Thursday, December 13, 2012

Downgrading


“We’re in debt, Cleo. We have no money. No money.”
           “I know.”
           “Then how on earth do you expect us to give money to the church?”
           “We can always get rid of our phones. Or maybe the cable.”
           “You’re insane! So we get rid of our phones. How are you gonna call anyone?”
            Cleo rubs her temples, “It was just an idea, John. Maybe we can downgrade.”
            John stares at her, hands on his hips, exhaling in annoyance.
 Cleo thinks he looks like a woman, huffing and puffing about dirty socks on the floor.
“Downgrade? You want to get rid of our smartphones so we can give money to the church?     That’s really smart, Cleo. How are you going to check your e-mail? What about music? What about your little diet tracker? You want to get rid of that?” He points his finger in her face, “I don’t think you do.”
“They didn’t have smartphones fifty years ago! How on earth did they live without them?” she mocks.
“There’s a reason they were invented. The need was identified and the solution was made,” he takes his iPhone out of his jean pocket, “Bingo. Right here. Solution.”
She leaps forward and grabs his iPhone out of his hands, throwing it on the hardwood. He hears the crack.
He gasps and stares at the floor in astonishment, and slowly, the rising words make their way out of his mouth.
“What are you thinking? You idiot!” John pulls at his hair.
He picks it up off the ground, gently rubbing his finger along the cracked surface.
“You know how much this thing costs? Like 200 bucks, Cleo,” his voice rises.
“Did you call me an idiot?” Cleo frowns.
“Yes! You’re insane! You’re buying me a new phone. God, Cleo! What the heck!”
He pushes the round home button, watching the screen light up and fade to an eternal black.
“You broke it,” he shoves it in her face, “Yeah, it’s broken. How do you feel?”
“Now you can go pick up a freebie phone, which I've already done with mine, and we can donate that extra money to the church. What’s next, honey?”
He barely even hears her talking, he’s so upset. “You broke my iPhone,” he whispers.
“You know, you’re so worried about your stupid little toy that you can’t even see the bigger picture. You’re insulting God right now.”
“Okay, I’m insulting God. That makes sense.”
He stares at his iPhone like a mother over her dead child.
“You’re basically telling him that he’s unable to provide. You think he won’t provide for us if we give up some of our paycheck?”
“I mean, it’s not like a money tree is gonna start growing in the backyard when we start giving money to the church, Cleo.”
“Obviously. That’s not what I’m saying.”
“Then what exactly are you saying?”
“I’m saying if we cut back on these material things, and actually do something with our time, like, I don’t know, talking to each other or visiting my family—“
“Oh, God,” he rolls his eyes, “Don’t get me started on your family.”
“Okay, fine, maybe not that. But let’s just try. Please? If you love me you’ll say yes. Say it.”
“What exactly are you asking me to give up? My iPhone is broken,” he pauses on the word, taking a deep breath, “thanks to you.”
“The cable.”
“The cable, too? Cleo, come on.”
“Okay, and you have to visit my family.”
“Okay, fine, fine. The phone and cable. Sounds good.”
“One more thing…” Cleo starts.
“What now?”
She punched him in the gut as hard as her little arm could. He doubled over and fell back onto the kitchen table which collapsed underneath him.
 He grunts, “Cleo!”
“Don’t you ever call me an idiot again.”

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