Fiction: Friendz

By Michelle Wilson

I watch the tiny acrobat inside my phone. I watch her backflip and somersault, fly through pixelated air, land on her feet, fall.
I feed her words through my keypad: “Amazing!” “Nice.” “Damn, that must’ve hurt…
We went to high school together. Back then, she was a cheerleader, hung out with all the jocks. I thought she’d be a frumpy mom by now. That she ended up in my phone is bizarre and unsettling. That she does tricks for applause makes me smug. There’s no need to compare our lives, but I do it, anyway.
I press my thumb into her tiny torso and drag her, squirming, across the screen. Back and forth, I watch her tiny legs flop helplessly like a doll’s, until she bursts into tears.
“Watch me fall apart,” she wails.
I watch until her face caves in and her toy legs buckle. I watch until I’m glad it’s not me, until the crushing boredom momentarily lifts.
{{Hugs}}, I type.
She lunges forward, her face filling the screen. Up close, I see every wrinkle and blemish. Time has been unkind. No filter can hide those flaws.
“I know where you live,” she hisses.
Laughing, I drag her to the garbage icon, let her hover there, begging for mercy. My phone makes a crunching sound like it’s eating her.
Then it pings. The garbage lid opens and out she climbs—bloody, shredded, one eye dangling.
“Why are you being so mean?”
Tight lipped, I drag her, kicking and screaming, back into the garbage; but again, she climbs out, looking like mangled meat. I power off my phone. Consider tossing it into a garbage truck, upgrading.
“I thought we were friends.”
I stare at my dead phone.
“Look at me.”
It’s like her voice is inside my head, or just beyond the bedroom door.
“Look at me. Look at what you’ve done.”

Michelle Wilson’s words have appeared in Potato Soup Journal’s Best of 2021 AnthologyRejection LettersMaudlin House, Litro Magazine, The Drabble, 50-Word StoriesLiterally Stories, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, among others. Her story ‘Fish Brain’ has been nominated for a Best of the Net 2022 Award. She lives with her partner in Miami Beach, Florida.