Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Insomniac, Part 8

Harold sat on the toilet in a stall in the restroom at work, playing Scramble on his phone.  His pants pooled around his ankles.  He played the game against some Facebook friends, though he'd long since abandoned even looking at Facebook.  He had a Facebook app on his phone, but it only got his attention when he waited in a doctor's office or for his tires to be changed.  Too many people wrote comments like 'That's cool' or 'Way to go.'  It bored him and the updates people posted were pretty inane too.  He never had learned to opt out of getting a Farmville update every time one of his friends fed his pig.  Harold had also stopped carrying a book to the doctor's office or to the toilet.  Who needed a book these days?

He liked the games on his phone.  His favorite was Scramble, but he also played Words with Friends and a free version of Blackjack.  When he played blackjack, he imagined himself at a $100 table in Las Vegas, a beautiful woman in a little black dress hanging on his every move. 

He found the word 'cerulean' in his Scramble game.  That must have been his best word ever.  He wondered if he could monitor the bowel habits of his friends based on when his phone beeped.  The constant beeping and buzzing all day and all night drove him nuts, but he liked playing the games. He laughed out loud, imagining Prat32 on the toilet while she played. Someone he hadn't noticed was in the restroom turned on the water and pulled a paper towel off the roll. 

His phone buzzed and interrupted his game to show him a text.  He never answered the phone while he was on the toilet, but he had no excuses to ignore texts.  Still, there was some part of him that felt self-conscious, as if the person might be able to see and hear as he typed his answer.  It was something from Roger just down the hall.  How the hell had Roger gotten his cell phone number?  He didn't remember giving it to him, but then, he didn't remember a lot of details like that.  It didn't work to ignore the texts anyway. Roger could send him three or four texts in the time it took him to pee and wash his hands. Victoria was like that too, but only when she wanted something. Hilly barely knew he carried a phone in his backpack. He never returned calls and he never texted.  That boy's way was better than Victoria's.  Anne never texted and hardly called.  Anne emailed.  She even emailed pick up and transfer times for the kids, then complained to Harold if he missed the information.  He'd tried telling her that he got about 85 useless emails a day, but that just made her madder.  Everything made Anne mad when it came to Harold.

Someone walked into the bathroom.  Harold silenced his phone, but it was too late.  The bells and jingles had been cheerfully set to loud. 

"Harold, it's me, Roger."  As if he couldn't tell.  "Harold, did you get my text messages yet?"

"Okay, Roger.  Give me a minute, would you?" 

Thank you for listening, jules

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