Mobile Elephant By Anna Frey

November 6, 2014 Comments Off on Mobile Elephant By Anna Frey

I found a picture of an elephant on my mobile phone when I was searching for a photo I took of my mother just last week. The elephant was silver-grey and had only one ear. I called mother:

“When did I go to Mozambique?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t know. You don’t tell me half as much as I’d like to know.”

I promised her the photo she’d requested soon enough and then called my older brother.

“Did you put an image of an elephant on my phone?”

“Don’t be stupid, little one! I don’t even like animals.”

I scratched my head and went through my photo folder once again. The elephant had multiplied. Four images of it now neatly lined up on the screen.

“That’s ridiculous,” I exclaimed. I opened up the first and hit ‘delete’. Nothing happened. So I attempted number two and number three, but they would not disappear. I called my friend at work.

“Dude, are you pulling a practical joke on me?”

“What kind?”

“Anything with an elephant?”

“I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.”

I hung up to find the amount of elephants had grown exponentially. Eight. I searched the Yellow Pages for the number of the mobile phone provider. When I returned, the elephants were 16 strong. I hit ‘delete’ again. No change. I would delete a different picture all together — the one of my brother’s newborn child. It vanished. I returned to one of the elephants. Delete. It was still there. I grew frantic, deleting older images at random. And all the while, the elephants bred and spread out across my screen. The photo of Mother. Delete.

“Fuck,” I yelled.

I dialed the number of the mobile operator, punched in my customer identity, answered three security questions, and waited until an Indian accent asked in broken English:

“How may help you today, Sir?”

“Is there something going on with elephants on your network?” I hear Indians like elephants.

“Elephants?”

“Yes, elephants.”

“No, nothing, sir. Our systems are working perfect as usual. I see no elephants sitting on the wires. May I suggest you don’t leave phone lying around for elephant to play with?”

“No, no, no. An elephant isn’t playing with my phone. It is appearing in my picture folder, multiplying as we speak — automatically.”

“I see. Please hold.”

A pop song I never heard before jingled down the line. When it finished, a lower voice with the same accent answered.

“Hello, Sir?”

“Yes.”

“I hear you have elephants on phone.”

“Yes.”

“That is very strange, you know.”

“I know.”

“Just last week we had customer who went crazy over elephants on phone.”

“What happened to him?”

“He shot himself.”

“He committed suicide?”

“Yes.”

“Why didn’t you just give him a new phone?” I yelled.

“He did have no insurance. Always buy insurance, sir! Always! It’s on offer right now.”

© 2014 Anna Frey

Anna Frey is a London-based writer who mostly writes flash fiction, short stories and novels. She currently works on her second novel, besides a collection of flash fiction. Anna works as a freelance editor in the city. She regularly loses her mobile phone and has considered purchasing an insurance plan for the next one.

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