10-Minute Read // Originally published 8/5/2016 // by Luke Kondor
It wasn’t any normal phone that Amanda found that day.
Laying on the ground next to a chunky red postbox. A sliver of metal and glass. It surely wasn’t her own.
Finders keepers, she’d thought. Loser’s weepers.
She’d seen the glistening phone from the floor as she was on her way home from the shops. With a bag of dried ramen, some fizzy pop, and a pack of six red apples in the one hand, she’d bent down and scooped it up. It was an iPhone of a sort. There was a webbing of fractures across the glass where it had impacted against the stone floor. She swiped to unlock.
Just a phone.
An iPhone no less.
A day later and her colleagues at the sandwich café were telling her it was a fake. No such model existed. It was flatter and wider than the ones available on the market. It even had a fake app on there that her colleagues had never heard of.
“What the hell is Twitter?” David said, before sipping his macchiato up through his moustache.
“What do you mean?” Amanda said. “It’s Twitter… y’know… like… well, it’s Twitter.”
She looked around the staff room to see the same what-the-fuck-are-you-talking-about-Amanda faces on the two other sandwich artists. Their expressions increasingly more vacant the more Amanda tried to explain the app – 140 characters, tiny status updates, Retweets, follow celebrities, get followers. Et cetera.
Her colleagues scoffed in unison with every added detail. They told her she was dreaming it up. She was ‘having them on’. She was ‘lying’.
“What model of phone even is this? I’ve never even seen this one.” David said.
“It’s… I dunno. An iPhone. My dad gave it to me. Hot off the press. He knows a guy. The guy knows a guy who once worked with Tim Cook. Whaddayoowanfrommee!?”
A little explosion of emotion and there were no more questions asked. Just glances passed between colleagues. David twirled his finger next to his head to demonstrate how ‘crazy’ she was being.
Twitter, though. How had they not heard of Twitter? Everybody’s on Twitter.
It was the app she’d found herself lost in since finding the phone. She’d signed herself up. Followed three hundred and sixty-three different people from all over the world – newsbots, celebs, authors, regular people, anyone and everything, and in return, she’d gotten her own followers. She never tweeted much, but she liked to read what was happening in the world. She liked to dip her fingers into it and get a sense for the current events of the planet.
A quick dip in and out and Amanda had gained a quick insight, no, an overview of current affairs.
Another month passed by. Maybe it was two. Or three. It didn’t matter much. The point is, time passed and Amanda found herself incredibly lost in the world of Twitter. She was now well aware that nobody in her circles knew or used the service. And after several more emotional explosions she’d learned it was best not to mention the app at all.
But then the events split. A fork in the timelines. One in the world she lived in and experienced on a sensory level, and the other was the world she read about through the Twitter app on her phone.
“There’s no new Kanye album,” David said whilst they were wiping down the tables in the café. “Kanye decided to stop producing new music ever since he split up with his wife, Feyoncé. This is just more of your weird made-up bullshit, Amanda.”
“But… sorry. I thought there was,” she said as she squirted a mouthful of bleach onto the table and wiped it down.
“Look,” David said, putting the cloth down and looking at her. “You have to stop living in a make-believe land. You have to come back to reality. You can’t keep bullshitting people like this.”
In Amanda’s world, there were no bombs. No lives lost. No new Kanye album. Apparently, that was the real world. But in the other world, the one she was connected to through the Twitter app, it was a world on fire.
It was as if the phone she’d found wasn’t of her world. Or perhaps it was one big prank and she’d been picked for an overly long reality TV prank show. Ha! Gotyer! There’s no such thing as Twitter! Look how stupid you are!
But there were no hidden cameras. No big reveals. And the world through the app continued on.
She followed along as the planet fell into nuclear chaos. Putting together the bits and pieces she found from the tweets to make a whole story. A story that read – end of the world.
Over the span of two days, Amanda’s Twitter feed was reduced to mostly silence. A flurry of activity. Screaming, fires, explosions, and then there was nothing.
It was when she was on her lunch break. Drinking a cappuccino, alone. No colleagues to tease her. She was sat next to the window. The rain outside pattered against the glass as the world she lived in moved along at its regular pace. She licked a tongue full of froth from the top of her coffee and thumbed through the Twitter feed.
There wasn’t much.
A few spambots.
There were no more tweets about news.
No more tweets from Kanye, and definitely no new album.
But there was one tweet.
The last tweet.
The tweet was from @Justaboyfromportugal. He didn’t have many followers. Amanda couldn’t even remember why she followed him in the first place. He only posted about his own family, his school work, his food. Nothing interesting.
Nonetheless, it was his tweet that was the last.
Amanda looked up, sipped from the coffee and watched as the rain splashed against the sandwich café window. She thought about telling someone about the app, the world, the nuclear apocalypse. She sighed, took a deep breath, and deleted the Twitter app from her phone. Nobody would know about this other world. It wasn’t theirs to know. It was hers and hers alone.
Finders keepers, she thought. Finders keepers.
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