All Stories, Science Fiction

Silent Treatments by Goran Sedlar


Laughing out loud.

Rolling on the floor with laughter.

Smiley face.

This last one was from Barb and Trevor’s heart-felt like supernova.

The night was going well. He was being charming, funny and confident. His body language advertised a great catch and a man who should be forgiven one honest mistake.

It really happened, typed Trevor. He took a sip of water and put the glass back on the interactive table. Right on top of a “BREAKING NEWS” headline about a tsunami striking some city so far removed from their lives it sounded like a hard crossword puzzle.

So, he typed, where you love birds gonna fly?

Star was sitting next to Barb, and she was blinking innocently at Child, who was sitting beside Trevor. Double date was the best kind of neutral zone for what Trevor was trying to accomplish here.

Don’t know, typed Star, it’s a honeymoon surprise. Smiley face.

Child eagerly displayed a row of white teeth decorated with breadcrumbs. I have two surprises, grinning smiley face, he typed.

The quiet of the dining room was interrupted only by buzzing of the kitchen appliances, forks poking plates and fingers typing.

Trevor grabbed the salt shaker right off a newsflash about a bomb going off in a wedding procession in some country where these things happened so often it was a local custom.

Bran– started Trevor but hastily deleted the mistake. Still getting used to Brandon’s new name. Child, typed Trevor, be good to her. Winking smiley face.

This exchange of concern was meant for Barb, it was meant to point out how much he changed.

After they finished their meals Trevor moved them to his living room where the X-Ray lamp set the mood for the rest of the evening and liquor was waiting to loosen their fingers.

This hurts like hell, typed Trevor and pointed to his pancreas visible to all his guests in the light of the electromagnetic radiation. Started about a month ago.

I have this swelling here, typed Barb and circled around her fleshy liver with her red fingernail, still building courage to get it checked.

I know the feeling, typed Star.

“Za…!” Trevor almost blurted out. Mixing alcohol with a nice time made speaking out loud an easy mistake to make.

Zax, he typed. Olives. Olives.

Sparkling water for me, typed Barb.

And sparkling water. Sparkling water.

It was embarrassing to type everything twice, but Trevor refused to upgrade his domestic serving unit. Sure, the new version was better at understanding commands but, reportedly, it was slow as hell. Order a fruit salad and by the time it arrives it’ll be a full-grown tree.

For a while no one was typing and the moment of awkwardness threatened to blow out of proportion.

Why don’t you show Star the backyard, typed Trevor looking at Child.

His friend nodded, grabbed his wife by the hand and led her outside.

There were just Trevor and Barb now and for a while things got quiet.

Well, quiet-er.

Trevor stared at the black mirror of his TV, thinking how to frame what he was about to type. Barb was sitting across, her typing hand far from the keyboard-necklace on her left wrist.

Listen, started Trevor, I want you know how great tonight was.

Me too.

Her eyes blue and beautiful and honest.

Trevor eyed the red standby light of the vacuum cleaner, tucked away between sleek furniture.

And I’m sorry. I really wanna work on our relationship status, and I get now how you might think I’ve hurt you.


No, typo, what I meant–

The sound of his typing was cut off by her furious hammering over the keyboard.

Her eyes red and angry and scary.

No, you don’t get it! You liked another woman! In front all our friends!

No, he was typing back, I liked the picture, the framing, the light, the composition I could–

Jesus, Trevor, you think I’m an idiot?

He stared at the sheen of his expensive Hi-Fi system thinking how to respond. But it was a sort of question one should know how to answer in the middle of a night, after the worst hangover of their life, with half of their brain amputated. Not think about it.

Barb grabbed her purse, fighting for balance on those high heels, and stomped toward the front door.

“Baby, baby, this sucks! Help me fix this! I’m sorry!”

Her decisiveness scared him into shouting it all out, with enough time and reason only to slap his mouth shut when he was already finished.

The words barely died on his lips before the whole house sprang to life. Blinking and flashing furiously as if his living room were an amusement park.

TV turned on showing movies of babies. “Which one would you like, Trevor?”

Vacuum cleaner pulled to a halt between him and his soon to be ex-girlfriend. “What would you like me to clean, Trevor?”

Trevor’s cell phone on the counter was shooting bolts and announcing it was calling the closest home repair services. “What would you have fixed, Trevor?”

The mirror next to the front door was flashing and saying, “Do you want me to change your name to Sorry, Trevor?”

The lamp was asking its questions, the table was shouting back what it heard.

It was a racket equal to a busiest street in the city. Hundreds of inquiries being fired and all framed with a sound of his name.

And through all the noise, Barb, staring back at him, her lips moving.

Yes or no, was the only thing he could lip read through the loud cacophony. Her face hungry for another mistake he was definitely gonna make.

Well? Asked her lips.

Trevor thought hard. The noise of his home appliances was getting louder and louder but there was no use asking for a second chance. Not even if he couldn’t hear a thing she was saying.

“Yes,” he guessed.

Before Barb slammed the door behind her, she slapped him so hard for a moment Trevor thought he popped out of his mother’s womb again.

He rubbed his sore cheek and cursed.

“Trevor…” The profanity barely left his lips but the voice was already coming from the bathroom.

“… would you like me to warm the seat for you?”


Goran Sedlar


Header photograph: By CentralAuckland (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

5 thoughts on “Silent Treatments by Goran Sedlar”

  1. Although some of the scenes are amusing this is actually quite a chilling story of how things could get out of hand in many more ways than one, both globally and personally – a cautionary tale indeed.


  2. This is really good stuff. I love satire, especially when it’s filled with humour. This is of course way down the line, but like Diane said, it’s still a cautionary tale.


  3. I finally got it — this is a new computer version of a crossword puzzle with multi players! Ingenious, Goren! Good luck with it! June


  4. Really clever story with a dark underbelly. The scene where each object does its best to please Trevor and comply with his “wishes” is great. Enjoyed this very much.


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