I crawled outside for a rare dose of sunshine. It was risky, another human might approach and slide mouth-first into small talk, say: Damn, it’s so hot I could fry a salmon on the hood of my Hyundai. What?
Heading back in to wrap myself in air conditioning, I caught my neighbor standing at his window aiming his phone at me. I raised my arms, palms out, but he didn’t take the hint and move. The intensity of his intrusion was admirable. So I smiled. Then I stared longingly at a sparrow perched on a telephone pole, held the pose far past what is considered normal. I was a frozen and forlorn philosophical birder. His phone tracked me like paparazzi at a movie premiere. The attention was unfamiliar, empowering, therapeutic.
The grocery was thick with bodies. I wanted to get in, get out, get home. I grabbed some tomatoes, set them on the scale. Across from me, a woman with a pierced nose had a lime in one hand, a phone in the other. Behind her, a man in a Patriots jersey reached out with his glossy phablet. Both were trained on me.
The guy outlined a circle with his forefinger. I turned around, flipped my ponytail like a horse swatting flies away. He gave me an enthusiastic thumbs-up. I considered snatching a banana and sucking on it all seductively and whatnot, but I was afraid a child might see me and ask: Mommy, why is that handsome man doing weird things to a banana? Is it because he ate fish tainted with metallic blue car paint?
She lowered her phone to my feet. Well, the flip flops were a poor choice. I offered her a digital gift by lifting a leg and swiping at her abdomen with my shark teeth toes. I fake gutted her. She switched her phone to landscape mode and snapped away.
“Ten on three,” I said to the clerk. He responded by reaching into his back pocket.
Again? I looked around the gas station, grabbed a pair of cheap sunglasses and a Butterfinger. I pointed the candy bar at his head, summoned my accented robot voice. “Where is Sarah Connor?”
Low shot. High shot. Zoom, click, save.
Mom sent a text, told me to check Twitter. “It’s a code red, Sugarbear.”
I logged on, saw that a picture of my predatory foot was trending at number one with 34,973 tweets. I wanted to happy cry and have sex with a person. Some would probably say #IfYouCouldAbortAGrownMan was cruel and juvenile. But not me. I was a pale supernova in the laptop sky. Thousands of volatile strangers cared enough to share and comment. Basement bloggers were champing at the bit. I could almost hear mom with her walking group: My boy went viral! No, Claire, not the Ebola. Viral like popular, a celebrity on the computer.
I typed *Jaws theme* below the image and waited for my notifications to ping like a trailer park during a summer hailstorm.
Chris Milam lives somewhere in the past. His stories have appeared in Lost Balloon, (b)OINK, Jellyfish Review, The Airgonaut, Rabble Lit, WhiskeyPaper, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @Blukris.