Always ruining things. Here’s what we came up with when asked to write about when technology got in the way…
Ollie Looked at the Ring – by Mike Moss
Ollie looked at the ring one more time before he called. He had wanted to do it in person but had been called away on urgent business. Still, a proposal is a proposal. Anyway, not everyone proposes from a private jet flying at 30,000 feet. He checked the wifi, and pressed the Facetime call button. Emily’s face lit up the screen and his day.
‘Hi, Em, I have something important to say so let me say it. We’ve been going out for two years now, and I’ve had enough of just being girlfriend and boyfriend.’ Ollie snapped open the ring case. The overnight lights glinted in the huge diamond. ‘Will you marry me?’
Em is clearly shocked, thought Ollie. She hasn’t moved.
‘Em? Blast, the screen’s frozen.’ Ollie looked at the wifi signal. Gone. He sat back and wondered how much of that she had heard. He would call back in a few minutes.
Emily’s mother heard Emily sobbing in her bedroom.
‘Emily, are you alright? Can I come in?’ She pushed the door open to see Emily stretched out on her bed, crying.
‘What’s the matter, darling?’
Between sobs, Emily managed to explain. ‘Ollie called me. He said,’ sob. ‘That we’ve been going out for two years now, and he’s had enough,’ sob, sob, ‘and then he cut me off.’ Howl.
Avec Plaisir by Phil Appleton
The sky was a cloudless azure, with the slapping of the coastal waters on the car ferry sides the loudest sound to interfere with Michael’s gaze at Sonja’s profile. She looked magnificent as she stared out to the French port of St Malo with the docking procedure under way, dark brown hair topping her flawless, olive skin tone with the figure of a gymnast settled comfortably under a light green summer dress.
When he had been introduced to her, Michael knew he could find no better companion. The agency had done its job seamlessly from initial enquiry to delivery. From the first smile that Sonja had shone towards him to the quiet conversations in his English country home, the affection, respect and love between them had grown until he was ready to propose.
They would take separate first class cabins on the boat, to maintain and save their passion for their first night together. They had breakfasted alone, he nervous that all his meticulous planning would come to nothing, while she remained completely trusting and untroubled.
And so it came to pass, that Michael’s dream of romance was fulfilled in their journey together, through the roads of rural France to his family’s retreat deep in the Brittany countryside. Everything was set: dinner collected from the local restaurant, the sun setting over the garden pond, and fresh sheets on the bed.
It only needed for Sonja to take her final charge for the night before Michael would hold her in his arms for the first time and consummate his plan of perfection. Which was when he realised that he hadn’t brought an adapter for the French two-pin plugs.
SLAYED – A Dreamscape Story by Kanthé
In my dream, I am riding a kid’s pushbike with a flat front tyre and very narrow handlebars. I am making my way from my In-laws place in Wolverhampton to Telford – a distance of barely 17 miles on a disabled bike. For something very important. I think this is what they call an anxiety dream.
On the corner of Lea Road and Retreat Street, I am distracted by two guys busking, as if for penny change. It’s Noddy Holder and Dave Hill – the two most recognisable members of 70’s glam rock band SLADE. A local band that has had 6 UK Number 1s including the perennial Merry Xmas Everybody and has been named the most successful band of the seventies. Why these wealthy individuals would feel the need to busk is governed by dream logic – as is the fact that they look exactly the same as they did 50 years ago.
I think: WOW – Slade busking in Wolves – when am I ever gonna see that again! Noddy in his mirrored Top Hat; Dave with his still ridiculous fringe and rabbit teeth. I whip out my white I-phone to capture this remarkable moment. But a smartphone is not like a camera where you point and click. With a phone – you need to put in the access code. I try to remember the code, try to find the right screen with the right symbol as my phone blips and bleeps at my feeble attempts. Laughing at me.
Noddy and Dave are already packing up due to them having an audience of just me. I try to keep them talking while my fingers press all the available keys to activate the camera function. All to no avail.
I tell them I’m such a fan. They ask me which is my favourite Slade song. None springs to mind. They give me a dirty Black Country look and disappear. I hate the technology that has failed me. I feel SLAYED…by Slade.
Say no to 5G by Vivien Eden
“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes. As soon as I get there, mic me up and I’ll do the sound check. What time are the delegates arriving?”
“They’re not supposed to be here until nine-thirty, but I’ve seen some in the foyer already. Do you think we’ll have time for one quick run through of the fintech slides?”
“Not a chance. I’m going to have to wing it. What the…?!” Matt slammed on his brake with both feet. A dreadful noise rang in his ears. The car skidded and eventually stopped, leaving his forehead a mere inch from the windscreen. Time hovered. He slammed unceremoniously back into his seat. The line went dead.
“Shit, shit!” Matt clutched his heaving chest with his right hand. His heartbeat was accelerating to a level he didn’t think possible – as if it had decided to live somewhere else and was moving out by brutally bashing its way out through his ribcage.
A dreamlike sensation descended, yet his instincts knew that if ever there was a time… He switched the hazard warning lights on. A clicking noise played on repeat. Somewhere he could hear cheering.
The driver from the vehicle behind was knocking on the window.
“Oh my God! Are you OK?!”
Matt took in the sight of the severed mobile mast lying across the road before him. The voices approached:
Say no to 5G! Say no to 5G!
On The Beach by Robyn Kayes
Sunny day, blue sky, lying on the beach under an umbrella, surf-board ready for the waves. Early in the morning, it is peaceful and quiet; no one around except for a couple of runners. I continue reading my book, deep in another world.
“Answer the phone, damn it!”
I jerk my head up, out of the story as I hear the yelling from someone further down the beach.
“Oops! Sorry!” I shout, as my phone rings on. Hastily, I grab it, fumbling to silence the irritation.
Photo by Alex Knight