Jane Summers stared at Gary’s device (she was certain it had to be his), her eyes squinting in focus as she waited for its next sound, or message. A moment later, the words and numbers disappeared, blackness covering the face of the device. Her eyes scanned the surface, focused on the bottom, to a circular area impressed into the device, a beveled square in the middle. She put her right thumb over the circle – nothing happened. As she brought her thumb away she inadvertently pressed the circle – she felt the circle give, and gasped as the time, date, and slide to unlock message displayed again.
She had begun to examine other areas of the device, when the telephone on the wall of her apartment’s kitchen began to ring.
Though no more than two feet away, Jane Summers rushed to the wall, lifted the receiver like she was saving it from a fiery doom. Thrust it onto her ear, sighed when she heard no dial tone. Forced herself to pause a moment before saying hello.
“Jane?” She sighed again upon hearing Gary’s voice. “You leave your phone in the car again?”
Jane Summers blinked. “My phone?”
“Yeah, kinda figured you left it in your car, A-GAIN, so that’s why I called you on your land line.” She blinked again, held the phone to ear silently a long moment.
“You OK?” Gary sounded concerned. Jane shook her head, “no – I mean nothing’s wrong, I’m fine. It’s just been a – weird morning, that’s all.”
“Oh. All right. Listen, I got in early today and just wanted to know where you saved the Route 20 files.”
Jane Summers bit her lip. Nothing about this conversation was helping with her anxiety. “Listen, I – don’t remember.” Not a lie, but only as much of the truth as she felt comfortable revealing. “Can you wait until I’m in the office?”
“Sure!” She could see his round face beaming over the line. “There’s no hurry, just wanted to get a head start, is all. Just – take your time, OK? You sound like there’s something wrong.”
“No – like I said.” She realized she still had the odd device in her left hand, decided not to ask Gary if he had left a radio in her apartment. “Weird morning.”
Gary cautiously ended the conversation, leaving Jane alone in her apartment. She put the radio, or whatever it was, down on her table, eyeing it suspiciously, then turned back to her refrigerator. She opened the door, then closed it suddenly, her face suddenly writhing in confusion, and spoke to herself as if she were a different person.