Dale's cell vibrated on the desk, scampering over the surface like the plastic was coming to life in little bursts. He set his teeth and vengefully finished the paragraph, taking not just enough time to get back on track, but more than enough to get the wording to his standard. Finally he hit the period button with a little too much force, and picked up the phone.
"Hello?" he said, sounding unnecessarily annoyed.
"Dale!" The voice on the phone screeched. "Dale! I'm trapped in a magazine!"
"In a magazine! No idea how!"
okay, Fred. Calm down." He rubbed the bridge of his nose. This should
not have been logically acceptable to him, but they both did a lot of
drugs. "Look around yourself. What magazine are you in?"
"There are a lot of words, and a huge picture."
"What's the picture of?"
"I think it's a woman. Or an armoire. It's abstract."
"That could be any magazine. What about the words? What are they writing about?"
"Mostly ads. I think part of it's a story. Really short."
"Fiction is dying in print."
"I'm trapped in a magazine! Help!"
"Is there anything else in there?"
"Uh. A cartoon?"
"Black and white. It's a lion on a cell phone."
"Is the caption ironic?"
"No duh it is!"
"Is it ironic but not funny at all?"
"How'd you know?"
"I just resubscribed to The New Yorker. I think you're on my coffee table. I'll get you in a minute."
switched his cell off and looked at the monitor. He read the paragraph
to himself a couple of times. Fred could wait – he knew better than to
read Dale’s stuff without asking.