Amelia DeVere was dreading her birthday; Brian and the girls were coming round with her present, a lap top. They had given her several other choices; a clever phone, an eye mask, a lozenge or was it a capsule? She had plumped for the lap top, at least she wouldn’t be expected to put it in her handbag and use it. She was quite happy with her mobile phone that didn’t take pictures, buttons 1, 2 and 3 were programmed for the local mini cab firm, Jenny next door and Brian.
But Amelia had not realised the full implications of her choice until it was too late.
You’ll be able to Skype Aunty Phoebe in Canada and see pictures of the new baby on Facebook.
‘I just want to do e-mails’ said Amelia, on the offensive as she answered the door on her birthday morning.
‘Of course, we need to do that first. But just think Gran, you would have been the first to know Constanza was expecting, instead of the last.’
Just as Brian’s marriage was breaking up, her younger son Roger had got his act together and met someone. It didn’t appear they were going to get married, but now she was pregnant they had reluctantly left the Orang-utan sanctuary and returned to Constanza’s hometown, Melbourne.
She was soon sending Roger an e-mail, AmDev@gmail.com
‘Can we have lunch now?’ she pleaded.
‘In a mo Gran, let’s just look at Facebook and make sure there are no other Amelia DeVeres… oh look, there are…
Are you this Amelia DeVere?
They all laughed at the young woman with spiky rose pink and sky blue hair, but Amelia felt rather miffed at seeing a member of the family she didn’t know.
‘That’s probably not her real name Mum,’ said Brian ‘look, she’s an author, got her own author page.’
‘Can we look at it?’
‘No, you have to be her friend.’
‘I don’t need to be her friend if I’m a relative.’
The screen was flashing, artificial fingernails were skimming across the keyboard.
‘Here’s her Amazon page’ said her granddaughter.
…author of fruity romances ‘Strawberries in Summer,’ ‘Peaches for Pandora’, hundreds of reviews…The book every twentysomething must take on holiday, published in paperback and on Amazon Kindle.
‘Let’s read a preview’ urged her sister.
Amelia had to admit she was quite impressed that they could turn the pages of a pretend book.
‘Let me read, I’m getting used to this lap top…
Pandora ran her slender manicured fingers through the dark hairs on Mickael’s chest, then across his firm tanned stomach bringing to life his…
She peered closer with her bifocals at the small print ‘Bringing to life his what?’
‘I don’t think that’s your sort of book Mother’ said Brian, hastily moving his large hands across the keyboard.
Images flashed across the screen, more frantic tapping by the girls.
‘Look Gran, Uncle Roger’s accepted you as a friend, they must still be up, probably midnight in Australia.’
Suddenly the bemused grandmother was confronted with a black and white picture of an alien, but her granddaughters screamed with delight.
‘It’s a boy, you’re going to have your first grandson.’
‘They can’t have had the baby already.’
‘No, they’ve just had the scan to tell the sex; four hours ago 23 comments and 40 likes already, you can make a comment.’
‘That’s revolting, looks like one of their orang-utans.’
‘We all looked like that once, in the womb, I can’t believe how ultrasound has improved since we had the girls,’ said her son ‘but I don’t think I would put it on Facebook.’
The girls giggled ‘We can’t put what Gran said, how about ‘Wonderful news, do you want to Skype tomorrow?’
Over lunch the girls discussed Constanza and why there were no pictures of her on Facebook and would Dad pay for them to visit their new cousin, but Amelia returned to the subject of the other Amelia.
‘Of course I would know if she was a real DeVere, can I complain if she’s an impostor?’
‘Let’s Google and see what else we can find out.’
‘Yes, never mind the dishes, let’s get back on the lap top’ she said.
She was surprised to see her own DeVeres mentioned, but it was Amelia the novelist who had page after page of blue writing devoted to her, image after image came up as they visited websites. The young woman was everywhere, Goodreads, Writers’ Room, Romantic Novelists Association, The Word Hut, Twitter, she even had her own Blog.
‘Why does she think we want to know how the romantic holiday with her gorgeous man went?’ puzzled Amelia.
But after the family had left she felt compelled to switch the lap top on and practice her new skills. She couldn’t resist Googling Amelia. The writer was planning to attend literary festivals and book signings; perhaps it would be possible to see her in the flesh…
A few days later the grandmother’s notebook was full, she was pretty certain she had looked up every internet mention of Amelia and written it down, she had also read the openings of all her books. She wasn’t even very good at writing, the older woman wondered how she had become so famous.
A week later the door bell rang; Amelia DeVere was very surprised when a plain clothes policeman introduced himself. He was equally surprised to find she lived alone.
‘D.I. Benson, C.C.U… Cyber Crime Unit. We’re investigating the stalking of a young woman, she has been trolled on Twitter, someone’s hacked into her e-mails, various other online abuses… I can’t go into details. We noticed that the most on line activity connected to her internet presence was coming from this locality, we may need to take your computer away to be examined.’
I have been writing compulsively for eight years; my shortest story is six words exactly and my longest 235,000 words approximately. My short stories have appeared on line, on paper and in audio. My four novels can be found on Amazon Kindle.