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Winning story 2007


WritersServices Very Short Story Competition -the winning story

An Introduction to the Internet

by Rebecca Hazel

“Whatever would I need the internet for?” he protested. “I’m 76”.

“I know Grandad, but it’s the best way to keep you updated on my travels!”

He frowned, and shifted a little closer along his weather-beaten leather sofa, that still evoked memories of illicit fish and chips whenever he was entrusted with looking after me. “But what’s wrong with a postcard?” he muttered. “Much more personal, and a damn sight better to look at than those internet letter things…”

“Emails, Grandad, they’re called emails”. I leaned back and sighed exasperatedly. I was aware he had a point, not that I would admit it – and I knew he was winding me up, and that I was rising to the bait.

“Anyway”, he glared triumphantly back at me, “I can’t even work the microwave”.

This, also, was true. I was starting to regret the naïve crusade to bring the technophobe generation of my family into the modern world – admittedly, more to make staying in touch easier, than the belief that the overload of available information would enlighten them.

“Look”, I stubbornly persisted – a trait I most definitely inherited from him, “we have a spare computer buried somewhere in the garage, and I could write a simple step-by-step guide to enable you to check if I have sent you any new emails, say, once a week?” I looked up at him expectantly, lamely reverting back to the age-old classic child pout, guaranteed to win him over… ordinarily.

“Hmph”. It was the most positive response I seemed likely to achieve after this first attempt, and so having made a fresh pot of tea, and smiling sweetly at his suspicious scowl, I exited rapidly, with the promise of returning with everything in hand to set it all up, regardless.

- - -

I checked again – surely not? But there it was: a reply to my email entitled ‘Re: Update from Oz’, with the sender address ‘T Emerton, Esq’ – Grandad. I hastily clicked on the title, and a brief, conscientiously worded email appeared.

Dear Emily,

Lovely to hear from you. I most humbly admit that the internet has proven to be not nearly half as taxing as I once supposed. I have read your travel journals with sincere interest and concern – please confirm that the unpleasant, no doubt greater spotted, youth called Damien is no longer accompanying you?

I paused at this point with creeping shame prickling up the back of my neck – it had never occurred to me for one minute that he might actually read my emails…

However, I reluctantly cannot comment on the appropriateness of spending time in the company of gentlemen; although I must urge you to be most careful. I am, in fact, going on a “date”, as your brother phrased it, this evening with a delightful lady called Gloria, who I met through A wonderfully refreshing woman, I feel sure you would approve.

Take care, and much love,


I leaned back in the creaking, cheap cybercafe chair, astounded.

Rebecca Hazel, is a Londoner.  This is her first attempt at writing fiction, which may yet become a replacement for her day job, dong marketing work for charities.

The other winning story

© Rebecca Hazel 2007