Flash Fiction: Drinks with Dialogue by Tom Robson

  Welcome to the Spot Writers. Today’s belated contribution comes from Tom Robson, author of “Written While I Still Remember” and many short stories The prompt was “The No-phone Restaurant.”

Drinks with Dialogue

by Tom Robson

She was still talking, unaware that I had stopped fifteen yards behind her on the busy boardwalk. I turned to count the group we’d just passed, resting on the bench or BBQ picnic table or simply leaning against the stout horizontal beam that separated the walkway from the harbor waters some ten feet below.

“What are you looking at now?” was the question that interrupted my counting. My wife had backtracked to join me.

“Nineteen,” I replied and I pointed to the group who were oblivious to the attention I was paying them. I was no more than four paces away and Barb urged me to keep my voice down.

“No need!” I responded.  “Eighteen of their minds are lost to texting, talking or whatever on their devices. I bet the phone of the one there,the one in the front smoking, has died. Look at her! She’s begging her friend to let her use her phone. And that’s the only face to face communication among all nineteen. And Ms Smoker’s friend is ignoring her plea.”

“So why stop to poke your nose into their business? Let’s go. They are beginning to notice your staring. And I’m sure some can hear you.”

“Not a chance! They’re all “Phone deaf!”

“You and your obsession with people addicted to devices. Give it up! You’ll never change the trend.”

“Trend? Trend? You had it right when you used the word ‘addicted.’ It’s a way of life. There’s more than three generations that can’t exist without a device immediately available to them. They are lost and incomplete without them.”

My wife had heard it all before. With a “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” she turned to continue our Saturday afternoon walk along the waterfront boardwalk. I dutifully rushed to catch up with her.

“Let’s stop for a drink,” I urged. “That bar they’re outside is new. Let’s have a drink in there. I like the notices by the door. Can you read them?”

“You know I can’t! So, tell me, what do they say?”

Unable to hide the delight in my voice, I read all the messages  displayed. “Abandon your device all ye who enter here. Cell free suds! Mouth to mouth conversation available. Talk to me!  Listen to someone!”

“Do you think I’m going to drink in a place that agrees with your technological extremes? If it’s banning cell phones, tablets, lap tops and any devices, it won’t last the month.” Barb was already inching away.

Before I could persuade her to accompany me in support of a business that was trying to discourage i-phone dependence, the door from the “Talkers Tavern” flew open and an angry young woman, clutching her cellphone, was ejected by a large doorman.

“You can’t frickin’ do this!” She loudly protested as he blocked her efforts to rejoin her friends inside. “I have my frickin’ rights! Look at all of them over there!” And she pointed at the nineteen who had earlier captured my attention. Eighteen of them were still attending to their device communication, oblivious to the disturbance the reject was creating.

“Those people left quietly when they chose to use their phones!” responded the doorman.

Right on cue, two of the city’s finest, the bicycle mounted patrol policing the busy boardwalk, emerged from a gathering crowd. While one tried to calm down the irate woman, the other questioned the doorman.

I strained to hear what both said to the still angry woman, after they had heard both sides of the dispute. The woman was not going to win her argument. But one constable agreed to accompany her back in so she could gather her friends. But he insisted on taking her phone from her until they came back out. She argued, but relented.

The doorman prevented any bystanders from following the pair into the ‘Talkers’ Tavern.’ The remaining cycle cop requested that the gathering gawkers move on. A crowd was gathering and it was changing from curious to questioning  and could become hostile.

My wife knew she had to get me away from taking sides in a no-win situation. She took my hand and said, “You can buy me a glass of red on Murphy’s terrace. On the way back to the car we’ll have to go past the ‘Talkers’ Tavern’ and we can see if it’s still in business! I have a feeling it’s not going to last long.”

Police sirens came closer and we watched as the blue lights turned from Water Street into the car park adjacent to the ‘Talkers’ Tavern’.

I knew my wife was right yet again. Murphy’s it would be!

The Spot Writers are:-

RC Bonitz         rcbonitz.com

Val Muller          http://valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. Mackenzie     http://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter

Tom Robson      https://robsonswriting.wordpress.com/

Almost Over!

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