James Brown

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Stan and the Cellphone

‘I’m frightened,’ I say. ‘Please can you tell me a story.’
‘Dude,’ says my bro, ‘OK. Which one d’you want?’
‘Stan and the Cellphone,’ I say, because I am always texting.
‘OK,’ says my bro. I hear him settling himself in the dark.
‘This guy called Stan goes into a bar.’
‘Do you know Stan?’ I ask. ‘Sure,’ says my bro.
‘So it’s a true story?’ I ask. ‘I guess,’ says my bro.
The darkness surrounds us. ‘Anyway,’ he says,
‘Stan is sitting at the bar and in walks this gorgeous chick.’
‘Like Lady Gaga?’ I say. ‘Naa, like drop dead gorgeous.’
‘Like Angelina Jolie?’ I say. ‘Naa, more Lara Croft
with the Nude Raider patch if you insert the jewel on level 15.’
There’s a pause in which we both think about Lara Croft
with the Nude Raider patch if you insert the jewel on level 15.
At least that’s what I think about. I don’t really know
what my bro thinks about.
‘Anyway, Stan and the gorgeous chick, they get chatting.’
‘But,’ I interrupt, ‘what Stan doesn’t know is his cellphone
in his jeans’ pocket has turned on and dialled the first number
in his contacts – which is his girlfriend.’
‘Who’s telling this story?’ says my bro.
‘Sorry,’ I say. ‘He must be wearing tight jeans.’
‘The tightest. Stan is one cool dude.’
I try to imagine Stan’s jeans.
‘But his girlfriend ain’t home,’ says my bro.
‘Lucky for him,’ I say. ‘Not,’ says my bro,
‘cos her answerphone is – and it starts recording.
When she gets home, she listens to the messages
and, whammo, does she go ballistic!’
‘So she hears the whole conversation?’ ‘Most of it.’
‘And the sound quality was good enough?’ ‘Most of it.’
‘Even in a bar?’ ‘It’s noisy, but she can hear Stan’s voice
chatting up the chick clear enough. Then Stan comes home.’
‘What happens?’ I say. ‘You know the rest,’ says my bro.
‘Please,’ I say. ‘I’m frightened.’ My bro sighs.
‘OK. Stan comes home and they fight and she forgives him.’
‘Are they still together?’ I say. ‘Yeah,’ says my bro.
‘Do you think ...?’ I say. ‘Go to sleep,’ says my bro.
I do an experiment I sometimes do.
I close my eyes in the darkness and then open them
to see if I can hear a difference. And tonight I can.

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