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Ljubljana Tales

Coon, Fincham,a'Beckett (eds)
New Europe Writers

The Mobile Phone - Lili Potpara

Srecko received the mobile phone as a birthday gift from his colleagues at work. Not that anybody particularly wanted to call him, but it was a round anniversary, they put the money together and had the Ericsson nicely wrapped up along with a bottle of Tramini.

Srecko didn't want a mobile phone; had he wanted one, he would already have bought it. But now he had the Ericsson. He selected the socket where he would plug in the charger; he carefully read the instructions and put them in a special folder. He filed away the folder in a special box on the top shelf on the left, where he kept other instructions for use and warranty documents.

For Srecko kept his affairs in perfect order. Every object had its own special place, carefully and logically assigned. When filling out the tax return Srecko never fumbled helplessly among the papers, when making goulash his right hand automatically found the lid for the cooking pot.

A week had passed since his birthday; Srecko was drinking coffee on the balcony (from a tiny cup with a silver edge that had remained from his mother's set). Everything was just as it was supposed to be, he had brought some apples and lettuce from the market. After lunch left over from the previous day Srecko carefully washed the plate and cutlery, made his coffee and sipped it on the balcony. It was Saturday; after the coffee he planned to climb up the Smarna Gora hill, as he was used to doing on Saturdays.

In mid-sip the mobile rang. At first Srecko didn't know where the piercing sound was coming from (he had set the tone to the sound of an antique phone the previous day); in the whole week the gadget rang only twice, from one office to another, more to the amusement of the people who had bought the telephone than to Srecko's, and each time the effect was different.

The mobile was ringing in the kitchen, on the counter next to the radio set. That was all right, because it was there that Srecko decided to keep the device when he was at home.

Slowly he got up and went into the kitchen. He was slightly upset at the intrusion: he expected no telephone call, nor did he want one now, in the middle of having coffee.