Dennis stepped off the curb and almost crushed the late model cellphone with a pink, sparkly case. He bent down to pick it off the pavement. There wasn’t a scratch on the thing. “Thank goodness for Otterbox!”
“Whatchu got, buddy?” Kurt leaned over Dennis’s shoulder.
“Some chick lost her phone.” Dennis turned it over, trying to find some identification or clue to the owner.
The phone pinged a notification and Dennis pushed the button on the side. Part of a text from “Mom” popped up on the screen, then was hidden behind a request for a password.
“How am I supposed to know the password?” Dennis mumbled.
“Try one, two, three, four,” Kurt said. “That’s my girlfriend’s password.”
“Why would you tell me your girlfriend’s password?” Dennis shook his head and crinkled his forehead. “Not only that, but who would be stupid enough to… never mind.” Dennis punched in the four-digit code suggested by the second stupidest person he knew. He was kind of glad it didn’t work. The girl with the expensive, sparkly phone wouldn’t be that stupid.
“What do we do with it?” Kurt asked.
“I dunno. Try to find the owner, I guess.” Dennis raised his head and scanned the busy sidewalks and cars coming and going. “It’s going to be impossible.”
The phone pinged again. Another text from the girl’s mom, then a request for the password.
“Maybe someone will call the number. We can answer and ask them whose phone they’re calling,” Kurt said.
“Nobody calls each other anymore,” Dennis said. “They text and Tweet and Snap and Insta-photo-thingy.”
“You mean Instagram?” Kurt asked.
“Yeah, whatever it’s called.” Dennis turned in a circle. “Guess we could start by inquiring at these local businesses.”
“Let’s start with the donut shop,” Kurt suggested.
“No way, man. If I go in there, I’m going to want a donut. I didn’t spend an hour in the gym to waste my daily allotment of calories on empty carbs. The Army won’t want me if I get fat.”
“How about the hardware store across the street?”
Dennis turned and gaped at his friend. “Do you honestly think that pink-sparkly-phone girl spent the morning at the hardware store?”
“Yeah, yer probably right.” Kurt took a deep breath and looked around again.
“We could try the Verizon store,” Dennis said, walking in that direction. “It’s only a mile down the road.”
“A mile? We can’t walk that far.” Kurt hurried to catch up. “There’s no way we’ll make it to get your haircut, then back to the recruiting office in time.”
“We’ll make it.” Two more texts came through as they walked.
Linda, the smiling clerk at the Verizon store couldn’t give out any information about the owner of the phone.
“I just need a cord so I can plug it into my computer.”
“You’re still trying to access her information.” Linda shook her head, still smiling sweetly as if trained to never stop smiling, no matter how angry the customer.
“Look, lady, I’m trying to find the girl who owns this phone so I can return it to her.”
“How do you know it’s owned by a girl?” Linda was still smiling.
“It’s pink,” Dennis spoke through clenched teeth. “And sparkly.”
“Lots of guys buy pink, sparkly phone cases.” Still smiling.
Dennis reached into his wallet, pulled out a fifty-dollar bill, and slapped it onto the countertop. “Sell me a cord and you can keep the change.”
It was amazing how quickly Linda located the correct phone charger. She handed it to Dennis with an even bigger smile. “Thank you for choosing Verizon. Have a nice day.”
Dennis rushed from the store and sat on a nearby bench. He opened his laptop, plugged the USB port into his computer and the charging end into the phone. A little screen popped up that read “Brooklyn’s iPhone.” There was also a prompt for a password. Kurt started laughing.
“What is so funny?” Dennis wanted to scream.
“You just spent fifty bucks to learn that pink-sparkly-phone-girl’s name is Brooklyn.”
Dennis’s shoulders fell and his lower lip jutted out. Another text popped up.
“Come on, man, let’s go get those locks chopped off so you can enlist.”
“The Army’s not going to want a depressed guy pining after a girl named Brooklyn who once owned a pink, sparkly phone.” Dennis unplugged the cord, shoved it and his laptop into his backpack, and trudged after his friend.
Walking into the salon Dennis’s nose was assaulted by acetone and neutralizers mixed with something sweet. The smell reminded him of donuts. The lady at the counter asked for his name and he sat on a chair next to Kurt.
A young stylist with an unnatural blondish-green hair came rushing up to the counter, whispering frantically.
“So distraught… crying… she says her life is over.”
“Well, she has a client waiting. Tell her to suck it up and get out here.”
“She can’t remember his name. The appointment was on her Google calendar.”
“His name is Dennis.” She pointed and Dennis waved. “Now tell her to get her pretty little self out here and cut his hair or she’ll be looking for a new job and a new phone.”
A new phone? Dennis’s ears perked up. The green-haired stylist left and a minute later a young lady with natural-colored hair and designer clothes came out. Her eyes were red, and she sniffed. Dennis felt compassion for her.
“Hi, Dennis,” she whispered. “I can take you back now.”
He followed her to her station and sat in the swivel chair, watching her sad eyes as she draped the black cape around his shoulders and snapped it into place. “Are you okay?”
She shook her head. Another lady came up behind her and spoke softly. “Brooklyn, your mom just called. Said she’s been texting all morning but you’re not answering.”
“I can’t find my phone.” A single tear fell down Brooklyn’s cheek.
“Did it have a pink, sparkly case?” Dennis asked, holding up his lucky find.