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  • Oyl Miller


This is the orginal short story by Oyl Miller that was later turned into the short film 'Man in Phone.' 'iMetamorphosis' originally appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency. View the original short story here.


One morning, when Toledo Jones woke from caffeinated dreams, he found himself transformed on his MUJI sofa slash bed slash refrigerator television desk into a revolutionary and magical next generation tablet device. He lay on his brushed titanium encased back, and if his 12-megapixel front camera randomly came into focus a little he could see his glossy touch screen belly, opened to an email from a man of alleged nobility from Nigeria. The Star Wars-themed blanket was hardly able to cover it and it seemed ready to slide off of his flawless glass touchscreen any moment. His many applications, taking up untold amounts of his internal memory, opened and closed without effort as he looked on.

“What’s happened to me?” he texted no one in particular. It wasn’t a dream. His dorm room, a proper community college dorm room although a little too small, lay peacefully between its four supermodel and athlete covered walls. A collection of networking conference name badges lay spread out on the Ikea Bjursta—Toledo was an aspiring entrepreneur—and above it there hung a picture that he had recently cut out of Fast Company and housed in a nice but fake wood frame. It showed a 20-year old internet billionaire wearing a T-shirt and jeans, slouching casually and looking utterly unconcerned in an office chair.

Toledo then turned to look out the window at the typical Portland weather. Through his internal microphone, raindrops could be heard hitting the non-touch enabled pane, which made him feel quite sad. ‘How about if I sleep a little bit longer and forget all this nonsense,’ he thought, but that was something he was unable to do because he was used to sleeping on his stomach, and in his present state couldn’t get into that position. However hard he tried to roll over, he only managed to slide further through the set of application menus on his touch screen belly. He must have tried it a hundred times, turned off his camera so that he wouldn’t have to look at the sliding applications, and only stopped when he noticed his battery life percentage drop from 86 percent to 85 percent.

“Oh God,” he thought, “what an improbable career path I’ve chosen! Attending networking events and web seminars day in and day out. Starting a business like this takes much more effort than joining an established corporation, and on top of that there’s the curse of the new economy, worries about studying the right thing, fast food and junk food, incoming requests and invites from different people all of the time so that you can never really get to know anyone outside of a few party pictures of them on Facebook. It can all go to Hell!”

He felt a slight lag on his touch screen belly; managed to open up the settings; disabled his location based services, but immediately felt his consciousness fade to black so he quickly reconfigured the location based services so that the tablet device of his being could be GPS tracked.

He slid back into his home page. “Being logged in all the time,” he tweeted, “it makes you stupid. You’ve got to spend enough time with reality. Other entrepreneurs live a life of luxury. For instance, whenever I go back to Starbucks to draw up my latest business plan PowerPoint, these people are always still sitting with Italian inspired sandwiches and fashionably tall Americanos. I ought to just try that with my potential investors, I’d get kicked out on the spot. But who knows, maybe that would be the best thing for me.”

And he looked up at the faux vintage Coca Cola clock ticking on the wall next to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover. ‘God in heaven!’ he texted. It was half past six and the hands were quietly moving forwards, it was even later than half past, more like quarter to seven. Had that Katy Perry ringtone on his iPhone not gone off? He noticed that his own belly had the latest iOS and surely also had the capacity to serve as an alarm clock. Yes, but was it possible to quietly sleep through that furniture-rattling pop noise? What should he do now? Who should he text about this issue? And how would he get to work? Even if he could find a way to mount his fixed gear bicycle in his current condition, he would unlikely be able to peddle lively enough to make up the lost time. A more efficient option would be to take his mother’s Prius. But even if he could manage to fuel efficiently navigate the city streets well enough to make it to the record shop slash bookstore slash strip club that he worked at part time, it would not avoid his multi-tattooed boss’s anger as his vegan coworkers would have arrived early as usual to shuck corn and read beat poetry aloud to the homeless. The spineless vegan’s would no doubt report Toledo’s tardiness before moving on to discuss other topics like the latest album skewered on Pitchfork.

His battery life had drained five more percentiles trying to process the details of his intense worry. He sent out a group SMS that he was sick. He waited and watched his battery drain not so slowly. Then he faded to black once again.

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