The Small Things
by Jeremy Hight
He turned the knob and flipped the switch and the thing that had sat there for decades in his grandfather’s garage like a curious jukebox eaten by a phone booth shuddered, light flickered and flashed, numbers spun on antiquated dials, Joey even thought he saw smoke make a little cloud for a bit. It was oddly alive in the way machines can be, dormancy over, it actually was doing something.
Joey was sure the thing was a prop from an old film, collected parts of many more likely. It had seen rains and droughts, bird droppings, spider colonies coming and going over the years, tarps gone bad by age but there it was , glowing, humming, almost seeming alive. Joey had seen the old films of the world’s fair robot that smoked cigarettes by remote control, of the future telephones that you could see yourself and who you were talking to. The smoking robot was mostly the old smoke and mirrors, human controls. The new phones had failed because they were too expensive and who wanted to show off that surprise vesuvius new nose zit or rush out the shower to a call from a boss or nun?