Made On Mars
by Kieran Judge
cant build nothin, I tell ya,
they cant build nothin.
The old man in
the ripped coat and shabby trousers was showing
me the knock-off phone hed bought an hour
ago. It was scratched and dented, flashing
warnings lights. I had been eating noodles at a
highway stall because the food was warm and the
rain was freezing. The man slid next to me,
ordered chow mien. After a few expletives, he
began his rant against our colonial brethren.
flashing Martian-red, not warning-red, I
still Earth people. Sauce dripped into his
beard. Start complainin about Terran
interference, too controllin, then they
start peddlin stuff like this.
never had a problem with Martian tech, I
said. People I knew hated it, but what can you
expect from a colony a few decades old? Got to
there it goes again, he exclaimed.
The phone was
making strange bleeps and noises. The highway was
full but we could hear the phone over the traffic.
A board across the road advertised prospects for
the new mission to the new planet, Thanos. I
wondered if Thanos phones would work in ten
heard about Martian electronics damaging people?
I had of
course heard the rumours, though they were no
more than Terran propaganda to stop their colony
getting too up themselves. Again, Id never
had issues with the phone Id had several
he said, theyve been malfunctioning.
Just like this one, but worse. Cuttin
peoples arms off, electrocution, burstin
the hell did you buy it? I asked.
even work? I asked.
He frowned. He
swiped through a few screens, ignoring the red
and green flashing. Ill try. Number?
go over there and call you, he said. He
ducked out from under the cover of the highway.
He avoided getting knocked flat by the crowds and
stood twenty feet away. A security drone drifted
past, eyed him up, moved on. His filthy clothes
kept people a good foot away from him.
Terran phone vibrated. I pulled up the video
screen as it began to flash red.
have you done? I mumbled.
workin?! he shouted.
I waved my
hand through the projection, pixels dancing like
confetti. It wasnt co-operating.
suddenly flashed and a message appeared.
I tried to
clear the message. Nothing. What the hell
does that mean, thank you? I
looked to the old man. He was staring at his
phone in horror. It was like strobe-lighting, the
grating and grinding audible from the stand. The
thing was epileptic.
He looked up
at me, whimpered, and his limbs left their
shrapnel rained. People screamed and scurried off
on their way. After a few seconds I peered out
from behind my fingers to find half a man there,
blood being washed into the gutters.
A drone came
along and hovered by the remains. It shook its
camera disapprovingly and drifted on again.