by Timothy A Wiseman
Joshua’s mother died when he was six. He was just old enough to remember her. He cherished every memory and relic.
As a child, Joshua secluded himself, surrounding himself with books and memories of his mother. Eventually, he earned his Ph.D. in engineering.
Then he figured out how to do it. He developed the necrophone. He called his mother immediately.
“Joshua, it is so good to talk to you. I’ve watched you grow up, I’m so proud.” She said.
At first, it was bliss. He told her about how much he missed her, and all about his life.
They talked for hours.
The next day, he presented it to his boss. His boss loved it. They could make a fortune on a product like that. “Marketing is going to hate that name though. We’ll let them focus group it to death…then we can call it on the necrophone.” His boss laughed at his own joke and Joshua chuckled politely.
That night he called his mother again, and excitedly told her the news. Then he finally asked her how she was doing. “Oh, you know, it’s boring here. So mostly I watch you, all the time.”
“All the time?” Joshua asked. He wondered if laptop privacy screens protected your privacy from the dead. Would clearing his browser history help?
“Oh yeah, not much to do but watch you, so I watch you all the time.”
Joshua stayed silent for a moment, so his mother went on. “So, are you going to ask Sally out? You haven’t made any grandchildren yet…”
“Wait, who’s Sally?”
“She’s the neighbor next door. You say hi to her every morning, how do you not know her name? Anyway, I’ve had an eye on her, she has a good family and a great personality. She’s told you all about them! And if you don’t ask someone out, I’ll never get grandchildren.”
By the next week, after many more suggestions from his deceased mother, he had asked Sally out. The date went well, until he had to go to the bathroom. Then his necrophone began to ring. He hadn’t realized it could receive calls. Hesitantly, he answered it.
“Josh, you can do better. You haven’t complimented her enough. She’s a lovely girl, you need to tell her so.”
“You’re not only watching my date, but you’re calling to give me dating advice in the middle of it?” he said.
“Of course, things are boring here, but you didn’t seem to be doing that well on your own, so I thought I would help you out.”
He stared at the handset for a moment, and then threw it out the window into the river. People didn’t need to know that the afterlife was boring or that the dead were watching them all the time. For him in particular, there was no way he would ever be able to make grandchildren for his mother if she were constantly reminding him that she was watching…
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Timothy A Wiseman
Timothy A. Wiseman is a database administrator who recently graduated law school. He has a wonderful wife and three children. When he can find the time, he practices Jiu Jitsu. He also writes law journal articles and technical pieces about programming. Sometimes, when he is up far later than he should be, he writes short stories