There’s an App for
By Hillary Lyon
Taking those outside calls
phone in Vincent’s inside coat pocket vibrated like a tiny
rattlesnake against his chest. He put his scotch down on the bar, smiled at the
pretty gal beside him, and excused himself. He pulled out his phone only after
he’d left the bar and walked a ways down the sidewalk.
the screen was a map of the area; Vincent’s location appeared as
a glowing blue dot. Two blocks over a red dot throbbed and moved towards a
static white square—which was a trendy night-spot called Blockheads. Vincent
watched until the red dot and the white square
merged. He shoved his phone back in his coat pocket and walked toward
course there was a cover-charge at Blockheads; all the social
media virtual reality bars charged out the wazoo; this place was no exception.
He swiped his debit card between the lips of the bouncer-bot; its eyes flashed
green and Vincent was handed a pair of Blockheads EsclusivoTM VR glasses. All
the classiest VR clubs supplied their own glasses nowadays. He went inside.
was like forging through a mudslide of humanity, Vincent thought
as he shouldered his way through the crowd. He found a perch on a tall chair
along the back wall, where he could scan the crowd, unnoticed. Like most clubs,
all the action took place on the dance floor in the center of the room. Vincent
pulled out his phone. Now the screen displayed a map of the club: Vincent’s
blue dot off to the side, stationary, and the throbbing red dot careening back
and forth like an errant ping-pong ball.
looked up from his phone, attempting to correlate the red dot’s
movement with someone on the dance floor. No dice. He put on the VR glasses and
the dance floor exploded with avatars, all with wispy name-tags floating above
their heads. He saw Princess Purple Dragon, who left a trail of sparkles with
every movement, Joey Kanga—half man, half kangaroo, athletically bouncing
across the floor. There was the Binary Bunch: a small group of indeterminate
sex, just six black silhouettes filled with streaming, illuminated ones and
zeros. There was Cap’n Arbitrage, the Duchess of Digitalis, and—Alucard, a
black and white avatar based on a young Bela Lugosi, but with vibrant red lips
added for dramatic effect. Seriously, did no one here get the joke in his
watched as Alucard drifted from one digital denizen to
another, until he landed on a lonely lady at the dark end of the bar. Well, her
cloud-tag said “Lady Jane.” She appeared to be a praying mantis in a wedding
dress. Alucard leaned close to Lady Jane’s face and whispered temptations to
took off the glasses and rubbed his eyes. Again he
consulted his phone’s screen. Red dot’s location confirmed it was ‘Alucard.’ No
doubt. He slid off his perch and moved toward the couple. For an avatar, Vince
had also chosen an old movie character—so no one noticed as the Invisible Man
opened his coat and retrieved a silver-tipped wooden stake, hand-crafted by a
monk of the Saint Isadore Monastery. Oh Patron Saint of High Tech, don’t
fail me now, Vincent prayed.
waited for Lady Jane to turn her head away from Alucard; when
she did, all it took was one thrust with the vampire-slaying stake and—Alucard
was dust. She turned back, sadly unsurprised her new friend had vanished.
Relieved, Vince consulted his phone. The club was clear, though to his
consternation, the app immediately reset itself. Like a tiny drop of blood, a
new red dot blossomed in a dive bar six blocks away.
Hillary Lyon, Lyonwrite@gmail.com, who wrote BP #87’s “There’s an App for
That” (+ BP #85’s “Bottle Music,” BP #83’s “Strange Music Follows Her
Everywhere,” and BP #78’s “The Lucky Break”) lives in southern Arizona, where
she founded and still edits poetry journals for Subsynchronous Press. Her
stories have appeared in 365 Tomorrows,
Eternal Haunted Summer, Night to Dawn,
The Sirens Call,
Trembling with Fear, Yellow
Mama, and numerous horror anthologies such as Alternate Hilarities 5: One
Star Reviews of the Afterlife, Fright
Mare, More Tales from the Blue Gonk
Cafe, My American Nightmare, Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats
from the Big Easy, Postcard Shorts, Stories from the Graveyard,
Surreal Nightmares II, and White
Noise & Ouija Boards.
When not writing, she hand-paints boxes and furniture in the colorful, Dia de
los Muertos style and creates artwork for horror and pulp-fiction magazines.