Thursday, 16 October 2014

Colin, The Phantom Avenger

Okay, Colin shouldn’t have done it; that much is clear. But put yourself in his shoes, what was a person to do?

He’d moved to the town a long time ago, when people were different, when things were better – at least, he thought so, and folks back then showed respect. Kids in those days were scared of cops, they backed away from teachers and doctors, because they all knew better than the kids. A person knew their place back then, being scared of authority was a good thing – at least, Colin thought so.

His father had been the town’s park official and had spent hours, many of them unpaid, making the whole place look pretty with flowers and such. But now? Heck, the big flower display outside the Town Hall was nothing more than a dump – than something beautiful to look at. Okay, he was getting old, and the old never saw the good in current times (Colin never thought he would admit to that, but he had nowhere else to turn). He was old and boy, was he grumpy.

It was a beautiful morning; one of those mornings where the sky was azure blue and the cold air tasted of winter, but still managed to warm your heart. He pulled back the curtains and just smiled. Simple as that – it didn’t take much to make him smile, but to be alive on a day like this was one of the good times.

He walked down Main Street and said ‘howdee’ to those who looked up as he was passing. It was mostly the older folks who smiled and said ‘hello’, the younger ones were doing what younger ones always did: they were walking and looking at their phones, or pods or whatever it was – it seemed to be more interesting than real life. Jeez, that’s sad, Colin thought.

How could the world get to this stage, where the phone was more interesting than the universe? Or walking with a friend? Or someone who just wanted to talk? But it seemed that it was. If they went on like this what were they going to do, if the phones and such no longer worked? Learn the art of conversation, again?

He was just about to cross the street for a delicious hot coffee at that new place – the ‘Man Can Not Live by Bread Alone’ café when a kid, who was looking at some photo or other on his phone bumped into him. Colin stood there waiting on an apology, but the kid just looked up as if it was Colin’s fault for being there and went back to his phone, and walked on.

That night Colin decided he was going to change things. And yep, he should have thought it through but he didn’t. He just went with the flow and sorted out the troubles later - like he always did.

He drew up a plan which seemed workable, one that would make the kids (and adults) look up.
Colin stood outside the library and pretended to read a newspaper. First along the street was a man in his late forties, early fifties who was pressing buttons on his phone and laughing at the same time. Of course he wasn’t looking where he was going (that was other peoples’ responsibilities) – he just blindly walked on and laughed.

All Colin did was stick his arm out at the man’s head level and just as quickly the man bumped into Colin’s arm and went flying back. Colin noted that the man, who was lying on his back, wasn’t laughing any more. Colin could hear the man cursing and shouting as Colin disappeared into the shadows.

And that’s what started it all. Colin would hide behind trees, or billboards, or walls then ease out just before the person who was looking at their phone was walking close by. At that point Colin would stick his arm out and the phone/pod person would going shooting back.

The trouble was, although Colin had proved a point, people were getting hurt. It had changed the way people walked about the town. Some folks were too scared to look at their phones or pads while walking - just in case that nutter hit them on the head. No one really knew it was Colin because he was always fast away from the crime scene before anyone took note. Lately he had started to leave little business cards by his victim which said ‘You Have Been Stopped by The Phantom Avenger’.

I guess it hadn’t struck Colin (although he had struck all his victims) that the cops might get involved. So one day, an undercover cop pretended to be sending a message on his phone as he walked – and just as Colin stuck his arm out, the cop stuck a handcuff on Colin.

In court, Colin’s defence was that he just wanted people to look up and see the sky and the sun, but as one of the victim’s said – that they could see the sun on their phones, anytime.
Colin, The Phantom Avenger, was sent to prison for 3 months for assault, and folks in town went back to looking at the sky on their phones.


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