Cramp WINNER! 6/17 - An elderly technophobe meets a laptop and doesn't like it.
Sean knocked on the heavy wooden door in front of him, hearing the echo of a doorbell inside the large, beautiful house. Taking a moment to straighten his uniform red tie and plastic Nerd Patrol name-tag, he gave thanks that this was his last stop for the day. Most wouldn’t think so, but there was something incredibly tiresome about setting up computers for people all day. At least most customers in this age were familiar enough with technology that he didn’t have to show them much, could simply set up the new system and get going to the next job. He was hoping this last one proved quick and easy – he had a date tonight with that cute waitress from last week.
He realized it had been a few minutes since he rang the bell and still no one had answered. His hands were full with a brand new Toshiba laptop and his own briefcase, but after some shuffling around of the load he managed to wiggle his clipboard out and give it a look. Checking the address he saw this was the right place - then he looked at the work order. A specific brand of computer selected by a buyer over the phone named Stephen Gaines, who had apparently known exactly what he wanted, and then requested the system be set up at this address, which belonged to a Warner Gaines. That seemed slightly odd, but Sean had seen people buy tech gifts for others many times, so it was probably something like that. Beginning to grow agitated, he pushed the ornate doorbell again.
There was a thudding, brisk approach on the other side of the door then it swung open abruptly to reveal a scowling old man clutching a polished wooden cane. His hair was practically nonexistent, only wisps of white cotton anchored in the spotted, wrinkled skin of his head. His weathered face housed two watery green eyes behind old-fashioned glasses that were quite alert given the stooped posture and crumpled frame of the man. Perhaps what stood out the most to Sean, however, was the shocking contrast between the opulence of the home surrounding this geezer, who had to be at least in his seventies if not his eighties, and the modest, country-like way in which he was dressed. He looked very out of place, like he should be in a rocking chair on a farm instead.
“What do you want?” His voice matched his facial features, serious and gruff, roughened by age and probably a lifetime of smoking cigars. Sean imagined he could smell tobacco, even. It could have been his imagination.
“Sir, are you Warner Gaines?”
“Who wants to know?”
“We were hired by a Stephen Gaines to deliver and set up this computer system for you today.”
“That’s my stupid, moneymaking son. He sent me what this time?”
Sean hesitated, sensing that this might not go as smoothly as he hoped. “A laptop. It’s actually a very good model, your son made a good choice for you. I will set it up and show you how to use it, if you don’t already know how.”
Oh, this wasn’t going to be fun. “A LAPTOP computer. A lightweight, compact computer that does not need to be on a desk and is mobile.”
“Then where am I supposed to put it?”
“Well, I would set it up for you on a desk or table, wherever you are most comfortable sitting in front of it.”
“But you just said it didn’t go on a desk. Which is it boy?”
“I just mean, you can take it with you when you go somewhere, if you wanted to. Like in the car, to a friend’s house, anywhere really.”
“I can’t drive anymore. Got the bad vision. So what good is something that can go in the car going to do me?”
“You don’t have to take it in the car, that was just an example. You could take it anywhere in the house with you.”
“I can’t go upstairs. My stupid son bought this big house for me after my Evangeline died, and I never wanted it. Don’t go upstairs. Got everything I need close by. What’s that machine going to do for me? It’s just another one of my son’s silly attempts at ‘modernizing me’ as he calls it. Well I don’t need to be modern. Too many damn modern people walking around these days.”
Shifting nervously, Sean suddenly felt like the laptop was very heavy in his hand though it only weighed about five pounds. “I understand sir, so where would you like me to set this up for you?”
The old man’s scowl intensified, “I don’t think you’re listening son. That machine isn’t coming into my house. Don’t trust it. Computers in every home, with the cameras and microphones and internet, you really think you’re alone? You’re being watched, everyone being watched! Well that isn’t going to be me!” His ire was rising, and he punctuated the exclamation with a jab of his cane.
“So… You are declining the computer?”
The old man took a surprisingly spry step forward and lifted his cane, knocking the computer out of Sean’s shocked hand and watched it tumble down the steps with a satisfied smirk.
After a long moment of recovering his wits, Sean sighed, “I guess we’re done here.”
“Damn straight,” Was all Warner Gaines said as he slammed the door.
Word Count: 1000 (including hyphenated words)