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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Digital Detox (04/24/14)

TITLE: A tablet in space
By JK Stenger
05/01/14


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When Jock Jones was selected to be the one to travel into space he kissed the cleaning lady on both cheeks and danced through Kennedy Space Centre.
Imagine that…chosen above all others.

When he calmed down a bit, a thought struck him. My followers… I’ve got to tell my 22,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter the good news. They need to hear it from me before it's on the news. Where’s my smartphone?”

He looked at the little screen that lit up. Look at that…32 new messages!
He licked his lips and paused to savour the feeling of joy.
A top-notch astronaut with 22.000 followers and 32 unanswered text messages on his smartphone. The world needed to hear. Abdul from Iraq, Wolfgang the German guy, Nevaeh from Alaska… everyone.

*******

The launch had been a success. The noise had been deafening and it had been a little scary. Jock’s helmet had gotten fogged up from the sweat on his forehead, but after awhile he had gotten in calmer space-waters and his body relaxed.
He had pushed the necessary buttons and checked the charts, but now there was nothing to do but to wait. In two days he would arrive at the satellite where he would have to do some repairs, But that was in two days.

Jock didn’t mind. He was prepared. He had taken his tablet along for the ride.
It had just fitted inside his bag and after checking the controls he pulled it out.
His followers would hear directly from Jock Jones in space. He chuckled when he clicked the on button.

What but what is this? Where is Internet Explorer? His heart skipped a beat.
Ugly words appeared on the screen: “No Internet. Please check your connection.”

This is horrible. No connection?
Sweat dripped from his forehead, which instantly fogged up his helmet once again.
It can’t be the fault of the tablet.
It’s brand new. The best of the best.
But there was no connection. His followers would’t hear from him.

He dropped his arms next to his spacesuit and stared despondently into the darkness.
He could still play Solitaire of course. But he hated Solitaire.

“Jock?”

Who’s that?

“Jock?”

Jock’s left eye twitched a bit.
“Jock, what are you doing?”

It was a still, small voice. And very firm.

Is that God? I am after all a lot closer to heaven here.

“Is that you God?” He looked around the cabin.
“Of course it is me,” God answered. “What’s up Jock?”

Jock scratched his helmet. What could he say?
“I am unhappy God!”

“Why?” God asked.

“Because my tablet doesn’t work!”

Jock knew he sounded ridiculous, but what else could he say? There’s no hiding from God.

“Jock, you have to get your priorities straight,”
“Look at the stars, the moon and the heavens. I made it all, but you do not see. You only see the digital heavens.”

Jock looked at his tablet. It still said: “Please check your connection.”
What a stupid thing, that tablet!

He lifted his head and glanced through the windows. Suddenly it appeared breathtaking.
It was as his eyes were opened to the enormous beauty of the universe. There was the earth as a blue ball hanging in space. And look at all those stars… Why had he not seen this before?

“God, I am sorry, I’ve got it all wrong!”

God didn’t answer, but somehow that didn’t disturb Jock.There was joy again inside his chest. A sense of inspiration, but it had nothing to do with Twitter or Facebook.
It was a different joy. It felt more real.
He picked up his tablet and slid it under his chair.

“Goodbye old friend,” he whispered. “I’ve got two full days to enjoy God. No time to waste on your silly little screen.”

He pushed his helmet to the window and sighed contentedly. “This is great. Just great!”

He was so taken up by the view that he didn’t hear that still small voice that whispered: “Amen!”


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This article has been read 95 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joe Moreland05/02/14
Very good job on this piece. Your MC was extremely likable, even though he had his priorities straight. Imagine getting chosen to go up in space, and you're mostly excited about being able to message your followers from zero gravity. It's almost laughable, except that I bet it has happened already.

CD Swanson 05/03/14
Ingenious approach this well written and enjoyable piece.

Well done!

God bless~
Joanne Sher 05/05/14
Clever and creative take on the topic. Bet this one was fun to write! Thanks for sharing!
Linda Buskirk05/06/14
Very fun point of view - literally! It is a little improbable, however, than an astronaut would not know about the limitations of technology in space, whatever they are. I couldn't get over wondering how he/she didn't know about that, even as I enjoyed reading about the main character's struggle.
Larry Whittington05/06/14
Yes, at times we don't think and that is all our fault.

You made the point real in an unlikely setting for most of us.

Good job.
Maura J. Merrigan05/07/14
A very interesting and creative write! An astronaut enthralled with his techno tablet! Love it.