Genre: gen, PG-13
Characters: Brad Crawford, Schuldig
Summary: Smartphones make Schuldig’s work easier and harder, and he’s annoyed about all of it.
Comments: Beta by Rosaleendhu.
Schuldig had nestled cozily into a corner of the couch, engrossed in reading something on his tablet. It would surprise a lot of people who’d known him in his teens that he read a lot of his own free will these days, especially anecdotal stories involving neuroscience like Oliver Sacks’ works. Sometimes he’d share something about it with Crawford, often starting with a gleeful “You have to hear about this poor bastard!” The clients they had who knew about Schwarz’s psychic abilities rarely asked Schuldig to do anything fancy with his telepathy, but Schuldig read anyway for what he called his “personal enrichment.” Sometimes Crawford couldn’t help teasing him about getting old due to his newfound bookishness and the strands of silver that appeared in his ginger hair here and there but didn’t do it often since he had a full head of silver hair himself and Schuldig would savagely twit him about it.
Despite his focus on his reading, Schuldig no doubt noticed Crawford walking into the living room and just didn’t deign to acknowledge him.
“I have a job for us. I know you’ve been bored,” Crawford said.
Schuldig barely looked up and just seemed annoyed, the ingrate. “It better be a proper job. It better require guns and killing and possibly running around, not like the crap you’ve had me doing recently.”
Although he understood the feeling, Crawford had to answer, “That ‘crap’ was also proper jobs. They paid well too.”
“They were jobs where I made people unable to look away from iThings as they walked out into traffic to their deaths or compelled people to pick up their smartphone at the worst possible moment while driving. They practically killed themselves. There’s no challenge or fun in that for me.”
“There’s also no way for the police to tell those were murders, which makes them very effective for our clients.”
“Look at me utterly not giving a shit.”
“I thought you liked easy jobs.”
“Not if they’re easy in a way that bores me.”
Unimpressed, Crawford replied, “Too many things bore you.”
“Those murders were especially boring! Fucking smartphones. People are getting stupider due to them, which pisses me off since I have to listen to them. So many people these days who now need to be entertained or managed every second and can’t deal with hearing their own thoughts or daydreaming. Almost nobody remembers phone numbers anymore.”
“‘People these days’? You’re railing against smartphones? Yet you love your tablet.” Schuldig still didn’t like his cell phone though.
“Unlike a lot of people, I don’t use it or my phone as an external hard drive for my brain,” Schuldig answered in a lofty tone.
“When do you get a rocking chair and yell at kids to get off your lawn?”
“I’ll put it in a way you’ll understand. A lot of people don’t keep important knowledge in their memory anymore, which means I have to steal their smartphone for some things like account numbers, passwords, and phone numbers.”
“I see your point. That is a pain in the ass.”
“I’ll also tell you a little secret, Brad: a lot of the people I’ve always heard have been old people. Lots of old people’s thoughts have always been rattling inside my head. A lot of my rebellion and recklessness came from making sure I didn’t act like an old person.”
...really? “I could have done a lot more with that insight into your behavior years ago.”
“Of course. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t tell you. Duh.”
“So why are you telling me now?”
“Now that I’m nearing 40 years old, that kind of thing starts to seem kinda childish.” Schuldig grinned.
“You think so?”
“Plus, it can’t fully frustrate you if you don’t know about it. So here you go.”
“That’s very childish of you.” He should be used to it by now.
“I’m young at heart. Is the job you just got us the kind where I get to shoot people or the kind where I sit in an easy chair telepathically making people walk into traffic while I lament the priorities of kids these days?”
“You get to shoot people.” Hopefully it would make him complain less. Otherwise, Crawford might shoot him.
“Very mature of you.”
“I live to please.”
“Like hell you do.”
“C’mon, it’s fine.”
“The job is tomorrow.”
“Then we have time right now.” Schuldig patted the space on the couch next to him. “Have a seat. You have to hear about this poor bastard!”
“I can sympathize.” But he sat. “It’s a good thing for you that I still find you occasionally entertaining.”