zoom, click, save | by Chris Milam

11:47 a.m.

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.

1:36 p.m.

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.

2:15 p.m.

“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.

8:06 p.m.

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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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