Thursday, August 27, 2009

Telephone Text Adventure

I lost my cell phone. Or maybe (gasp!), my phone was stolen. Regardless, a day after the phone left my possession someone started using it to access a bunch of stuff online and place a few calls. So I purchased a new phone that has the same number; now the old phone no longer works, and anyone who tries to call it will reach me.

Tonight I receive the following text:
Ivan call me.
Ha! Here's what I replied:
Ivan must be the guy who has been using the phone i lost. Thanks for his name.
But I could have said:
Ivan stole my phone. He can go suck a fuck(*).
(* - this phrase courtesy of Donnie Darko)
Here is my hypothetical confrontation with Ivan at the restaurant where I think he works, written in the form of an Infocom text adventure:
Outside of Restaurant
A place with pretensions of hipness on a street with pretensions of being a neighborhood.

The restaurant is open.
From here you can see pretty much all the establishment has to offer: a bar, a few tables, and a larger, crowded area to the north where some sort of party is going on.

A hostess eyes you listlessly from behind her podium.
You are currently holding:
your new cell phone
a primer of Sanskrit grammar

The hostess sighs. "Can I help you?"
The revelers all look remarkably similar, blonde hair for the girls, backwards baseball caps for the guys... With a shudder, you realize that the students are back from summer break.

The hostess twirls a loose strand of hair.
"Ivan? Yeah, he's new. Says he's trying to save money to go to grad school in linguistics or something: what a weirdo! Lately all he does is play with his new phone."
"Somewhere around here, I guess. He might be helping with the party."

A slender young man with dark hair and darker eyes emerges from the party area. He's dressed as a server and is pecking at the cell phone in his hands.

The hostess yawns. "That's him over there. Hey Ivan, this guy was looking for you." Ivan glances up expectantly from the phone. The light from its display throws into relief his cheekbones.
A cloud of worry passes over his handsome features. "What about it?"
But you aren't holding the Ivan new phone!
Ivan looks at your phone, and at the text message being displayed on it that's clearly addressed to him. The worry deepens to a becoming blush as he leans toward you and whispers, "I'm so sorry, it's just that I'm strapped for cash, and when I found this phone and saw I could use it to download Sanskrit verbal paradigms..."

The limpid pools of his eyes, apprehensive, hover before yours.
Whose eyes? Your own, the hostess's, or Ivan's?
In Ivan's eyes you see:
sincere contrition
an abiding interest in proto-Indo European verbal morphology
a need to be taken under the wing of someone older and wiser
He looks confused but turns to follow, when the hostess suddenly interposes herself between both of you and the exit.

"Hey, he has to stay until his shift is over!"
Perplexed by your invocation of mystical closure, the hostess steps aside. Ivan smiles as he takes your hand, and the two of you walk out into the night's welcoming embrace.

***You have achieved nirvana.***

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