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Gar's Bookshelf
Winning Poems & Stories
The New Phone - Boris Glikman
Eventually, these fears subsided as most found that they were greeted with warmth and enthusiasm and
their calls were seen as a pleasant surprise. Talking with yourself was just like talking with a
dear friend you haven’t seen for a long time and conversation flowed easily.

People rushed to purchase this new invention, which was marketed under the brand name of “mePhone”.
Suppliers could not keep up with the demand and there were ugly scenes as customers fought amongst
themselves for the last available mePhone.

For mePhone to work properly certain rules had to be followed, and these were set out in the Owner’s
Manual. First, the reception only worked in particular areas, access to which required an extra fee.
Second, there was a strict time limit on how long you could spend speaking to yourself. And third,
when using the mePhone, one had to wear special, rather cumbersome apparel that was sold separately
from the phone. Also, owing to the technical complexities involved in establishing a connection, the
cost of a call was outrageously expensive, although some enterprising phone companies, hoping to
capitalise on the popularity of the mePhone, for a while only charged it at a local call rate.  

However, these inconveniences were more than outweighed by the benefits you gained from having a
good chat with yourself, for no one had ever had the time to stop and take a good, honest look at
their lives. Everyone was always rushing about, preoccupied with the mundane details of existence,
trying to silence the nagging question of whether they were happy with their lives and if they were
being true to their inner selves.

And so it was an enlightening experience to be able to have a deep and meaningful talk with oneself.
The users of the mePhone could now catch up with all the things in their lives they had never had
the chance to think about before, to find out the vital news that fell by the wayside as they were
speeding along the road of life.

People found that talking with yourself was a lot like talking to an old confidant, with whom the
most intimate matters could be discussed. Not infrequently tears were shed as truths one had been
hiding from oneself for many years were conveyed in blunt and forthright terms. Conversations gained
a confessional aspect as darkest secrets known only to oneself were divulged openly over the phone
lines. Quite often, surprises were lying in store as people discovered what they were actually
feeling inside. At other times, the voice on the other end of the line would remind you of your long-
neglected dreams, of desires and needs you had suppressed for far too long.

Many found out they weren’t really happy in their places of employment. Some realised they had
fallen out of love a long time ago. Others saw for the first time that they had deluded themselves
as well as others into believing they had reached fulfilment, regardless of how they actually felt
inside. Quite a few recognised that they had become so comfortable with being miserable and
disenchanted that they shrank back in fear when contentment appeared to be within easy reach.

The world became a better, happier place because of the mePhone as people at last began to be true
to their own selves, for they knew they could no longer get away with lying to themselves. The way
life had been before the mePhone was just a distant, faded memory and no person could imagine ever
being without one.
One day a new type of phone that one could use to call oneself appeared in
connected straight away with oneself. The quality of the reception was so
good that the voice on the other end of the line sounded as if it was coming
from the very same room.

Inevitably, there was some initial apprehension about using this phone, for
no one quite knew what kind of a response they would receive when they rang
themselves out of the blue for the very first time. What if their unexpected
call was considered to be an impertinent invasion of privacy?