“How much time before the launch?” asked Denise.
Toby looked at his wrist. “Thirteen minutes.” He turned to show the device strapped to his arm to everyone else on the row. “See? I got my Astrid watch when I got my Astrid phone.”
“That’s not what they’re called,” said Astrid.
“Really? Because that’s what the guy at the electronics store called it.”
The wristwatch device that had been dubbed by marketing specialists the Maxxim Carpé was a high powered computer in its own right and when paired with the Maxxim Phone it was even more powerful. It came in about two-dozen different styles including the one that Toby had with a dark blue band and a blue and grey bezel—The Mariner. Astrid had originally designed the wearable computer as a Fathers Day present for her dad, but her work could also be found all through the phone. She had written part of the operating system for both devices and designed the batteries that powered them.
“That is so cool,” said Austin from the far end of the row. “My grandma said I could have one for my birthday if I promise not to lose it.”
“I hope you didn’t promise,” said Christopher. “There’s no way you’re not going to lose it.”
Austin had a history of misplacing all kinds of things, including his phone and other electronic devices. He was once bitten by a rattlesnake while looking for a lost PDA.
“That’s the beauty of it,” said Austin. “It has a built in app so it can’t get lost. Your phone will lead you right to it.”
“I confess to thinking of you when I wrote that app,” said Astrid.
“You’re welcome world,” said Austin.
“The countdown is at ten minutes,” said the voice over the loudspeaker.
“I love my phone,” said Toby, fishing it out of his pocket. “I’m surprised that Maxxim never made one before.”
“It’s a tough market, so I think my mother thought we couldn’t compete,” Astrid explained. “She’s probably right. We’ll never be the industry leader, but my dad and I think if we just make the best phones in the world, that will be enough.”
Toby held the phone up for her to see that he had set the wallpaper to Astrid’s new school picture. It was a good likeness, and picture day that year had been a great hair day, but still it made Astrid uneasy seeing her image looking back from the screen.
“Bow down before me,” she whispered.
“What?” asked Toby.
“Nothing. Um… I think it would be better if you took me off your wallpaper.”
“Well, um… somebody might find your phone and think it’s mine.”
“Then you could give it to me,” he said slowly, as if trying to find the meaning behind her words. “Are you mad because we haven’t been on another evening date since Junior Prom?”
“It’s just been such a busy summer, Astrid. I was in Europe and you were in Antarctica and then working. It just seemed like whenever we had time the whole gang should get together.”
“No, really,” said Astrid. “I’m not angry about that… or anything really. I just think you should put something else as your wallpaper—maybe something manly. You could put um… football or a truck or maybe Iron Man.”