THE laptop lay in a jealous sleep on the sofa opposite. It cast a beady red eye in my vicinity that flashed on and off. Meanwhile I gripped my newest acquisition tenderly in both hands, its fresh faced screen lighting up my face, outshining the pitiful eco-bulb dangling shamelessly from the ceiling. Its knowledge knows no bounds. Accessible anywhere. Portable. Lightweight. It was hard to resist the allure of this younger model. Tablets, I could overdose on tablets…
Mid-swipe I heard the familiar vibration of my phone and high pitched squeak as it obediently alerted me to a message. I instictively grabbed it off the table, incapable of leaving the uncertainty alone for more than a second or two.
INBOX: RICK: STILL COMING TO POKER NIGHT?
Thumbs raced across the touchscreen keyboard, well trained, tendons rippling from years of working out, yet capable of the deftest and lightest touches, gracefully brushing against thin glass.
OUTBOX: GLEN: DEFO, C U SOON
1.27 seconds from table to hand to send.
After grabbing a half eaten pie I put my coat on. With my keys, and wallet on my person I felt ready to exit, but not before one more look at my babies – laptop and tablet on opposite sofas slumbered contently.
As I walked down all 136 of the steps from my flat I couldnt help think I’d forgotten something, like a piece of me had been left behind. Never mind. This was poker night, I’d clean up as usual punishing the idiots who thought they were Phil Ivey, or Tom Dwan, the ‘Dwannabe’s’.
After over five hours of play and a few whiskies I hadn’t won a lick, not a penny. I discovered that I’d left my phone at home, a fact that chilled me to the core and certainly a factor in my terrible play at the table. Awkward moments once dealt with by glancing pointlessly at a phone had been enhanced. I had actually been forced to converse with some strangers.
I turned the keys in the locks. Relief flooded over me in conjunction with the hall light. There’s no place like home. I sauntered through to the living room, taking my jacket off in the process, letting it fall to the floor. My hand reached to the familiar spot on the other side of the wall feeling for the switch, fingers expertly flicking it on.
My body stiffened, air became hard to breathe. Had I been burgled? Surprise turned to anger. What the fuck?
And there in the middle of the living room was a pile of mangled circuitry, multicoloured wires, and shards of glass amidst the wreckage of the cheap pine coffee table. My hand quickly shot down to my jeans pocket. Then the other one. Then the jacket one. Then…I remembered, it was on the sofa. I had to call the police.
But it was nowhere to be found. Nervously, I began to inspect the mangled pile of technology. Chunks of keyboard lay strewn across the carpet. The severed back of my phone was missing its other half. The tablets screen was twisted and warped. All of my prized possessions had been blitzed. Even the sim card was somehow torn in two. Who the hell would do this? I dont have insurance. I need them! My life revolves around them! Fuuuckk!!
And that’s when I noticed the strangest thing. The TV remote had been placed neatly right next to the indentation where I sat as if waiting to be used. I looked at the TV. The blue standby light flickered then abruptly dissapeared. I moved past the mess and looked at the plug outlet behind the sofa. To my horror it wasn’t even on..