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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 19 page 09

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George’s voice changed pitch, his face flickered slightly and the eyebrows lowered imperceptibly as he bowed his head.

“Well, thank you so much for your time today sir, I am sorry not to have interested you in our products. I am scheduled to be back this way in a year, and I do hope to show you some new items then — with your kind permission of course.”

Brad glanced back into the lounge and saw that Susan was making coffee in the kitchen.

“Sure George, you come back next year — you’re always welcome here.”

“Goodbye sir, and thank you again for your time.”

As George shuffled away, Brad noticed a small compartment open in his chest cavity and a mechanical arm reached out and deposited a small sealed package in the centre of the tray.

“What’s that?”

“Oh nothing sir, something for the next street I didn’t want to bother you with this item. A new line sir. It’s the latest Doohicky.”

“A Doohicky?”

“A Doohicky Mark IV.”

“What’s a Doohicky?”

“Picture the scene sir: it’s the height of summer, you’re working and you want to open the window but the breeze might blow your papers off the table! This Doohicky can exert a localised gravitational field to keep the papers on the table. Another function: it’s late at night and your doorway entry port is faulty and everyone is asleep upstairs. This Doohicky Mark IV can alert your family to your predicament! This wonder device is fantastically multi-functional — it can deter most feline garden nuisances and is also capable of keeping children entertained for hours on a beach holiday!”

“Wow! It can do all of that?”

“It certainly can, sir, and much more. A bargain at $175.”

“Can I see it?”

“Of course sir. May I ask that you do not open the package — the Doohicky is activated the moment the seal is broken and it is exposed to air.”

Brad took the packet and held it in his hand. It felt like it was definitely the latest generation electronics — a round item, quite heavy, about the same weight and size as the large pebbles that adorned the water feature in the front garden.

Susan had finished preparing the synthetic coffee, and was walking back to the living area but stopped abruptly when she saw that her way was blocked by an ecstatic Brad beaming at her from the doorway.

“You damn well bought something didn’t you? You lousy, weak-minded—”

“No, no, honey! You don’t understand! This is a Doohicky Mark IV! I mean, wow!”

Susan glared furiously at him and was starting to make strange guttural snarling noises so Brad decided that now was the moment for a demonstration of this new wonder device.

“Hold on! Wait till you see this, honey! Look what this baby can do!”

The sealed package opened with a metallic hiss and Brad looked inside. He stared long and hard inside the bag. What stared back at him was one of the large round pebbles from the water feature in the front garden.

Brad’s mouth slowly dropped open, he glanced at Susan then stared back into the bag.


—♦—


Wilfred and Helena almost jumped out of their pyjamas when they heard glass smashing. They ran out to their balcony and stared down to the marble hallway where the sound of banging, crashing and screaming seemed to be emanating from.

Wilfred prided himself at being at his best during a crisis. He wasn’t, of course — he was completely inept at everything but his wife let him think that he was exceptional lest he give up and start shuffling and muttering.

“Stay there, my dear. Don’t move until I return!” Wilfred said.

Helena listened horrified to the racket from downstairs. If it was a robbery or an act of terror they should trigger the mainframe alarm. After all, Susan and Brad were down there.

“Susan! Are you alright?! What’s happening down there? Brad!”

<CONT...>