Useful Things


by Amanda Malone

I didn't realize I was hungry until my phone buzzed and told me it was time for lunch. Siri suggested the new sandwich shop that had just opened near campus. When I walked in, the girl at the register was talking on her cell phone.

I've gotta go, she said, bye Mom. She stuffed her phone into her pocket and turned to me. Her long blonde hair was pulled back into a ponytail that swished around, making her look like a bobble-head. Thank you, she said after I ordered, Have a nice day.

With a smile, she handed over my receipt and tray of food. I stuffed the receipt in my pocket and found a spot by the window. I updated my location on Facebook and posted

   Eating #BestSandwichEver at the Sub Shop

on my Twitter. It got only three favorites.

I started eating and saw Blondie go into the bathroom and come out wearing regular clothes. She went out the front door, looked both ways before crossing the street and walked with her back to oncoming traffic, her ponytail swaying with every step.

Five minutes later, my phone buzzed again with Twitter updates:

   WOAH JUST SAW A CHICK GET HIT #ICan'tEvenRightNow'
   'Girl just got plowed down while trying to cross the street #GottaHateMondays'
   'You know you've got #StateUniProblems when you can't even walk to class.'
   'Ever heard the one about the dumb blonde crossing the road? #TooSoon?    #DontEvenCare.'
   'human roadkill? #TragicallyBeautiful'

It took ten minutes for someone to post a picture of the young woman lying in the middle of the road. Her long blonde hair was still tied into a ponytail.

My phone buzzed and told me class started in twenty minutes. I grabbed my stuff and left my trash on the table before rushing back to campus. On my way there, I smelled something awful and looked up from my phone to see Blondie. Someone had dragged her mangled body to the side of road, leaving a trail of gore from her original resting spot. One arm was bent at a funny angle, still gripping her cell phone. I stopped to take a few quick snaps of her. My phone buzzed again with a ten minute warning. I turned away and sprinted towards the Humanities building.

Once I reached the classroom, I looked over my shots of Blondie. They were perfect – eight megapixels of pure gold. I chose the best one, pulled up Instagram and applied the X- Pro II filter. It fixed the light exposure and did a nice job with color saturation. You could really see the freshness of the blood in Blondie's pale hair. My post got twenty likes before class even started. I was pretty impressed with myself.

The professor's sociology lecture wasn't holding my attention so I reached into my pocket for my phone. The first thing my fingers touched was a small piece of paper. I unfolded my receipt from the sandwich place. The ink had smeared, reducing Blondie's name to nothing more than a black smudge. I crumpled up the useless paper and let it fall to my feet.




BIO: Amanda Malone is currently an undergrad at Georgia Southern University, where she majors in English with a Writing minor. "Useful Things" is her first published work of fiction.