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HUMAN BATTERY


Man Can Charge Phones In His Hand!

Albert Andillo didn’t want his daughter Ana to have a smartphone. It was a battle that Andillo—like millions of other American parents—lost. “She’s fourteen now,” said Andillo. “When she was eleven, my wife and I told her that she wouldn’t even have a phone until she was fifteen. I was wrong. She was persistent and I was a pushover. She got her first phone for her twelfth birthday.”

“The day after,” said Ana.

“I got home late from work,” said Andillo. “I have to work, you know. That’s the only way we have enough money to get you a phone at all.”

“Mom’s a lawyer,” said Ana.

“And I’m a teacher,” said Andillo. ‘What’s your point?”

“Whatever,” said Ana.

RESPONSIBLE FROM THE START

Ana, said Andillo, was a responsible phone user from the start. “She didn’t take it to her room when she went to sleep. She left it charging on the kitchen counter like we asked her. She didn’t send or get rude texts. She didn’t have a Finsta.”

“Dad,” said Ana. “Stop pretending like you know things.”

“Finsta,” said Andillo. “Fake Instagram. I do know things.”

“What is this, 2019?” said Ana.

“You know it’s not,” said Andillo.

“Whatever,” said Ana.

“Let me get to the point,” said Andillo.

“I wish you would,” said Ana.

THE POINT

“The only thing she did wrong was to keep buying these crappy fashion charging cords. One’s sparkly, one’s fuzzy, one has tiny fish suspended in liquid. I don’t think they work well, for starters, but I also read one too many articles about them causing phones to catch on fire.”

“I doubt it,” said Andillo’s wife (and Ana’s mother) Laura, passing briskly through the room, accordion file under her arm.

“As you should,” said Ana.

“I don’t,” said Andillo. “So I confiscated all her fashion charging cords. Then last Saturday morning she comes downstairs with a Grim Reaper look in her eyes. ‘Daddy,’ she said, ‘my phone is dead and I know who is culpable.’”

“Lawyer’s daughter,” said Laura, passing back through the room just as briskly.

“I took her phone and she was wrong. It was not quite dead. It was almost dead. Three percent. But then the weird thing started to happen. Right there in my hand it started to gain battery power. Four percent, five percent, eight, ten.”

“It was amazing,” said Ana, coming to stand behind her father. “I mean, he was like a superhero.”

“Yeah,” said Andillo. “At first I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a prank or something. But then I picked up my phone and the same thing happened, and then Laura’s and the same thing happened again.”

“It’s so cool,” said Ana.

LIMITED

Andillo said that his powers, while they seem to work on all makes and models of smartphones, do not extend to any other devices. “I can’t charge a Bluetooth speaker,” he said. “I can’t charge a mini-Vac. I can’t charge a car battery. Just the phones.”

As a result, while his newfound abilities are certainly impressive, they have not materially changed his life. “I don’t have to charge my phone as much during the day,” he said. “But nighttime is the same. What am I going to do, sleep with it in my hand? And I can’t hold everyone else’s phones. They need them. So it’s more like a family secret than anything else.”

“We’re proud of you,” Ana said. “We bought you all those signs.”

“One sign,” Andillo said. He pointed to the wall. “It says ‘Large and in Charge,’” he said, “which I find a little insulting.”

“You’re pleasingly plump, Daddy,” Ana said.

Andillo has, to date, resisted Laura’s recommendation that he make an appointment with either a physiochemist or a paranormal investigator to track down the cause of the hand-charging.

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