Thursday, 22 November 2012

Love Net - Friday Flash


She hit submit on her phone. Instantly a map came up of the vicinity in which she stood. The map began to seethe and pulsate with pixelated red hearts. A touch presumptuous she thought to herself. The hearts started floating across the grid. It was like a mawkish version of Pacman or something.

Her eyes were swimming as she tried to take it all in. She plumped for fixing on one and following its trajectory. It was about 400 yards distant from her, although moving away. It passed right through another stationary heart and carried on. Of course it would. Both hearts represented men and men would not be interested in other men. Well they might be, but not on this version of the app. She idly speculated whether on that subscription, they were also represented by hearts and if so, whether they were pink or not.

She started walking in the direction of where there seemed the largest cluster of hearts. Most were moving, but a few were static. She wondered if they were sat inside bars, for it was too cold to remain aimlessly outside. She saw that one such motionless heart was, according to the GPS locator, about fifty yards ahead of her. She clicked on the heart and immediately his profile came up. A photo, with the barest of personal data summarising him to her. He looked viable, so she sent him a message. A simple "Hi", confident in such an open prompt that he would accordingly click on her profile behind the message and draw his own conclusions.

She waited. Two hearts were bearing down on her from different directions. Why should she remain faithful to the man she had messaged? She quickly clicked on one of the hearts and saw his profile. Again, more than passable to her tastes. She clicked on the other one, but the bars on her phone signal had weakened. Two men passed her on divergent bearings. Neither looked like the man she had managed to download. One looked fit though, rugged and chiselled, even under his outerwear. They both continued their progress away from her. Mr Chiselled at a fair old lick it had to be said. While the pixels sluggishly took shape, she couldn't reference the blessed map. It was quite possible that neither of them were marked with a heart of course, that they weren't signed up to this love match group. Or what was worse, that they were, had clicked on her profile when they saw she was proximate and just walked on by having not liked what they were confronted with.

The laggardly profile finally loaded up. Curses, it had been Mr Rugged after all! A match made quite possibly in Heaven, stymied by satellite technology and poor reception. Must be the frigid air. Had he been aware of her on his map, or had he been in just too much of a hurry to have downloaded her? Maybe he was heading towards another heart he'd pinpointed further out. Could she catch up with him? She decided not. She acknowledged the instantaneity (signal issues notwithstanding) of this geo-social networking. Unlike dating websites, photos posted here had to be truthful, because you were no further than eight minutes from bumping into them and verifying their likeness. There could be no lies with this app. No blind dating built on any duplicity that accentuated the blind over the dating. No lying, but plenty of cheating she thought to herself sardonically. This app was a boon for the quickie, extra marital fling. Getting your rocks off without even having to stand for a drink on the rocks. The one-night stand by not standing still on this map...

Hey wait a mo, what happened to the stationary guy? She'd almost forgotten about him. She checked back to the map and saw that he was still frozen in the same place. Yet he hadn't responded to her message. That was pretty clear then. He wasn't interested. Bastard. Part of her felt like chasing him down and confronting him as to his lack of chivalry in even responding to her. Making her wait out in the freezing air for the non-forthcoming privilege of his reply.

She started walking again, if only to get the blood recommencing its flow. She pressed reject on rude immovable man and saw his heart image swell and then fragment and die from the screen. It was rather satisfying actually. Reminded her of those online shooting penguin games that she used to while away dead hours in the office with. Until an audit of website URLs tumbled her and saw her lose her job. She was walking past a fast food take-out as a man was emerging through the door. She stopped and consulted her phone. As did he. Sure enough, he was digitised in a heart, suddenly throbbing on its spot on the map. He looked up and smiled at her. In your dreams mate. His expression turned crestfallen as she marched on past the shop. Her heart missed a beat. She was utterly thrilled with the power she had just wielded in cutting him dead.

This was a strange beast indeed. Here she was trawling for men, yet the men threw the net over themselves. They actively scanned for her net, then vaulted into it with alacrity. The fish that catches itself. She caressed the heavy bladed knife beneath her overcoat. The harsh steel stung her chill fingers with its own glacial reassurance. She just knew in her bones she would have no difficulty in locating the man of her dreams. And making his heart fragment and disappear.

Taken from the flash fiction collection available from Amazon Kindle


12 comments:

Virginia Moffatt said...

Wow - on so many levels wow. Love the idea of this app. Says so much about our desire for technological fixes. And then you have that sucker punch ending. Didn't see it coming. Brilliant!

Helen said...

Oh that twist was wicked! I usually can see most twist, but I never saw that one coming at all. An absorbing story, of course fantastically written!

Simon K. said...

Split second dating, with a twist. Some good stuff in there. Cheers.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Dating radar...interesting concept. Even if you'd left out the idea that she was a nutjob with a knife, I think this would have been a perfect indictment of modern courtship rituals.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

All it takes is one knife-wielding maniac to ruin the fun for everyone.

Cindy Vaskova said...

Wouldn't this app be the ultimate weapon for stalkers? And maniacs!
I can imagine people walking around with their noses in their phone screens, constantlu scrolling and clicking and searching...oh wait!

Brilliant story and a killer ending. Didn't see that one coming, but as I said, very possible usage of such app.

Sonia Lal said...

wow. Loved the ending. I didn't see it coming.

Dawn Huddlestone said...

This gives a whole new meaning to "There's an app for that". Great story with surprising twist - a great read, Marc!

Steve Green said...

Great concept Marc, although I was waiting for some twist to manifest itself, it still took me by surprise when it did.

Katherine Hajer said...

Sounds a lot like onlie dating now, except the assumption is that you're out and about instead of being hunched over your computer at home.

I think you did an excellent job of showing that "modern courtship rituals" (love that, Icy) make it less risky and more fun to reject than accept.

I'm not sure the twist worked for me, to be honest. Until then the protagonist was just another person trying to find a date. One of the big problems with on-line dating is the assumption people make that everyone else on it is a stalker psycho killer.

Cindy Vaskova said...

You've been nominated! For more details see this post http://wp.me/p218fu-8h ! ^^

Li said...

This makes the old-fashioned method of picking up strangers in bars seem much safer...