This happened to me (the dog eating the phone bit, not the rest…)
The Dog Ate My Phone
“Did I ever tell you about the time the dog ate my phone?” said the rough voice.
Thomas Jensen looked up from his phone to see who was talking. The only person there was a tramp and he seemed to be staring straight at Thomas.
“Ah, no. Not that you’ve ever told me anything. And now…”
He tried to get up, but the tramp had moved so close he’d have to push him out of the way, and he really didn’t want to touch the man.
“Worst day of my life really. Best as well if truth be told. It freed me.”
“Oh, er, how?”
The tramp took this as an invitation to sit down, and start his tale.
“I’d left the dogs in the car. Two lovely chocolate Labradors. Beautiful. You have dogs?”
“Great companions. Only problem, particularly with labs, is they’re hungry. I’d left my phone in the car, I don’t know why because I never left my phone anywhere. I left it in the little shelf in the door. Right next to some sweets.”
Thomas tried to look at his watch, but the tramp leant over.
“Dogs had never bothered with the sweets before? Do you know why they did that day?”
The tramp leant back, “Nobody does. Anyway they went for the sweets, but the shelf was small and they struggled to get the sweets out, and got the phone first. Crunch. Little bits of glass all over the place. Phone dead. Kaput.”
“That’s very sad, but I have to…”
“Know why I couldn’t just get a new one?”
“Well I ordered one. Or asked my wife to. Same model. But you see the thing was, there was a delay. I wouldn’t have my phone for a week. Can you imagine?”
Thomas really couldn’t, he shook his head.
“My car wouldn’t recognise me. Couldn’t get into my front door, couldn’t buy anything. My virtual credit cards were all frozen until I got a new unit. I had an old one, but it took a different sim see, so they wouldn’t reactivate it. Or would, but it would take longer than the new phone. Do you think I could go to work?”
“Yes?” Thomas ventured.
“No. Front desk wouldn’t let me past, even if they did elevators wouldn’t have taken me anywhere.”
Thomas was starting to be interested despite himself, “But you told your boss?”
“How? No phone. No messenger. No email. I tried to call from the reception desk, but without my phone id to authenticate me… well he refused the call.”
Thomas shook his head sympathetically.
“Then they fired me. No payoff, failure to turn up for work. Except the firing bounced, no phone you see, so I didn’t find out directly. I found out from my wife. What did she do to help me I hear you ask?”
Thomas wondered if he would have asked, but it didn’t seem wise to argue.
“She called me a fool. She also told me to stop blaming the dog, he was suffering enough. I realised then the hierarchy in the house, and I didn’t like it. I said some things. I didn’t mean them, it was just the pressure. You know.”
Thomas tried to look sympathetic, and also as if he had somewhere else to go.
“Well, she said some things too. Then stormed out, taking the dog. Told me to call her when I’d grown up. That turned out to be hard.”
“I think she’s in San Francisco now.”
“Anyway, so I was stuck. But only for a week I hear you say?”
“If only. You see she’d ordered the new phone in her name. Now if she’d been around we could have swapped the sims and heydee ho, with a couple of hours, on her phone of course, to customer services it would have all been fine. I had to break into the house. I was watching. Saw it delivered, they wouldn’t have given it to me, and broke in. Big mistake.”
“The house called the cops. That expensive security system I put in. Tied to our phones. I grabbed the phone and ran. And ran, hoping to fit my sim in. Couldn’t, cos of it being in my wife’s name and all, but kept it with my while I wandered. Found myself in the backend of the city. Tough times. I learned a lot. First thing was to drop the new phone, even without my sim it had a tracker and they were trying to find it. I paid for really good security you see. Met some people, learned how to live without the phone, without id, and money. Hard life. Good life.”
The man looked wistful, and Thomas thought he might have a chance to get away.
“Ah, well, that’s a good thing to know. I need to run I’m afraid.”
He indicated his phone, as if he’d had a message. The old man misunderstood.
“Oh no, I don’t want your phone. Don’t need one. Just wanted to share the story, maybe it can help. Wanted to help someone today of all days.”
Thomas hesitated, but had to ask, “Why today?”
“I’m dead today. Legally. After thirty years, all of the automatic payments and suchlike I’d put into place have finally ground to a halt, and the world, your world, has decided I’m dead. Saw the notice while watching one of those demo phones.”
“Go now. No use you wasting time listening to a dead man. But take care of that phone.”