some old bullshit

Stan’s App

“Woah!” I said. I grabbed for the counter to steady myself because it seemed the shop shifted like that tectonic plate after the Japanese tsunami. My hair, slick with sweat, hung over my face. I tried to blow it away but didn’t have the puff. It had been knocked out of me. “You know what this is?” I gasped.

“You like?” He asked.

I swallowed. “Like? That’s… that’s andustmen.”

“Wha?” asked Enrique and I swallowed again. I looked around and sat on a box of cigarettes. A big box, not a packet.

“I said, that’s an understatement,” I pronounced each word carefully this time. I held the telephone out blindly with one hand while I held my eyes and forehead with the other. I tried to hold it steady but couldn’t. Enrique took his phone on the second attempt. I looked up. He looked at the screen and nodded and smiled. He was pleased with himself.

There was silence for a while. A couple of times I thought I was going to fall off the box like so much Humpty Dumpty but then with a massive effort I stood again. I still had to hold the counter but if I hadn’t got up then I doubt I ever would have.

“I had no idea.” I said to Enrique. I went to grab his lapel so I could stare into his eyes while I said it but I missed. My hand just swung in front of his chest. I planted both hands, palm down, on the counter. “I had no idea,” I repeated looking at my splayed fingers.

“Take easy, cheese!” Said Enrique.

“You don’t understand,” I said and then I took a deep breath and stood straight and unsupported. “You don’t understand, Enrique. This…” I pointed at the phone. “This is a game changer.”

“Is no dat goo-“

“No!” I shouted. “Don’t do that. Don’t…” I placed a hand on his shoulder. “It’s breathtaking,” I said. “I just didn’t…”  I said and that wasn’t an exaggeration. I didn’t. I just didn’t. To me, since I’d met him, Enrique had just been an idiot. I’d often, during quiet moments, stared at him and wondered what was going on behind his malevolent piggy eyes. I had theories, of course – Top Gear. Rape. Stupidity – those had been my guesses and to be fair to me he’d never ever done anything to dispel that idea. A bit about his car perhaps.

Yes, when I stared at Enrique on those cold October days I could fully imagine one of those thought clouds coming from his head. Smaller empty thought clouds leading from his head to the big one. The big one showing Enrique driving along in his car, his elbow out the open window. Clarkson in the passenger seat and May and Hammond in the back. Enrique would be laughing at something stupid Hammond said and then Clarkson would point at something they were driving past. Although no sound came out of the thought bubble it was clear from the reaction of those in the car, the way their eyebrows started to go up and down and their hands did that claw thing, that Clarkson had spotted a potential rape victim.

I’d been wrong. I’m big enough to admit and as I stood there swaying in the shop I wondered how I’d ever be able to make this up to Enrique.

“I’m teaching you to drive, motherfucker!” I said and Enrique who had been smiling now smiled even wider. “And you can use our oven, once a week.” He smiled wider. “And you can get a shower.”

BANG! Enrique literally exploded with delight.

“Actually you can’t get a shower in ours.” My wife would flip. “But you can come in and use the oven once a week.”

“Why dis for?” Asked the beaming Enrique. He looked stunned.

“That!” I said pointing at the telephone. Enrique looked down at the phone and shook his head and then we heard thumping bass growing closer. We both looked into the car park and watched the Mini Cooper confidently swing in. It stopped abruptly next to Enrique’s heap of shit. Simon Helyar stepped out and to stop myself squealing with excitement I bit my knuckle. Enrique was rapidly hitting my back. “I know!” I said trying to remain calm.

The automatic doors whooshed open and Simon stepped in. It may have been my imagination but it was like at that exact moment there had been a power surge. Like Cap de la Hague nuclear plant which is where Jersey gets its electricity from had gone Three Mile Island.

“It’s Simon!” Said Simon musically doing jazz hands with his big hands.

“It sure is!” I giggled. Simon spotted the iPhone Enrique was holding. “So?” He asked.

“S’good!” Said Enrique and I pulled a face.

“Good? It’s fucking mesmerizing!” I said.

“Why, thank you,” said Simon doing a mock curtsy. Holding his mock frock delicately.

“It’s gonna change the fucking world,” I added. Simon was appreciative of my words. “Seriously before you invented this app I thought Enrique was a total fucking spazmo.” I looked at Enrique, he was smiling. “But what you’ve done… what you’ve done is to…” God, it was hard to find the words that adequately conveyed what Simon and his app had accomplished. “It’s like…” No, I still didn’t have the words. I tried again. “Okay, what you’ve done with the app,” I shook a finger at Enrique’s phone, “you changed the way humans communicate with each other. Forever. And now everything else seems really… really fucking retarded.”

“I’m glad you like!” Said Simon but it was clear he’d heard this talk thousands of times already. From investors to the tech media, models to Christian groups and from Jamie Oliver. Everybody loved Simon’s app. Normally I don’t like it when people get praised too highly but in this case it was fully justified.

“So what did you do?” He asked Enrique. I butted in because Enrique don’t talk so good.

“He’s just used the intuitive user interface and posted up, with text and images, a story.” I turned to Enrique, looked directly into his eyes. “I had no idea what you have to go through,” I said, once more placing a hand on his shoulder and for the first time ever there was mutual respect coming out of our eyes into the other one’s head.

“I do gghrrecipe next!” Said Enrique.

“And he’s using my oven at home. Fuck the Belling.”

“Hey!” Said Simon raising his spread arms like Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. “This is exactly what I imagined when I invented the app!”

“Well you achieved that with ease! Now you just have to worry about how to spend all the money.”

“Bah, money isn’t everything,” said Simon the way only somebody with loads of cash can. “Just got back from Antigua though, I’m going to put up the photos later. On Story.”

“Holiday photos!” And this time I did squeal. I flapped at my face with my fingers. “I can’t wait.”

“Be up this afternoon.”

“I can’t wait!” I said again, like an idiot.

“Well, gotta bounce!” Said Simon, “Just checking up on everybody who’s downloaded the app.”

“Everybody loves it!” I said. He nodded, gave us the thumbs up and headed out to his car. We watched him. He sat in his car for a while before starting it and driving away and then Enrique and I sat in his office talking about our fathers and how they’d influenced us.

Today Facebook announced PAPER, which is basically the same as Simon’s app. So Simon’s fucked.