Short fiction

Issue #8


So, a brief introduction to my theory. I must again stress that it is only a theory and will only ever apply to myself - the theory’s subject, promoter and protagonist. It could be disproved at any moment - tomorrow the very foundations of my theory may collapse. I will be disappointed, but I will accept failure and move on with a brave smile, ready to face an uncertain future. The beauty of science is that the truth can be altered, reaffirmed… relaxed. I should add that I am not a scientist in a traditional sense; I have no scientific qualifications per se and remember little of AS Biology.[1] My personal science is earthy, organic and coated in plastic.

The thesis:

Since June the 11th, 2008, the appearance, personality and longevity of Christopher L S Galvin’s[2] lovers[3] correspond entirely with his mobile handset at the time.

I must admit that as the theory’s existence gradually dawned upon me, its fate-like grasp over my life was a little unnerving. But then I was struck by a second epiphany. I realised that my discovery offered me more control over my future than I ever thought possible. I am at liberty to choose my own handset and, thus, I am able to determine and effectively purchase a sexual partner.

Here is a brief outline of my theory’s backstory.


Three days after my seventeenth birthday, my mother agreed that I was finally capable of owning a monthly-contract phone.[4] At last, the awkward days of newsagent top-ups were over. All the more fortunately my new contract came with a free handset. I chose the RAZR2 V9, largely based upon its slick, elegant and understated appearance. It was the kind of handset that - at the time -demanded silent admiration, but not open praise. I was fine with that. The handset went on to last me twenty-three solid months. Life with the RAZR2 V9 was comfortable and familiar. In spite of its comparative technological shortcomings, a bond of affection slowly developed between us and it became a reassuring symbol of stability in my life. Our days together would have lasted longer had I not grown unsympathetic and keen to replace it with a more updated model. Upon arrival at university I became increasingly self-conscious about its insufficiencies, to the extent that I was embarrassed to be seen in public with it. I eventually dropped it out of a slow moving vehicle, semi-accidentally, and the RAZR2 V9’s days of dutiful service came to an end.[5]

Around my seventeenth birthday I was informed by a trusted source that Helen Sanders, an unassuming girl I vaguely knew from my maths class, was attracted to me. Finally my days of virginity were over. She was a sufficient first girlfriend, and her slim, athletic figure compensated for a lack of facial beauty. The consensus amongst my friend group was that she was certainly not ugly. I was therefore satisfied. By the evening directly following my purchase of the Motorola RAZR2 V9 we had successfully eloped. An arbitrary month later, we had intercourse. Helen was low-maintenance, loving and boring. After a convenient relationship that lasted for almost two years, I facilitated a few minor arguments that justified a break-up. Our romantic ties were gently and efficiently severed within the first three weeks of university.[6]


It was time to update my contract. Practicality was no longer enough. I needed sufficiently cutting-edge technology to ensure new friends at university would not think I was poor. Having garnered some basic knowledge of handset-quality following my experience with the RAZR V9, I took a stronger interest in the actual specs of my new purchase. After paying close attention to the interactions of those around me, I realised that it was imperative I purchased a smart phone and truly maximized my social outreach. I chose the BlackBerry 8900 which, although a little bulky, ticked all the proverbial boxes. The 8900 opened sociable doors I didn’t know existed, giving me access to Facebook on the go and, most crucially, BlackBerry Messenger.[7] BBM allowed my social life to flourish. I could communicate with an ever-increasing circle of friends for free, around the clock. I was so pleased with the handset that I happily maintained its use for nine months. We worked well together, and it felt like the 8900 was reflective of the new, better me. Disaster struck, however, when I misplaced the phone in the gym changing room after a particularly gruelling workout. The changing room is a merciless environment, fuelled by synthetic testosterone and scented with synthetic sweat. It is the kind of place where, if one loses one’s BlackBerry 8900, one cannot hope to see it again. I convinced myself that the phone was lost, and a brief but undeniably dark thirty-six hours of my life subsequently followed.

In the first few weeks of university it was essential that I established myself as a man comfortable with the opposite sex, with reasonably high standards of preference. At home my above-average appearance had been largely overlooked due to a period of severe acne at the age of fifteen that tarnished my reputation. But the past was insignificant now, and in a university environment I was attracting the attention I deserved. In the dying days of my relationship with Helen Sanders, a girl on the netball team named Susie Richards caught my attention. She had already established herself as a popular figure in the student village and, mercifully, she was also attractive. Her thighs were rather large but, being a man who can see beyond aesthetic imperfection, I ignored this minor defect. I enjoyed a rewarding nine months with Susie before a two-day collapse in communication. She resented the time I spent bonding with male friends and maintaining my ever-improving physique in the gym, not realising that both activities are crucial to my social happiness. Following an unpleasant exchange of insults, she left to stay at her parent’s holiday house in the Lake District to think things over.[8] I presumed our relationship had run its due course.


I borrowed the spare phone of my next-door neighbour in halls for an evening out, following the temporary loss of Handset Two. I am confident it was a rather dated Nokia but unable to confirm the exact model.[9]

I slept with the girlfriend of my next-door neighbour that evening. She was visiting for the weekend and never came up again. I cannot remember her face.


By now the correlation between handset and sexual partners that I had always presumed to be a coincidental fantasy was becoming harder to ignore. My experience with HANDSET THREE confirmed all suspicions. The next morning my blackberry surfaced in the gym lost property and we were reunited. Susie also returned from the Lake District, determined to patch up our relationship. In the immediate weeks that followed, until the present, I have grown dissatisfied with both her and my handset. Realising that both can be upgraded at a price,[10] I have been eying up the priced gem of the telecommunications world – Apple’s latest iPhone 4S. I am excited by the impressive specifications and flawless design of the model, and the near perfect girl that will be mine.

[1] I attained a B In AS Biology, which was then dropped [2008] My other qualifications: A2 German (AQA) – Graded A; A2 Maths (Edexcel) – Graded B; A2 Politics (Edexcel) – Graded A [Examinations taken at Little Chalfont Grammar School, June 2009]. I am currently studying for a BA (second year) in Advertising and Marketing [Newcastle University][2] That is myself.[3] By lovers I naturally mean sexual relationships.[4] To be paid for by her; I was without regular income at the time. I now work at Boots on weekends. The pay is average.[5] 647 days, to be exact.[6] She had attended Northumbria University with the intention, I suspect, of guaranteeing the continuation of the relationship due to our geographical proximity. We occasionally bump into each other at nightclubs and other social venues in the city centre. The encounters are typically uncomfortable, although not uncivil.[7] BBM[8] Louis Barker, a particularly loathsome member of the Basketball first team, accompanied her.[9] I made sure that the phone was returned the next day in perfect condition.[10] Due to the financial prosperity offered by my weekend job at Boots, money ceased to be a major concern.

Jack Browne