Twisted Tales

by Richard Campbell

The Proverbial Defense

"It's the best one ever," Littan exclaimed excitedly as he displayed his latest acquisition. "Just look what it can do and it comes with hundreds of apps. Phone me now so that you can hear how well it talks."

His companion sighed and pulled out his own mobile. After a few seconds Littan's Iphone said in a nasty voice, as if resenting having to take the call at all, 'Joe on the line, calling on . . . (Joe would have sworn that it sneered before continuing in a snooty voice). . . an old Samsung. Do you want to take the call?' Its tone implied that it might be a good thing if Littan didn't. Joe suppressed a grin. He loved it when his ancient mobile annoyed one of the later models.

"Did you hear that?" squawked Littan. "All I have to do is say 'no', and it ends the call. No," he ordered, a little more loudly as Joe hid another grin. "It really is the best one ever."

Every iphone Littan had ever owned was the 'best one ever'. How many had it been so far? Joe tried to remember. The first had been an iphone175 he recalled and now they were up to the 1261. And each time he'd been forced to endure Littan's enthusiastic description of the machine's capabilities. It was tiring although not as bad as the conversation that followed when Littan tried to talk him into getting one himself.

Okay, so Apple was the biggest company on the planet and had a virtual monopoly of communications after they had driven their rivals out of business. But Joe hated Apple, always had, always would, and refused to give any of their offerings houseroom. However, fighting off the enthusiasts who loved the over-priced products (or had been brainwashed by aggressive advertising into believing that they loved them), and couldn't wait to drag him into the fold, was almost a fulltime occupation. He also took great care to avoid the Applegangs which roamed the streets searching for anyone who didn't conform.

You had to be careful what you said as well. Everyone knew that the Mega company built spyware into each and every product. This was the reason he always listened to Littan and agreed enthusiastically with every word he said before announcing that he was just waiting to get the very latest (and most expensive) model he could afford. But, sadly, with his poor credit rating it was a little difficult. Still, although it wasn't cheap, he'd heard good things about the iphone1266 and as it wouldn't be on the market for a couple of weeks, he was hoping…!

"They are a little pricey," Littan conceded reluctantly, "But just think what you'll be able to do when you have it, and the apps are not really expensive."

Not if you don't buy several hundred of them, Joe muttered under his breath.

"What?" Littan asked. He'd been admiring the object in his hand and not really listening. Fortunately, he seldom really listened.

"I asked why it's making that noise."

The device had started to beep in a particularly irritating manner.

"Oh that really brilliant," Littan remarked after touching the screen briefly. "It counts the number of steps you take and tells you when you need new shoes. It's saying I need new ones right now."

"I thought you got the ones you're wearing last week."

"Well they don't last forever, you know. Nothing lasts forever!" He glanced at Joe's comfortably worn footwear reproachfully. "It even monitors the way you walk and recommends the best type of shoe to suit you. Look!" He shoved the phone aggressively at Joe who saw the logo for the most expensive trainers on the market taking up most of the screen.

"Don't waste any time getting your new shoes, Littan," the phone begged in a whiny voice, "Worn out trainers can do terrible things to your feet and there's a shop just a minute from here where the sales people will be delighted to help you choose exactly the right ones to suit your lifestyle. You will also," it continued in a confidential tone, "Get a discount if you hurry, and you'll have top of the range trainers before any of your friends. But you must hurry, this amazing offer only lasts for a few more minutes, in fact you only just have time to get to the shop before it expires and then where will you be? Stuck with old, worn out trainers that your friends wouldn't be seen dead in. Please don't let that happen, you will be so embarrassed! Simply turn to your right and walk quickly in the direction of… "

Thankfully, Joe watched him move out of sight at a rapid trot. That so called offer would still be there tomorrow, or even the day after, he thought cynically as his own cheap and cheerful phone, which couldn't talk and had no apps, chimed discreetly.

It was one of his few remaining friends calling to let him know that he was unexpectedly tied up but would meet him a little later than planned.

It wasn't a problem, in fact it suited him as he could go to the doctor first. It would be the fourth time this week he recalled, pleased with himself, although to be honest it was becoming difficult to find yet another medical problem. He'd already used most of the symptoms which justified a visit to the surgery without being sufficiently serious to affect his lifestyle. In fact he'd probably have to find another doctor soon so that he could go through the entire list again.

He wasn't a hypochondriac, he simply followed the sage advice that had been handed down from generation to generation. It might be an old wives tale but it definitely seemed to work. He smiled gratefully as he muttered the mantra, something he did at least once every day:

'A Doctor a day keeps the Apple away.'

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