Posted on: February 5th, 2012 The New Phone
The phones had not always been grown in sun-labs along the Sri Lankan coast. But nowadays, when they warm up, they smell of curry, and of salt air, and of summer days.
The first units were bulky, ugly table top sets, like two toaster ovens wired to a car battery and a CB handset, the whole jumble painted standard-issue OD green and stenciled in block Kangi. The Japanese had developed them as emergency communicators for their coast guard, future to past.
Calls were restricted, officer-to-officer, preferably one man to himself, and only on the limited topic of import. No one was clear as to the implications of these warnings and everyone was universally worried: Tokyo, Washington, London, The Brisbane Commonwealth, Singapore, Kinshasa. But you could only call back to the same unit as it existed in the past. So, figure everything is localized. Shrug.
And it had saved lives. It had been used secretly in a few brush wars along the coast of Mexico during the invasion in ’37, and nothing untoward had happened.
Or at least no one had reported anything strange.
At the Battle of El Paso, as Somali Grenadiers marched through the streets, a thousand local Texas Regulars were saved what seems to have been three times in a row as they worked through several ambush strategies live and with full TRPM kit at hand. Of course, it’s hard to say, but the recordings now show the Texas Regulars swooping down on black gliders, their rifles loaded for bear with depleted uranium cased shells, their music grenades detonating flashes of Aaron Copeland in cascading sonic flickers.
It was Vasilev Wang, the famous leader of the People’s Corporate Ukrainian University, who developed a strategy for growing the boards, and to spoof the tachyon signature, making phone-to-phone calls possible across time.
Cheaper. More robust. Consumer grade.
Firefighters bought them. Search and rescue teams. Hospitals were required, by the Temporal Convention of 2053, to have one in every surgery and every triage center.
Then celebrities bought them.
And the rich.
And yuppies, and tired parents, and teenagers. And the costs came down. And finally people just started calling themselves.
Have you ever masturbated with a thousand other yous on the phone?
In the future, we will all be having sex with the prom queen. We will all have red horses to ride off into the plains and have adventures. Beautiful explosions will accompany our love-making. Fire that opens up in the air like the petals of a terrible flower.
In the future, we’ll make a point of calling ourselves back everyday to lie about the recent past, to sugar coat the unpleasantness.
I have been told that I have only had sex once so far since buying the phone, but she and I both wore wireless headsets at the time, taking calls from all selves at all times. I forget her name, but in the moment of passion, as we locked together:
“Uh huh, exactly. Yes. It is exactly. Right. There. Yes. And move that button on your blouse, it will give you a scar if you leave it that way. Oh. Yes. To the back of the cupboard. Stop it. No. Yes. Please.”
Once is enough. Once is for always.
The dominant power on earth is Congo. They have refused our repeated offer of TRPM phones, even free offers, free air-time time-time minutes, even subsidies for taking them. They smile. They hold up a hand to thank us. They shake their heads. But they are kind rulers, the Congolese. They leave us with our phones.
There are a thousand tiny holes in the air, and from out of those holes a billion electric bats have erupted, and at the center of the city, as the density of phones increase, the sky flips from blue to orange, and from orange to a white black, and out of the gaping maw of the starless night, there are unspoken sounds, music which plays inside of your eyes, and the writhing, shimmering, undulating, glimmering, twisted teseract creatures, who unfold inside of your skull as they walk through your torso, have spread out mathematically from a singularity inside of city hall.
The dimensionless Other licks out across the landscape like a cool blue fire.
And from out of the ovoid gap between moments, a Crystaline He steps forth.
He is beautiful.
But it is silly to resist. It has always been this way. Always.
2 Responses to “The New Phone”
Free SF/F/H Fiction for 2/8/2012 - SF Signal – A Speculative Fiction Blog Says:
February 7th, 2012 at 10:14 pm
[...] Harvest: “The New Phone” byÂ David Erik Nelson and Fritz [...]
The Great Geek Manual » Free Fiction Round-Up: February 7, 2012 Says:
February 22nd, 2012 at 6:31 am
[...] Read the flash fiction “The New Phone” by David Erik Nelson and Fritz Swanson. [...]