J. Lawrence Ingram
Strictly Twilight Zone!
Roddy Silver was traveling from town to town. He'd been on a grueling two-week jaunt;
meeting with new prospects, and working his version of
the 'art of
the deal.' As with anyone who is
his cell phone was an integral part of his daily life, and
without it his abilities to communicate
would be hampered.
travels were half-way done as he brought the rental car back to the
He had a couple of hours
to make calls and see if he could go
'stand-by' for an earlier flight. As
began the long walk to the main airport terminal, he felt his
trusty cell phone vibrate, as a call was
coming in, and he fumbled for it while trying
to sling his laptop
bag from one shoulder to another. Just
the phone kept up it's nagging persistence of vibrating he
finally got the phone out of his pocket; to
drop it immediately in a dirty puddle of
water on the sidewalk.
He gingerly knelt down, as not to soil his clothing with
water, reached into the puddle and
picked up the cell phone.
He held it out with two fingers gripping each side, in total dismay, to
water had shorted out the phone.
He could imagine now, his contacts, his email, his text messages, had
but disappeared. His
life was in that phone! He couldn't
imagine how he would get back to
whoever it was who was trying to call. Maybe it was that client from today. Maybe
it was the client
for tomorrow, worse maybe it was the boss who demanded
almost hourly as sales revenue
was sagging for this fiscal quarter. What was he to do? How could Roddy
get back with his
He tried frantically to
restart the phone. He walked into the airport and instead of
getting into the
ticketing line he ran to the nearest restroom, grabbed
towels, and tried to perform what he
would revive the dead lump of plastic and electronics – formerly
known as his cell phone.
He laid out a paper towel next to the sink in the restroom. He took the battery cover off of the cell
took the battery out, and then ran the assorted parts
underneath a restroom hand dryer. He re-
the phone. Roddy
tried to start the phone, and it worked!
The smallish screen on the cell
phone showed a sign of life.
“C'mon... Turn on, damn it!
C'mon...” Roddy spoke to himself
with a certain subdued confidence.
But as his ray of hope brightened for only
a few seconds, as Roddy
watched as his cell phone just went
blank, and he repeated the process over and
over. He took the phone apart and tried the hand
trick again. He tried
cleaning the contacts for the battery.
He tried starting the phone again.
But, to no
avail, the cell phone bit the dust and with it, all of
man in a suit walked in to the restroom, and looked at
“Cell phone trouble?” He
“Yeah, I dropped it in a water puddle outside, and cant get it to
work again. I think it's totally
dead.” Silver replied;
looking to the other man as if the other man might have some sort of idea or
on how to bring the cell phone back from the dead.
“Let me see your phone.”
The other man asked, and Roddy Silver handed the phone over to him.
you try the hand dryer, and make sure the circuit board is
dry?” The man asked Silver while he
looked at the dead cell phone from different
angles as if
“Yes... I've done that
three times now, and nothing.” Silver
said in dispair.
“...try the contacts on the batteries?”
“That too. It fired for a
couple of seconds, and then went dead.”
Both men looked at the now dead shell of
a cell phone, as it
rested on the counter top next to the sink in
the airport restroom, in the same way they
might look in remorse
over the dead at a funeral wake. The
man looked at his watch as a way of signaling his
half of the conversation was over, and
was politely shining Roddy on.
“I have a plane to catch.”
The man said to Roddy.
“I do too, but damn it.
can I get a couple of calls in?” Roddy
“There's a cell phone kiosk out in the main terminal.
It won't be corporate service, but you could
up a disposable phone until you could get back home.”
The well-dressed man said with
luck with that Okay?”
“Thanks for the idea.
go look into that. Which way is that
kiosk?” Roddy asked.
of here; it's down past the food court on your
left. Take it easy out there
took his leave of Roddy Silver, the dead cell
phone debacle, and vanished in the
throng of people which most airport terminals
Roddy Silver looked at his watch, looked at the dead cell phone
and put it into his computer bag.
headed out of the mens restroom and started looking for the
cell phone kiosk. He walked down
the several places to get all sorts of food, and in the very
back he saw the cell phone Kiosk. He
the clerk who was about to go on a break -as most people
don't buy cell-phones at places like
this kiosk in airports.
clerk sort of rolled her eyes, and huffed as Silver's detriment was imposing
“See anything you like sir?
We have several plans and phones to choose from. I was about to go on
break...” The clerk said.
have to have a phone now...
do you have something... like a disposable phone I could use for
a few hours?” Roddy asked.
But you'll have to
buy the phone and an activation card with minutes.” The clerk winced at
Silver as she could see her girlfriends signaling to come to break
Silver looked down the rack of
disposable phones and one suddenly
caught his eye. “How much is that
one?” He asked. “How much are the minutes?”
“The phone is $39.95, and you can buy a couple of 300 hundred
minute cards for $25.00 each.” The
squared up the deal with Silver.
“I'll take it.
Can you help
me get it set up?” Silver asked as he
handed the clerk a well-worn
corporate credit card.
“I guess so... Please sign
Roddy Silver felt his world was getting better as he signed
credit card slip, and immediately started
getting the cell phone out of it's 'adult-proof'
packaging. He opened the directions sheet and began
charging the phone. The
clerk got the two minute cards ready to use.
She picked up her phone and
helped Silver with the process of calling
an activation number,
and pushing the various buttons on her
phone to complete the process.
She smiled a smile of accomplishment and handed the new disposable
to Roddy Silver.
“Thank you for your business sir, I'm going to go
now.” The clerk said as she began to
the cell phone kiosk down to go on her break.
Silver walked off into the sea of air travelers, and made his way
to the ticketing counter. He saw the
man who tried to help him in the mens restroom. The well-dressed man nodded to
“Got your phone...?” The
well-dressed man spoke while he continued towards his gate. Silver simply
held the new phone up so the well-dressed man could see while he
continued to walk towards his
airline's ticketing counter.
Silver never saw the well-dressed man again.
Roddy Silver walked up,
ahead of the fifty or so people who were
in a serpentine line for coach-class
His elite traveler
status gave him priority over the entire line, and there were nights like
where that comes in mighty handy. The ticketing agent looked up from his
signaled Silver to approach.
evening sir. Where
are you traveling to?”
while he put his bag down, got his identification out, and showed
his status card
to the agent.
“Welcome back Mr. Silver. I
have two options for you at this time.
You have a seven forty-five and
I'll put you on standby for that, and then
there's an eight
fifty-two that's your regular flight.”
“Excellent.” Silver said. “how
quick is security moving?”
“I don't know sir.”
Ticket Agent answered. “But if you get down there now you should make the
The ticketing agent handed Silver
his tickets, thanked Silver for
flying, and Silver walked off towards
the security screening area.
The new disposable cell phone rang, as Silver worked his way to the
Checkpoint. It had
a text message. Silver thought to
himself that it might be some sort of
thank you message, or annoyance of a marketing
message from the
cell phone's company. He didn't
it, or look at it, and moved into the serpentine throng of
people waiting to go through the
sighed in disappointment. Then, while he
had a few seconds in the security
line, he pulled the cell phone out of his
pocket to look at the
text message. Silver figured he'd just
the message as he navigated the cell phone's simple
interface. Then he saw the message, and
a button to open the message for reading. The message was a simple two-word message.
Silver looked up and right.
He saw the second screening line open, and jumped over to it. He was first
in line, and began the process of stripping his belt, shoes, and
other necessary items and place them in
He pulled the new
disposable cell phone from his pocket, looked at the message again and
After the regular
procedures of walking through the gauntlet of security he looked back at the
still in line. He
looked down at the cell phone, picked it up, and thought to himself he had a
best friend. He
gathered his belongings up and began to walk to the gate where his standby
was going to be.
He didn't understand
why the cell phone had given him a message,
or for that matter why it was only a
short two-word message at that; or for that
matter how he had
suddenly gotten it. What he did
was he was past an entire gaggle of crying babies in
strollers, people who don't travel much
who don't know when to get out all their
stuff for the security
screening, or the clueless who leave
change, their tickets and identification
or other stuff in their
pockets to hold the rest of the line up.
was just happy to have spare time to pop into the terminal sports
bar for a bite to eat. Silver was a
man with the simple comforts in a bustling airport. He walked into the sports
bar and plopped
himself down at the bar to watch the game and grab a quick
eat. The bartender spoke to Silver.
what'll it be?”
“How about a beer and a menu?”
“Coming right up.
want to start a tab?”
just passing through.”
The bartender left Roddy Silver with a menu, and went to
beer. The bartender was back almost
with a pint.
“Do you know
what you want?”
The bartender asked. “We have a
Silver closed the menu, looked to cut the bartender off
sentence, and said. “just bring me the
“That comes with fries
or you can change to a salad for two
dollars extra.” The bartender shot back
with an artificial smile.
“Blue Cheese, Ranch, House, or Honey Mustard.”
Silver, who knew
he'd been closed, answered, “Honey Mustard,
The bartender gathered the menu,
placed a rolled napkin of eating utensils next to Silver, as well as a
lazy susan of
condiments on the bar as well.
“Your order will be out shortly.”
said back as his new cell phone vibrated again.
Silver wondered what or
who could possibly be calling him. It must be someone's old phone number.
None the less, the new disposable cell phone
attention. It was displaying it had a
message. Silver opened
up the message on the new disposable cell phone. It said:
Silver looked up and turned to look around
the bar, and
nothing. He figured the first message
merely a fluke and paid it no mind, until the most beautiful,
well-dressed business woman walked into
the sports bar, and turned the heads of every
business man in the
place. She walked to the opposite end
the bar from Silver and began the process of putting her
baggage down and sitting. As she sat and
crossed her legs, Silver noticed she was wearing purple stiletto
high heals. She paid no mind to any of
men, but smiled a gleaming smile at the bar keep who doaded
over her with anything she requested.
Silver looked at the beautiful woman, her
shoes, and looked back
at the message on the new disposable
figure out why the cell phone kept sending him short messages like this, or
every time the cell phone sent him a message it was for something
about to happen around him. He
it off as the bartender brought out his food in a hurry,
as the beautiful business woman began
to take up a lot of the bartenders time.
“Anything else I can get for you sir?” The bartender asked
“Not for now, but I'll let you know.
In fact, why don't you just bring me the tab
now, so I can
close it out.” Silver
“Be right back...” The
bartender turned and walked to the middle of the bar to a touch-screen
couldn't get half-way through the processing of Silver's meal bill without
to look back and see if the Business Lady in the purple
shoes needed anything, or wanted a refill
of her glass.
finally got Silver his bill, and Silver in an almost mechanical way handed
bartender back a credit card to process on the spot.
“Here, I need to
get out of here.” Roddy Silver said as he looked
not at his watch, but at his new
disposable cell phone's screen for the time.
The bartender went back to his touch-screen computer to complete
the transaction, while Silver
finished his sandwich, took one last good
look at the legs of the
Business Woman, gathered his
belongings and headed out of the sports bar
towards his gate. The disposable cell phone vibrated