6.10 A New Phone

A few weeks ago, I received a text message from my mobile compony provider stating that I could upgrade my phone. Although my phone wasn’t that old and I’m not one to need the latest version of things, it was slowing down already. Funny how the more complex these mobile devices get, the faster they break down. Coincidence, I guess. I’m sure there’s no other reason for this. The phone comes and I turn it on to switch over my information. It was a brand new phone and should’ve been completely clean. However, when the screen came up, it was already loaded with information, Apps, photographs and emails, as though I was sent someone else’s phone.

Naturally, the obvious thing was to wipe the phone and get on with switching over my information. Curiosity got the best of me when a brand new text message popped up from someone named ‘Justin K.’ that included this phrase in all caps: I SEE YOU.

I actually looked around the room in my apartment. I was alone. I’m sure this was a coincidence.  Another text message: YOU ARE SITTING AT YOUR COMPUTER.

Okay, this freaked me out a bit.

Text message: LOOK THROUGH THE PHOTOGRAPHS ON THE PHONE. I opened the photograph app and started scrolling through what seemed to be one selfie after another. Whoever this guy was, everything he took a picture of was purely background to him. Shots of him on rooftop patios, during parades and at music concerts. As I looked through all these photographs, I started noticing a blurry figure somewhere in the frame. With my fingers, I zoomed in on this figure, and although I couldn’t see a face, I was pretty sure it was the same person in each one.

Text message: YES, THAT IS ME. A shiver ran up my spine as it felt like whoever was texting was right in the room with me. Right in my head, thinking my thoughts for me. THE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE OF THE PREVIOUS OWNER OF THIS PHONE. HE CALLED THE POLICE. DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE.

Now, whatever this person was implying, I didn’t like it. I reasoned that this was some elaborate prank that someone was pulling on me. This was not real. Nor was it funny. I stood up and walked over to the edge of my apartment, looked out the sliding glass door. Text message: GO OUTSIDE ON YOUR PATIO.

With phone in hand, I stepped out on to the patio into the warm spring day. I live downtown but on a fairly quiet street. No cars were in sight except a white SUV idling on the road. A large man stepped out of the driver’s side and he was carrying a black leather bag. He walked around the SUV and on to the sidewalk, placed the bag behind some bushes. Before he got back into the SUV, he stopped, looked directly up at my balcony and gave an almost imperceptible nod to me. He sped away down the street. This entire interaction lasted a few seconds and no one would have noticed if they weren’t paying attention.

GET THE BAG, BRING IT BACK TO YOUR APARTMENT. Well, what was I supposed to do? I ran down the three flights, burst out the door and really hoped that black leather bag wasn’t there. That it was all just a dream or some type of hallucination. But no, the bag was there. Back in my apartment, the phone beeped again: DO NOT LOOK IN THE BAG. WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS. I stared at that bag for hours. I didn’t open it. I felt like someone was staring at me, making sure I didn’t go through it. When the sun dipped below the horizon, I jumped out of my chair when the phone beeped. BRING THE BAG TO 152 HORATIO STREET.

Going down the apartment hallway, in the elevator and walking through the parking lot, I scrutinized everyone I came across. Pulling out of the parking garage, I noticed that same white SUV was following me. It could just be another random white SUV, but when I turned on to Lakeshore Boulevard, so did it. I went fast, ran some lights I should’ve ran. The white SUV kept tight behind me. I swerved violently from the left-hand lane, cut some other cars off and sped up the ramp to get on the Gardiner Expressway, losing the white SUV.

Horatio Street was quiet. I sat in my car a few doors down from 152. No one was in sight. I did what I was supposed to do. Knocked on the door with the black leather bag in hand. An attractive young woman answered the door. She asked who I was and at first I couldn’t speak. Then it all poured out of me. The woman let me in her house because I was a blabbering idiot and also because I said we might be in danger. We sat down at her kitchen table, the black leather bag between us.

“Well, let’s see what’s in the bag,” she said. She unzipped it slowly, reached in and started pulling out framed photographs of herself and a man. She set them on the table one by one. Processing what was happening, it finally hit me. “Wait a second,” I said and pulled out the phone. The guy in the photographs on the phone was the same person in the photographs from the bag. “You know this guy?” I asked. “Yeah,” she said. “He’s my boyfriend.” The last thing she pulled out of the bag was a small case. She opened the case and there was a diamond ring inside. At that moment, someone burst in through the back door. I stood quickly and backed away. He stepped into the kitchen. It was the guy from the photographs. He looked at the woman and asked, “Will you marry me?” She started crying and fell into his arms. I decided to leave them alone.

Later that evening I received a text message on my new phone: THANKS. HOPE I DIDN’T SCARE YOU. WANTED TO MAKE MY PROPOSAL SOMETHING SPECIAL. I didn't even get invited to the damn wedding.