A Phone in the Hand is Worth Two in the…
It was late, I was tired. The trains were so screwed up that I’d got on a train to a town whose name I recognised – that was all I could hope for – and planned to get a bus from there. The queue at the bus stop was massive and I could feel everyone crushed around me getting more and more irritated in the drizzle. To make matters worse, I’d forgotten to bring a book – I always travel with a book, usually two in case I run out of the first one – so I’d had to sit on the delayed train and now queue at the bus stop in the rain without any means of escapism.
Bus after bus arrived at the stop, though none of them went homewards. At least the crowd gradually thinned so I had a bit more space and more room to escape all those uncovered coughs and sneezes. Finally my bus arrived and it was only me who got on.
To my surprise there were plenty of seats – the first lucky break I’d had all day. I chose a pair towards the back and slumped into the aisle seat, tucking my coat up around me. It was only then that I saw the mobile on the seat next to me. “This yours?” I asked the girl sitting on the seat behind. She wordlessly shook her head and pulled her scarf higher up her neck, almost covering her mouth as though she was afraid some words might slip out and then she’d find herself in conversation with me.
It was quite an old phone, one of those once that flip open a bit like an oyster shell. The battery was really low so I tried to find my way around as quickly as possible. I used to have a phone just like this but it feels alien now, it’s not even touch screen.
The wallpaper is a grainy, fairly unflattering picture of a girl in too-tight black leggings and a silver vest top lying on her front on a sofa, reading a magazine. The owner of the phone? His girlfriend? I checked the messages inbox and it was totally empty. Weird. I found the outbox and it only had three messages in it. Each of them just listed an address in the town and they were all sent to the same number.
What was this? A drug dealer? An estate agent down on his luck? I checked the first address again, it was for a flat in the town I was being briskly driven through. And then the phone died.
I took it across to the driver. “I just found this on a seat at the back.” He looked at it without enthusiasm. “Finders keepers,” he grunted and turned his eyes back to the road.
Somehow that made up my mind. I would take the phone to the address tomorrow. I had nothing better to do with my weekend, not now that I’m on my own. It’s not often you get offered an adventure once you’re over the age of 30. And I really want to knock on that front door.