Some Things Are Better Left Buried
Fiction by Sherri Collins
“Time for you to go,” I say to my new Droid-Cyborg-Whatever-it’s-
called phone. I honestly tried to figure it out this time, really. But the sound effects, the apps, the screen that swishes to the side every time I touch it…why can’t I just make a freaking phone call? How can I trust something that is so much smarter than I am, it might actually develop the ability to reason and decide to kill me in my sleep? Oh, no, not on my watch.
I choose a spade from the gardening shed and take the phone out to the woods behind my house. I dig a hole next to the laptop’s grave and drop the miniature beast in, not even bothering with last rites. It sealed its fate when it asked me to choose between a wi-fi connection or Bluetooth and then wouldn’t connect to either. It knows what it did.
A few hours later, my husband arrives home with a slam of the door.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“I tried to call you at least a dozen times. I needed you to look for some files I forgot. Why didn’t you answer your phone?”
“What phone?! Your new phone. Your new, three-hundred-dollar phone. Where is it?”
“Oh, I don’t know,” I say. I know I am in the right, but still, something tells me that Jack wouldn’t quite understand my clever way of dealing with things. I don’t want to upset him with silly details. “I guess I lost it.”
“Lost it! How could you lose it? Did you even leave the house today?”
He pulls out his own demon box and begins pressing on the screen. I regard this suspiciously. “What are you doing?” I ask.
“Calling your phone.”
He listens for a ring that doesn’t happen. I glance toward the back door. Nope, nothing.
He sighs and presses another button. He shakes his head and mutters, “How do you always lose everything? I don’t understand…” He continues muttering as he walks out of the room. “The phone, the laptop, the tax forms, the car…”
I smirk. Oh, yeah, the car. That took some doing, I must say.
A week later, I am relaxing on the couch, excited to watch the Academy Awards Show. I know I set up the recording properly. The little red dot appeared next to the title and everything. I’m actually kind of proud of my success; I really am trying to do better. On the edge of my seat, I inhale and hold my breath through “And for Best Picture, the award goes to…” and then, what do I see? A window flash up that says “Delete or Save?” Noooooooooooo! How could this happen? How?!?!
I am carrying the DVR out the back door when Jack comes in the front. I freeze and stare at him, wide-eyed. He stares back at me like he doesn’t know what’s going on.
“What’s going on?” he asks.
“Nothing,” I say.
“What’s with the DVR?”
“Oh, for the love of…THAT DVR.” He points to my hands.
“It’s broken. I was just…taking a better look at it in the sunlight. That’s all.”
I can see doubt in his eyes as I motion toward the rain-drenched backyard. “I doubt that,” he says. “Where were you really taking it?”
“I don’t like your tone,” I say. “What are you suggesting?”
He crosses his arms. “Where. Were. You. Taking. It?”
That really does it. I can talk slowly, too, if that’s his game. “I. Can. Talk. Slowly. Too.”
Anger builds behind his eyes, and I know that I won’t be able to work my way out of this. “Are you really losing all these things or not?” he asks.
I glance down at the DVR, then out to the woods, where the leaves are dripping onto the ground. That soft, soft ground.
The next day, my neighbor stops by with some fresh tomatoes. “I tried to call first, but you didn’t answer,” he says.
“Oh, that’s okay. These are lovely. Thank you.”
“So, where’s your husband? I was going to show him my new lawn mower.”
I look up at him, wide-eyed. “What husband?”
Sherri Collins lives with her husband and cat in the foothills of Tennessee. Neither have confounded her enough to deserve a trip to the woods…yet.