All Stories, General Fiction

Vigilant by Doug Hawley

At first it was thought to be an isolated case.  A loud, self-important person said that his cell phone had overheated and mildly burned his ear while he was talking about his proctology exam on a crowded bus.  When several others related incidents while talking loudly about work, grocery lists and fights with spouses or bosses occurred, the phenomenon quickly passed through urban legend into a genuine mystery.  Because the cell phones only overheated in certain situations, no one could find any problem inherent in the phones themselves.  The problem had to be external.

After the hot cell phone cases became well known, the long-suffering public began to cheer each burnt ear and was happy to lose the distracting and irritating chatter of the cell bozos.

A partial solution was revealed in an anonymous letter to the Oregonian newspaper.

“Rude, insensitive idiots that want to bray on your cell phones in crowded places, be warned that your behavior will no longer be tolerated.  If you continue your obnoxious habits, you will be burned, and we can turn up the heat.  You will be singed and your phone will be ruined.  I am Legion, but you can call me Curmudgeon.”

Whoever was burning ears, hands and phones was a criminal guilty of assault, and destruction of personal property.  A majority of the public knew this, but weary of the audible abuse by the victims of Curmudgeon, awarded the unknown vigilante folk hero status like some of the bank robbers of the Great Depression – Bonnie and Clyde and more.  As a result of the lack of support for the victims of the Curmudgeon and because the attacks decreased as cell phonies, as they became to be known, largely abandoned their egregious behavior, there was little effort to find the lead vigilante.

With evil cell use cured, Curmudgeon, turned off any music in public which could be heard by anyone but the player thereof.  The vast majority noticed and saw that it was good.  Former miscreants learned about headphones.

I can’t take full credit.  I’m only the public, I guess not face, let’s say words of Curmudgeon.  An engineer friend, who was forced to listen to a woman describe her baby’s bowel habits on an elevator for thirty floors, came up with the phone heater.  I organized the millions in our vigilante group.  The dark web is good for something besides drugs and twisted sex.  Our next project will clean up the written language.  Text writing will no longer be seen on the internet.  “Ur” will no longer mean “your” or “you’re”, it will return to its rightful meaning, an early city in Mesopotamia.  “Woke”, “lit”, “issue”, “impact” can only be used as God meant them to be used.  “Walking it back” will be exercise and “end of the day” will be a time.  Those atrocities will be replaced by “idiot talk removed here”.  No more verbing nouns or nouning verbs.

Cleaning up the written language will be a major project, but we already have something bigger in the works.  In a few years, there will be no more electronic celebrity news.  Want to know who gave up Scientology or declared him/herself pot or pansexual?  You won’t find out on the internet.  The most obnoxious Real Housewife, Bachelor or Bachelorette will not be a hashmark.

Be prepared for a wonderful future.  After we have improved the language, we will turn to blocking the worst of Television. Our experts project that, when we have perfected the technology, the elimination of “The Surreal Studs of Syracuse” alone will lead to 10% of desperate Americans reading books and raise the collective IQ by 5%.


Doug Hawley 

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5 thoughts on “Vigilant by Doug Hawley”

  1. Curmudgeon is a super hero. Need him on the ferry. I believe he might be in a secret lab located deep beneath a Scottish pleasure house, and is an editor at a literary site.
    Happy to see Hawley back from a stint in the Writer Relocation Program. Since Bulger is now roasting at hell, he must’ve felt safe to come out.
    Leila Allison

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Doug, I loved this! If only it were true! Then, you could go on to deactivating the bass notes in the car behind me, filled with restless teens! You know the sound – like a monster just crawled up your spine and is eating your brain. UGH! Good story! Made me laugh, then made me wistful! Maybe someday….


  3. Hi Doug,
    You made me think about my thoughts on kids being the same as my thoughts on mobiles.
    Do I hate the kids or their parents?
    Do I hate mobiles or their users?
    Sod it – All of the above!!
    This made me smile!!!
    All the very best my friend.


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