The night hung heavy around me as I sat in my dimly lit office, the only illumination emanating from the restless glow of my smartphone. Its screen flickered with a relentless stream of notifications, each one more invasive than the last. Taking a drag from my cigarette, I struggled to focus on the task at hand, but the ceaseless buzzing and beeping of the phone was pushing me to the edge of sanity.

Emily, a woman with a penchant for trouble, had sought my help with a seemingly straightforward request: to uncover the sender of menacing messages. Yet, as I sifted through her phone, it became apparent that the messages were just one layer of her torment. Her phone seemed possessed, bombarding her with notifications at all hours, blurring the lines between day and night.

Attempting to unravel the mystery, I found myself besieged by the relentless onslaught of notifications, each one more demanding than the last. It was as though someone, or something, was intent on driving Emily to the brink. A foreboding sense crept over me, hinting that there was more to this case than met the eye.

As I delved deeper, I uncovered a labyrinth of deception and treachery, with Emily at its heart. The notifications served as a mere facade, obscuring something far more sinister. However, before I could understand it all, the notifications abruptly ceased.

I raised my gaze from the phone, a sinking feeling settling in the depths of my being. Something was amiss. I reached for my umbrella and coat, prepared to confront the forces tormenting Emily, when a solitary notification illuminated the screen.

“Meet me at the derelict warehouse by the docks. -E”

At that moment, I knew that the case was far from resolved—that it wasn’t just an option in the notification settings.

“I hate these smartphones. They’re not smart and are they really phones?”

With that philosophical question resonating in my head, I felt like going for a drink and hopefully getting laid. Before stepping out in the hot, steamy night, I pressed the release button of my 65€ umbrella, and the mechanism did what it was supposed to do. Like a well-trained team, the coil pushed the runner, the stretchers opened the panel, and the damn thing ceased to exist. Everything landed 3 meters away on the sidewalk, except for the handle and the shaft, still in my hand. It started to pour when one-half of my umbrella hit the ground.

The thought of canceling the appointment immediately crossed my mind. Perhaps it was the best course of action in this absurd situation?