Nomophobia

Was that a tremor of a curtain in a darkened window? No matter. A pivot, a leap, and I’m over the garden fence. A shimmy and a jump take me on top of the shed. I listen for the sound of pursuers, for the creak of a back door opening as someone checks that all is well. There is nothing but the warm night air pressing in on my eardrums.

My objective is still above me, but for a moment I look not up, but out. I feel like Dick Van Dyke taking in Victorian London, but instead of soot-stained chimneys and greasy roof tiles I have row upon row of bristling satellite dishes and TV aerials, their angles cocked at the skies to hear the better.

How has it come to this?

I wipe my hands on my trousers and take a firm grip of the satellite dish. One, two, three heaves brings it away from the wall. Brick dust sprinkles over the driveway below me, followed by the clatter of the dish as it cartwheels into the road. It stops in front of a police car. Torchlight swivels from the patrol car window, fumbling over the rooftops before finding me. They know who they’re looking for – the same man they’ve caught tearing satellite equipment from houses every night this week. No matter. My work here is done.

In a few hours that family will wake. They’ll reach for their mobiles, their television remotes. They’ll ask for Alexa. They’ll tap away at their laptops. Eventually they will conclude that they have no choice but to converse, at least in the short term. Perhaps teenagers will scuttle down from their bedrooms. Maybe parents will concern themselves with what their children have planned for the upcoming day instead of what some politician did in London yesterday. If I’m lucky, they’ll remember what it is to construct sentences, to be curious about each other.

Of course, they will need something to be curious about. Fear not nomophobics, for I have provided once again. What could be more conversation-provoking, after all, than a night prowler loose on the rooftops. My crimes will provide a spark, a fire to set those tongues wagging.

Chim Chim Cheroo.

 


Matthew Richardson is a writer of short stories. His work has featured in Gold Dust magazine, Literally Stories, Near to the Knuckle, McStorytellers, Penny Shorts, Soft Cartel, and Shooter magazine. He is an absentee member of the Glasgow Writers Group, a PhD student at the University of Dundee, a lucky husband, and a proud father.

Not necessarily in that order

https://twitter.com/mjrichardso0

 

N33DL3SS THING5

As I get older and more curmudgeonly, I find that my list of things that unaccountably irritate me is growing. As such, I find it useful to explore these newfound prejudices. Why is it that the postman leaving rubber bands by my front door induces such apoplexy? Where has my teenage nonchalance gone when it comes to double parking or cold calling from PPI companies?

Today it is the turn of private registration plates. Why should the fact that someone wish to change an identification number on their car irritate me? Is it because I can’t justify the expense of changing my own VRM? Perhaps it is a sense of unworthiness; should I be offering to take the keys of the drivers of such vehicles? Running a shammy over the bonnet before handing it back to a tuxedo-clad punter after they’ve spent an evening at the craps table?

It occurs to me that there are four reasons one might choose to have a personalised number plate. These are listed below in decreasing order of acceptability to my prematurely-aged brain. Continue reading “N33DL3SS THING5”

Alone Amongst the Beasts

It was big enough for a grizzly but not the right shape. Too wide for a deer and not well enough defined to be a cougar. There was no frosting on the mud – whatever had made the tracks was close. Travis blew into his hands and shouldered his shotgun. Only a pale grey glow was left lingering above the treeline, the remnant of a sun long-set. He began to trudge up the forest trail again, breath clouding over his shoulder in the cold air. Continue reading “Alone Amongst the Beasts”

The Strain of Writing

The strain was beginning to tell on Marcie. She had gone through dry spells before; every author did. This was different, though. It had been nine weeks and four days since the flashing cursor on her laptop screen had edged eastwards.

Marcie had tried every time-honoured, hippie-blessed, sing-in-a-circle-kum-bye-ah cure that internet search engines could be sent to fetch. Nothing had worked. Continue reading “The Strain of Writing”

A Part of the Family

Sometimes I wonder if I’m in the right family, I really do. I’ll sit here in the evenings with everyone around me, eager to shoot the breeze, keen to discuss the day’s goings on. Not for them, though. They’ll sit there, mouths hanging open, guts spilling over the sides of sofas, expressions glaikit as they chew their way through a Chinese or an Indian or a fish supper. Continue reading “A Part of the Family”