console, “But isn’t that why I got you that Apple TV?”

    Andy placed his phone down on the coffee table and sighed heavily. In that struggle he forgot about Christmas and, more importantly, Christmas shopping. He wrote a list the following day and went out armed with gift cards for various department stores.

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