Phony Fern Arthur


Phony Fern

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# Every day you walk down the street Everybody that you meet

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# Has an original point of view

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-# And I say, hey!

-Hey!

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# What a wonderful kind of day We can learn to work and play

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# And get along with each other

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# You gotta listen to your heart Listen to the beat

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# Listen to the rhythm of the street Open your eyes! Open your ears!

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# Get together, make things better By working together

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# It's a simple message And it comes from the heart

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# Believe in yourself For that's the place to start

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-# And I say, hey!

-Hey!

-What a wonderful kind of day

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# We can learn to work and play And get along with each other

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# What a wonderful kind of day, hey! What a wonderful kind of day, HEY! #

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DW!

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-Hey!

-Whoa! Ooh!

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Quickly, Bastings, I feel we may already be too late.

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EVIL LAUGHTER

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Ah, Virgule Watteau, I knew you would find me here.

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And I knew that you knew.

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You see, Baron, Virgule Watteau, she is always one step ahead.

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Arrest that kidnapper, Bastings.

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Not this time, Watteau,

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not if you want to see your dearest friend alive again.

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One false move and I'll drop him.

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EVIL LAUGHTER

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Atchoo!

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-Oh, no!

-Sorry, there must be a cat in here.

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Bastings, he dropped him.

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I'll apprehend the Baron, you get to the street.

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Look, Virgule Watteau has got he Baron.

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She's done it again! CHEERING

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But at what cost?

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My dearest friend in the world,

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no-one will ever know how I felt about you!

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My little Portilex 360

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with wireless chatback and 157 ring tones.

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Speak to me!

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Why?

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Oh, Bamboo, you're the best elephant a little girl could ever have.

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PHONE RINGS

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It's my brother. He's calling from college.

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-Hi, Chip, how's Tallahassee Tech? Did you make captain...?

-Shh!

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Sure I can talk, the movie's almost over.

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Uhuh. No!

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That's so unfair!

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-Sorry!

-You have to tell Daddy - he paid for that badminton court.

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I was really glad you invited me to the movies,

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but I wish you'd turned your phone off. I don't even know how it ended.

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Huh? Oh, the elephant dies. It's really sad.

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SHE LAUGHS

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-Muffy, what are you looking at?

-I'm just texting Bailey.

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But he's right outside.

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Oh, I didn't notice.

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"I C U, Bailey."

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SHE LAUGHS

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She was more interested in that phone than me.

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It was infuriating. What's so great about cell phones?

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They make life easier. You don't have to carry change for payphones.

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But people are on them constantly. Just look around you.

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He's using one, so is she.

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And her. And him!

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And all of them!

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They all have little machines plastered to their ears.

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You're right! It's like the phones are controlling them,

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altering their brainwaves and turning them into a species of robot!

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PHONE RINGS Agh!

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Mom, I'm on my way.

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Get off the phone before it turns you into a robot!

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Here, have some carrots.

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You'll never see me with one of those things!

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RINGING

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Now, it's only for emergencies.

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Or if I'm running late to pick you up from school.

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-Or if I'm away on business and you want to say hello.

-Ow!

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Don't use it too much, OK, honey?

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Trust me, I won't.

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You don't like it? Did I get the wrong colour?

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They had one with polka dots. I could exchange it.

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No, Mom, it's perfect. Thank you.

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Ferny, don't forget the instruction booklet.

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"To engage security function, press star 66."

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Security breach! Step away from the phone!

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Step away from the phone!

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You have the Portilex 360?!

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-I

-have the Portilex 360!

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I just got it. The other one I had was so last fall.

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Big deal! It's just a phone.

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Fern, the Portilex 360 is not just a phone -

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it's a telecommunications system with ever-exapnding interfaces.

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See - it says so right there.

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-What's your ring tone?

-Beats me.

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You haven't selected one yet?!

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Here, I'll help you.

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There are 157 of them, you know.

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Menus, options, settings, preferences, tones,

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ring library, folder b, file 43...

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Oh, just choose anything, I really don't ca...!

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GENTLE MUSIC PLAYS

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That's the theme to Mid-afternoon Mystery Theatre,

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-my favourite show!

-Pretty cool, huh?

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Scoot over. I'll show you how to operate chatback,

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the instant messaging feature. And you'll love the camera!

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Look, Bastings, a clue.

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It is a feather from the boa of the missing Countess.

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Great Scot, Watteau!

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Here, put it in my clue pouch and we'll show it to Inspector Clapp.

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There is no need, mon ami,

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Virgule Watteau will photograph it with her Portilex 360!

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-Her what?

-Voila!

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Is not the image clear and the colours lifelike?

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You can't have a cell phone - it's supposed to be the 1930s.

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Ah, but Virgule Watteau, she is always one step ahead.

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Ah! I think I lost it!

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Let's see...

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-menus, options, gallery...

-Your moustache, Watteau.

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-Thanks.

-Now, let's see, would it be in recent photos or image library?

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# I never thought it could be true

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# That I'd be so fond of you

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# I'm flesh and blood and you're just a piece of plastic

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# But when I hear you start to ring

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-# Something in me wants to sing! #

-Shh!

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# And with you in my hand I feel fantastic

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# You're my purple friend

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# My special purple friend

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# And together there is nothing we can't do

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-# Text a buddy!

-Go online!

-Snap a photo!

-Check the time!

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-# Write a sonnet!

-I'll get on it!

-Oh, this feeling's unexpected

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# But now we're so connected

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# My little purple friend

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# And me! #

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MOBILE RING TONE

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Hey, Muffy.

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No!

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She broke up with him?!

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Is Chip upset?

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What was Lexie thinking?

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I thought he was seeing Lexie.

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Oh, Biff's seeing Lexie.

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-SHE LAUGHS

-How'd they get a cow in the library?

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-Ferny!

-Hold on.

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I have three houses to show so I may be home late tonight.

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But your father's making dinner. Bye, Sweetie.

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How'd they get it out?

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-SHE LAUGHS

-That Biff!

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Uhuh. Yeah.

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That's terrible.

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I know. So now my toenails are strawberry surprise

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and my fingernails are ravishing red.

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It's a complete disaster.

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Here, I'll send you a picture.

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FERN LAUGHS

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I don't know. Maybe turkey on wholewheat.

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I'm in a turkey mood today.

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Looks like the machines have taken control of Fern.

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Soon they'll have enslaved the entire planet.

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Not me though - I've got my foil ears.

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So although the cotton gin was a leap in technology,

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it also increased the demand for inexpensive labour.

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If we turn to chapter...

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Phone, please. You can have it back after school.

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-But...

-You know the rules, Fern.

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Hmm. How do I turn this off?

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Security breach! Step away from the phone!

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Step away from the phone!

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Come on, come on, come on!

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BELL RINGS Woo-hoo! All right!

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-Man, we've got another test tomorrow.

-Come on!

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Can I please have my phone back now, Mr Ratburn?

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It's in here somewhere.

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Buster's homework excuses. Extra red pens.

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Plato's Republic. Ah! Wait, no, that's my electric razor.

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Fern, I just heard the most amazing news.

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-You'll never guess what happened to my brother now that...

-Hello!

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Muffy, are you there?

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Battery is at 10%. Recharge your Portilex now.

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Battery is at 7%. Please, recharge your Portilex now.

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Battery is at 5%. Recharge your Portilex immediately!

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4%. 3%. Recharge!

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Recharge! 2%.

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Oof!

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MOBILE PHONE BATTERY DIES Ah!

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No-ooo-ooo!

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It's all my fault.

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I wasn't looking where I was going.

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I'm really sorry.

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We're not upset about the phone. We're just glad you're OK.

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Why were you running away?

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Because the battery was dying and I was expecting a call from Muffy.

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We got you the phone so we could call you and you could call us.

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I know, but we became cell phone friends.

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I guess I sort of got carried away.

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Our suspect was four feet and six inches.

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-And he had a limp.

-A limp.

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By Jove, Watteau, how can you tell?

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Notice, Bastings, the impression of the right foot is deeper.

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But what is this?

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A - how do you say? - lollipop stick.

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Fern, there you are.

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I've been trying to reach you since Friday.

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Why haven't you been answering your phone?

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Oh, I'm sorry, Muffy, I haven't checked my messages.

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What is that?

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My new phone.

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The old one broke. I decided to use my phone only for emergencies,

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so it's probably best you didn't call me on it.

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Don't worry, I wouldn't call that thing if you paid me.

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I thought so.

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Oh, I almost forgot to tell you the big news. Chip's coming home.

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We're having dinner on Sunday and you're invited.

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You see, Bastings,

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sometimes it is the little grey cells, not the cell phones,

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which make the connection.

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When Fern's parents give her a cell phone for emergencies only, Fern is uninterested - until Muffy introduces her to the joys of personalized ring tones, texting, and incessant chatting! Fern becomes hooked, and starts to believe that nail polish consultations are emergencies. But she realizes that although evolving technology is great, sometimes it is better to communicate the old-fashioned way, in person.


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