Martin and Sam sat side by side on Martin's bed looking down at the boxes.
'Well,' Sam said.
'I found this in the hall,' Lisa said, coming into the room and giving Martin a small padded envelope. 'It must've fallen off one of the boxes.'
'It must be the bill for all this.' Martin waved the envelope at the pile of boxes. 'Not that I could ever afford it. Still, it was a nice dream while it lasted.' He opened the envelope and frowned. It contained a single, unlabelled, USB memory stick.
'I just don't understand today at all, any of it,' Martin said. 'First, the juggling balls and now, all this.'
'I can see the connection between that memory stick and this.' Lisa tapped one of the boxes with her foot. 'But what about the juggling balls. Do they really fit in to it, and if so where?'
'I don't know.' Martin stood up. He put the stick down on the desk. 'Perhaps this will explain it all. Let's get everything unpacked and set up.'
They ripped open the boxes and fought their way through the packaging.
Once it was all unpacked, Martin put everything on the desk. 'Whatever it is,' he said. '...it is not an ELITE BOLD X350.' He looked closer at the plain cube. It looked as though it was made of some sort of metallic plastic. He was not sure if it was even the right way up.
'These though are right.' Sam pointed to the keyboard, monitor and what could be a printer. 'Although, I've never seen a printer like that before.'
'Hang on.... This may sound daft, but those three holes in that... that box, aren't they the same size as these?' Lisa picked up the juggling balls to show Martin and Sam.
'You're right,' Sam said. 'It does sound daft.'
After plugging the monitor, printer and keyboard into the cube, Martin ducked under his desk and plugged the power cord into the socket. He paused for a moment and looked around at the setup, making sure he'd got it right and he'd connected it all together properly.
'What are you smiling at,' Lisa said to Martin.
'I really enjoy things like this. It's just like getting a complicated new toy for Christmas. I feel like a kid again.'
'Don't you need a whatchamcallit... a modem or something to connect to the Internet?' Lisa asked Martin.
'Yes, more or less.' Martin nodded. 'But I can't see anything to connect. Anyway, there is a modem and router out in the hall. Maybe this thing...' he tapped the cube, 'has something internal... or something.... Anyway, we'll see.'
Lisa kicked her way through the discarded packaging and sat down on the bed. 'What about these?'
'Oh, those are manuals. We don't need those.' Satisfied as much as he could be, Martin crawled back under his desk and switched the power on. Sitting down at the desk, he turned the cube on, smiling as he saw everything power up and the fans hummed.
Martin frowned, then tapped at the keyboard. Nothing happened.
Sam and Lisa sat side by side on the bed watching Martin. 'Are you getting jealous yet?' Sam nudged Lisa.
''Cos he seems to have found true love with that machine, and you fancy him, don't you?'
'What? Oh no, well... maybe. There's something about him that....' Lisa shrugged. 'I'm getting confused now though. Where is all this stuff coming from, and what does it all mean?'
YOU ARE READING
Juggling BallsScience Fiction
Martin Laws hates mysteries. So why has someone sent him a bag of juggling balls? Why has he no memory of buying a new computer? Why has that new computer decided Martin needs to go shopping? Why does a hairstylist he's never met before keep s...