I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Excerpt: I Hate Cell Phones

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
I Hate Cell Phones
by Mike Ronny

Plot Summary:

All his life, Rodney “Red” Daley loved building bombs. Now, however, this retired weapons expert is in an assisted living home. Forced to play Bingo and checkers all day, Red attempts a daring escape. It’s no use. But then Red gets his hands on some wires, and a battery, and a timing device….

Book Excerpt:

I wake up at seven-thirty and I feel like buildin’ a bomb. I’m good at buildin’ bombs, the way some guys are good at playin’ football or strummin’ on the guitar. I haven’t made any actual bombs since I retired, but I could always pick up some things at the hardware store and create a nice explosive device right here in the apartment. But what I decide to do instead, once I shower and eat oatmeal, is walk in Boston Common. Most beautiful park in the world, and practically my backyard. At nine-thirty I’m ready to go, ‘cause I’m finished readin’ the obituaries and the nurse ain’t comin’ today. This nurse checks up on me a few times a week – don’t know why, she don’t do me much good. She just makes sure I swallow my pills, but I don’t mind her comin’ ‘cause her skirt’s always short.

I take off my robe and pull up my pants and I see the cell phone on the kitchen floor. So I pick up the phone and throw it against the wall ‘cause I don’t know how to use it and cell phones are stupid. I hate cell phones. Don’t know why my son even bought it for me.

I open my door and look down the hall and make sure no one’s comin’ out – don’t like sayin’ hi to them nosy neighbors. The coast’s clear and I make my way with my cane. It’s a warm March day and as soon as I step on the stoop I’m thankful I forgot to put on a coat ‘cause the air’s makin’ my muscles feel alive.

My first stop’s that cemetery facin’ Boylston Street. They got plots there filled for hundreds of years, and skinny gravestones so faded you gotta squint to make out the names. I always feel smug walkin’ there, can’t help smilin’. Sometimes I’ll say out loud: “How you boys doin’ today?” Don’t know why I should feel so smug; I’ll be joinin’ those fellas soon enough.

I leave the cemetery and I’m walkin’ the main path through the park and these squirrels start accostin’ me. They run up to my loafers and get on their hind legs and stare at me with puppy-dog eyes. That’s the thing about city squirrels: no fear. People feed ‘em when they’re not supposed to, so those animals look at everyone goin’ by like they’re a food bank.

I walk down the path some more and I see a few women in tight pants and a guy also in tight pants, and they’re doin’ stretchin’ exercises. What’re them things called? Yogurt, or something. Yeah, yoga, that’s it. So this guy’s standin’ on one leg, like he’s a flamingo, and his other leg’s stickin’ out straight and his ass is on display for everyone, and I think, what’s this guy tryin’ to prove? This is disgusting. So I get an idea. I make like I’m losin’ my balance, and I reach my hands out and grab this guy’s shoe that’s in the air and I give him a nice shove. He falls forward and his face hits the dirt. The girls rush round him to see if he’s hurt his precious self.

“Sorry about that!” I yell. I walk away laughin’. That was a good one.

I sit on a bench now ‘cause I been walkin’ for fifteen minutes and obviously I’m tuckered out. I watch folks passin’ by – they’re all on their damn cell phones. Not just kids, either, but old fools like me. Their eyes are glued to them things. I betchya most of them people yappin’ away all day haven’t said a single worthwhile thing in the last five years.

And then this kid, this oily kid in his twenties, sits next to me. He’s wearin’ a wool hat like it’s January. He’s got sandals and a beard, too, and I start laughin’ ‘cause I think: gee, this guy prob’ly thinks he looks good.

“Hello,” he says.

“Yeah, hello to you.” I look straight ahead and hope he goes away, but he sticks some kinda paper out at me instead.

“Care to sign my petition? I’m advocating for the forgiveness of student loans.” I keep lookin’ straight, but he doesn’t go away. Instead he says: “My name’s Morris. I’m an advocate for social justice.”

“And I’m an old man. Leave me alone.”

“Sir, have you ever considered the rising interest levels on student loans that are shackling the youth of today? If these loans were forgiven, young people could start fresh. This simple act would stimulate the economy and….”

I look at him. “Wait, you’re doin’ the what for the who?”

“Student loans. We want them to be forgiven.”

“Forgiven by who? The pope?”

“The government could bail students out.”

“On what grounds?”

“On the grounds that the students who signed these loans….”

“Lemme get this straight: when I was a young fella, and I slaved away at two jobs till my eyeballs bled at night so I could pay my mortgage, you’re sayin’ what I shoulda done instead was grow a beard and go to the park and have people sign some paper sayin’ they should forget about my mortgage?”

“Sir, the reason we have such income disparity in this country today….”

I grab my cane and start pokin’ him all over with it.

“Knock it off!” he says. “Ow! Ow!”

“Get that bullshit away from me. Go! Go!”

Share this post: Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This Share on Google Plus Share on Tumblr
Scroll Up

0 comments: Comments

Post a Comment