The Man Whose Cell Phone Started Texting Him Hostile Messages
Enton Firths life was so mired in aimless boredom, he was almost drowning. The young insurance-claims adjuster from Walla, Walla, WA couldnt remember the last time he felt pleasureor even pain. He lived from paycheck to paycheck, from work week to work week, gritting his teeth and swallowing his pride while performing his duties with no hope for advancement, no sense of personal satisfaction, and no guarantee he wouldnt be fired and replaced by a robot. His life was a yawning crater of emptiness.
Since his divorce over a year ago, Enton struggled to shoulder the double burden of rent payments and alimony payments. He didnt think it was fair that she could sit at home watching TV while he busted his balls and paid for her housing, too. His social life had ground down to nothing. Most of his friends from college had paired off with mates and were building families. The only bright spots in his lifeand they were few and mostly fruitlesswere when his cell phone would buzz in his back pocket, notifying him that hed matched with someone on Tinder.
Early one Friday afternoon as he was processing the claim of a man who claimed that a car crash had rendered him permanently incapable of achieving an erection or even doing simple household chores, Enton felt that buzz in his back pocket. His eyes darted around the office to make sure none of his supervisors was watching, then he grabbed his phone and excitedly took a peek.
It wasnt a Tinder notification. It was a text message fromYour Phone.
His heart started thumping wildly. Oh, fuck. He forgotten his mothers birthday. But what kind of prank was this? Hed never gotten a text from Your Phone before.
he desperately pecked out and pressed Send.
Entons upper lip was beaded with sweat. He quickly checked the contact information for Your Phone and to his tremendous discomfort, he realized the messages were being sent from his own numberhis own number. He began squirming in his desk chair, his unease amplified by the fact that too many solo trips to Olive Garden and Dunkin Donuts meant his pants were so tight they were choking off the blood supply to everything below his waist.
his phone taunted him.
Flummoxed, Enton asked the phone again,
his phone texted back.
Furious and shaking, Enton typed out,
Within seconds, another message appeared.
Entons eyes shot quickly around the office. If he continued texting while he was supposed to be processing claims, hed be fired. He scurried to the company bathroom and locked the door behind him. When he looked in the mirror, he saw a miserable, bloated, pathetic man. His phone was right. He hated himself. But he hated his phone even more, because it his self-hatred. It took his own deep self-loathing and spat it back in his face. Most of the time, Enton was able to ignore the self-doubt that always tugged at him. But he couldnt ignore his phones constant buzzing.
Suddenly his phone buzzed again. This time it was a picture. A picture of his dick. It was his favorite dick selfieangled perfectly to make it look huge and foreboding, like Godzilla ready to swallow Tokyo in one bite. This was his go-to dick pic for dating sites.
he asked his phone.
his phone immediately answered.
Enton gulped. His phone was right again. Sending all those unsolicited penis-selfies didnt make him look like a player; it made him look desperate.
Enton clenched his jaw and began typing again.
his phone replied.
By now, Enton was soaked in sweat and visibly trembling. He hated to take time off because his employment situation was precarious as it was. He didnt want to risk having his bosses think, even for a minute, that the office could function quite well without him. But he had no choice. He was too upset to work.
Without wiping the sweat from his faceafter all, it bolstered his case that he was sick and had to leave workhe exited the bathroom and walked over to Terris cubicle. Terri was the companys Human Resources director.
Uhhi, Enton? Whats wrong? You look terrible.
Ive just been in the bathroom, you know, throwing up. For, like, ten minutes. I think I may have food poisoning. Can you check to see if I have any sick days left?
Oh, my God, so sorry to hear! Hold onhow to you spell your last name again?
Right, Firth. Well, from the looks of you, youve gone from Firth to last today!
Enton squeezed out a fake laugh.
Sorry, Terri said. I shouldnt be joking. Yes, you have enough sick days. Please go home and get some rest.
Thank you. Enton spun around and marched out of the office straight toward Mill Creek, which meandered through Walla Wallas downtown office district. Then his back pocket buzzed again.
his phone texted.
Enton looked at the message, clutched the phone tightly, and hurled it as hard as he could into the creek. , he thought.
He wasnt even a block away before he felt that familiar buzz again. But this time it was coming from inside his head.