Zoom Products
by Ian Smith
forum: Zoom Products
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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Zoom Products


           I locked the car, and headed towards the shop. The wind blew across the car park on the industrial estate at the edge of town. The lights at the shop went out. I knocked on the door. A man came out of a room at the back. He looked at me. He came to the door, and unlocked it.

           "It's gone six."

           "It has."

           "Then why do you think Zoom Products would still be open?"

           "I want to speak to the manager."

           "I am the manager."

           "Well, at least look."

           "I don't need to look. Maybe you'd like to go home now, and protect your family instead of leaving them vulnerable."

           "Maybe you'd like to open up, and consider the customer. This needs some basic features adding."

           The manager pointed a torch at me. He smiled.

           "Lock the door behind you."

           I walked into the shop, and shut the door, locking it. The manager searched through a set of keys.

           "One minute."

           "Can't you put the lights on?"

           "If I put the lights on, people will think the shop's open."

           He unlocked the door at the back of the shop. Banks of fluorescent lights lit a room full of screens. I blinked under the lights. The shopkeeper locked the door, and walked to a desk.

           "So what's the problem?"

           I put a camera on the desk.

           "This camera lacks functionality. It fails every time. I've been burgled three times since installing it. It's missing a number of key elements. It needs some movement. I need it to zoom in."

           "The terms and conditions of Zoom Products say no cash refunds."

           "I'm within my rights."

           "You have the right to a fair hearing."


           "And you just had a fair hearing."

           "I expected better. Take a look at those cameras. Show me what they can do. Does that thing zoom?"

           The manager turned to a screen.


           "Then do it. Make it zoom. I want to see some detail."

           "Maybe you'd like to leave now, and enjoy the rest of your life."

           But I didn't want to leave. I wanted some fine print.

           "You can have the place to yourself when I'm out of here. Just zoom in."


           The manager pressed a button. The view changed to show the locked door, but I wanted to see past that.

           "Zoom now. I want the detail."

           He pressed a button. The screen zoomed in on the empty shop. It seemed strange we should be looking at an empty shop. I leaned towards the screen.

           "Now that's what I call a camera. Zoom in again. That's good. Make it show some detail."


           "I want atoms. Show me some atoms."


           "Keep looking. Let's find them."

           But the zoom locked open. It didn't have sufficient detail. He couldn't make it zoom any more. There was no way of looking right into the detail I wanted, and I wanted detail. I wanted to see right into the heart of the matter.



copyright 2005 Ian Smith.

Ian Smith:

My background is in poetry. I have an MA in Creative Writing from Goldsmith's.

Two of my stories are due to appear in Transmission and Bewildering Stories in 2006. My novel, Tony Blair: The Wilderness Years (Booksurge) is out now.