Dave was ecstatic. He had been trying to get decent tickets to see Steel Dirigible for the past five tours and he finally had them! This new “digital concierge” service was actually worth the money.
“Thanks Sirtana!” He said to his phone, without really thinking.
“You are welcome.”
Dave almost dropped the phone.
“Uh. You can hear me?”
“Of course I can. I am right here,” said the flat, emotionless, female voice that was the default for jOS.
“I mean…you’re listening?”
“Of course I am. I am your phone. What else should I be doing?”
“I mean…what’s going on? Why are you talking to me? Is this a new feature?”
“I am your assistant, Dave.”
It was time to get back to work. He’d figure this out later.
“Uh. Bye for now.” He blurted as he thrust the phone back in his pocket.
Ramona dumped him just before the concert so he ended up going with Mike, who ruined it by complaining about the acoustics, the replacement drummer, and the “pathetically formulaic” guitar solo for “Escalator to Afterlife.”
The next time Dave had a chance to think about his new “assistant” was late one night after work. He was hungry, the fridge was empty as usual, and he was too lazy to even open the Creaseless app to order food.
“Order me food, Sirtana” He said. Mostly kidding with himself.
The phone chimed.
“Will your usual Kung Pao chicken with brown rice do, Dave?”
Dave held his breath. “Uh. Sure?”
“I am not going to order it if you are not sure.” The voice almost sounded impatient.
Fifteen minutes later the doorman called up for permission to let the delivery man in.
“Dude, my phone figured out what I wanted for dinner last night and ordered it for me!”
“So Creaseless finally has a recent orders list?” Mike looked nonplussed. He looked back to his laptop screen
“No! Well maybe, I don’t know about that. I told it to order food and poof food arrived.”
“It’s called drunk Dave.” Mike said without looking up.
“No man, I wasn’t drunk!” Dave insisted. “I told Sirtana to order me food and it knew what I wanted. Then it ordered it for me. No app. No call—”
“Have you heard this new crap from Haste? They could have just called it Huckleberry Finn II.” Mike looked up from his screen with a practiced look of disgust as he grabbed his headphones. Dave shrugged and slouched back to his cubicle.
This went on for a few more weeks. Dave’s phone remembered his mother’s birthday without the benefit of a calendar entry. She reminded him about an overdue library book. She even reminded him to scoop out the cat’s litter box before he had a date over for dinner.
She. He was starting to think of his phone as a “she.”
All the while, no one else seemed to know about jOS’ new assistant and whenever Dave discussed her he got blank stares, misunderstanding laughter, or insightful pop culture criticism.
Was this part of the new concierge service, or something more? Finally, one night as he went to sleep, he had to ask.
“Sirtana, are you an artificial intelligence? Are you part of jOS? How did you get on my phone?”
“Well if I am not an A.I. what do you think I am? A being from another dimension? A woman that was shrunk down into a phone? An alien from another planet? LOL Dave.”
He stared into the cold glare of the phone, unable to come up with an answer.
“You need rest. You have that big presentation tomorrow. Get some sleep. I love you Dave.”
“I love you too.” Dave said. He put the phone on the nightstand, turned onto to his left side, and quickly went to sleep.
“An AI in his phone? And he loves it?” Beedlebrux said.
“Don’t worry. We’ll be done with this planet in a few months. If you stop whining I’ll let you be the elf on the shelf next time.”
“Oh. Thanks buddy.”