Laptop Fever [FLASH FICTION]

My personal goal of blogging regularly has not been fulfilled. I have so many delayed posts, but it might be a while before I can write all of them. The following story was inspired by my own school (something a teacher said at assembly), and is an exploration of different reactions to the same information. Although I hate admitting this, I reacted more like Michaela than Robin. You’ll find out why in a second. 😉

Also, this story has a lot of “telling.” This was because showing their reactions would mean expanding on their home-life, and quite a lot of dialogue (which there is little of in a school assembly). This was a story told in the fewest words possible.

***

“Laptops will be given to everyone in the senior years. They will be a Dell computer, just small enough to carry in your bag, and a whole range of facilities and applications will be at your fingertips.” The microphone squeaks, and the teacher clears their throat. “Thank you. Now, I’m handing the microphone over to Mrs Patrick…”

***

Michaela’s lip curls into a sneer. Her surrounding friends all exchange the same expression of intense disgust. A Dell Laptop. Meanwhile, the Year 8 and 9 students will comfortably sit with iPads in their undeserving hands, the entire world truly at their fingertips as their devices don’t take a century to start up. The school speaks of the laptops like they’re the next best thing, but in reality, these laptops don’t last a single month –how on Earth is she supposed to maintain her grades with such a non-functioning instrument? She stopped listening right after the words, “they will be a Dell computer.” There’s nothing more to say. Her own iPhone sits in her skirt pocket; it took all her savings to buy it, but the quality was worth it. Unlike these computers, of course, that might as well go straight to the dump. What’s the point of receiving such a worthless device if there’s no use?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, a breathless, starry-eyed Robin can hardly believe it. This is the best news he’s heard all year. His TAFE courses are mostly done on the computer, but his last one broke, and the IT repairer charges more money than the initial price. He has leftover mobile internet; all he needed was a suitable device to type notes on, in a relaxed and easy manner. His entire family has been struggling financially, and although they can afford regular installments, they can’t afford to pay full price –unlike what the apathetic, greedy repairer required. Two more years until he’s free from this constricting routine and exploring the height of community services, but until then, he needs some sort of device to work with. And, somehow, he found it.. The minute this speaker said, “Laptops will be given to everyone,” Robin stopped listening, spiraling off into his own reverie where the impossible no longer felt improbable. A grand analogue clock ticks another second. The numbers seem to breeze past in a flawless sequence, finally making sense –and Robin never liked math in first place. Luck is finally on his side.

***

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4 thoughts on “Laptop Fever [FLASH FICTION]

  1. Great delivery on different perspectives. I am imagining what thoughts would go through the same group of classmate’s heads in a third world country…where it’s difficult even to find an outlet to charge your device:) It’s all relative to what we know in our own world.

    • That is such a great thought. In certain parts of third-world countries, it would be a shock, a delight, a great cause for happiness –I can only imagine how they’d react. Thank you for stopping by! 😀

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