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The Smartphone


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Does Rory's new smartphone possess an unusual power to see things others can't? Is his estranged son a terrorist? And are the FBI visiting again? What does his wife think about all this?

The Smartphone was inspired by two famous short stories: "Signs and Symbols" by Vladimir Nabokov and "The Enormous Radio" by John Cheever. I hope you like my attempt to merge the two into my own narrative about an unusual smartphone (a descendant of Cheever's radio) displaying strange videos of extreme personal interest to its owner.

Nabokov's story is short but powerful, and I attempted to duplicate that effect here. The Smartphone is intended to be short and not dwell on details.

I hope readers aren't upset about the seemingly abrupt ending. I've always been a fan of what Ernest Hemingway called the "Wow" ending and I tried to achieve that effect here. But I was also echoing Nabokov. In his story, the phone rings one last time at the end of his story. And from the "signs and symbols" Nabokov placed in the narrative, the readers is supposed to understand that the final call is not another wrong number but something deliberate and sad. With the same idea in mind, when the FBI approaches the house a final time at the end of my story, the "signs and symbols" within the narrative are intended to lead the reader into understanding that it isn't just the FBI asking about their son again, but something else entirely. I ask myself, how would I continue the story if I wanted to do that, and I can only laugh at the idea, since that would take the story into a kind of alternate reality!

This work is about 3,000 words in length, which means about 15 minutes to read. I hope you enjoy and feel it's worth the price. Thank you for your support.

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