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Book online «The Day the Screens Went Blank Danny Wallace (best summer reads .TXT) 📖». Author Danny Wallace

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This one’s for Clover.

For making me laugh every single day.

Well, look, I don’t know about you, but I found everything that happened EXTREMELY weird.

I think everybody found it extremely weird, if I’m honest.

Definitely me, and definitely Mum and Dad.

Sandra from next door definitely found it weird too.

The lady we met by the side of the road definitely did, and so did Ernie, and I’m pretty sure Boring Paul must have.

Even the angry woman with the tattoos was probably just using all those bad words because she was coping with how properly mad it all was.

But, wait! I’m getting ahead of myself and I bet you’re like, what on earth is this girl Stella talking about?! So let me start at the beginning. Let me start on…

So Sundays in my house are awesome because on Sundays we have Bobcroft Family Film Night.

Bobcroft Family Film Night is spectacular because Dad dims the lights and Mum makes popcorn, so already this is kind of a winner, right?

The whole of the Bobcroft family then strides into the living room.

My brother Teddy sits on the Big Chair in the corner because he’s the littlest.

I sit on the beanbag (which one day, when we finally get a dog, I will give to him or her with great pleasure because I love dogs).

And Mum and Dad sit on the sofa and make all those sounds like OOOH and AAAAH that grown-ups make when they sit down and want to tell you they’re totally relaxing.

Dad picks up a remote and holds it in the air like he’s about to start a race, to signal that Film Night is beginning.

And like LIGHTNING I pop on Mum’s noise-cancelling headphones and get my phone out.

Teddy gets his tablet out.

Mum and Dad press play.

And we all sit quietly and watch our films.

Mum and Dad watch their film on the Big TV. Usually it’s one where people follow each other round an old house, saying long words at each other. Sometimes Mum and Dad randomly skip bits and I’m not sure why. I guess they’re impatient.

I’ll usually choose something exciting but age-appropriate and on Sunday it was Dumbo, which I was greatly enjoying, though I have to say it was a little far-fetched.

So, just like every other Sunday, we’re all sitting there, doing our separate things like a family, when suddenly it happens.

The music stops and the elephant disappears and now I can hear Dad again.

He says, ‘Offle. Boffle woffle boffle.’

So I take off Mum’s headphones and now I can actually hear him properly and he’s complaining that their film’s just stopped.

He’s sitting on the edge of the sofa and he keeps pressing the buttons on his remote control, but it doesn’t help, so he presses them again but muuuuch harder, as if that’s going to do anything.

Well, I looked at Mum and told her my film had gone too and she asked Teddy if his thing was still working, but it wasn’t.

So we all just sat there for a bit.

And then we just put down our screens and went to bed.

Okay, I know that wasn’t the most dramatic opening of all time, but you just wait because THIS is where things get weird!

When I woke up the next morning, all I could hear was panic from downstairs.

I checked my alarm clock but it was dead.

And even though I’d left my phone on charge just in case it came back to life in the night like a mobile zombie, that was dead too.

I could hear Dad in the kitchen complaining about sleeping in and being late for work.

He kept shouting, ‘Alexa! What time is it?’ and ‘Alexa! What’s going on?’ and ‘Alexa! What did I do? Why aren’t you talking to me?!’

Mum was muttering something about how ‘the systems’ must have gone down, but apart from her and Dad I couldn’t hear any of the other sounds I normally hear. I couldn’t hear Good Morning Britain or Sky News on WAY too loud. Mum wasn’t making her poached eggs in the microwave. Zero beep-beeps.

Dad hates being late. He says, when he was a kid, you could never be late, because in those days you couldn’t text people to let them know you were going to be late but you were on your way. He says if you were late, when you got there, everybody would have just gone somewhere else because you were late. And you had no idea where and you couldn’t call them. So you just had to walk around for ages and hope you found them. What kind of system is that? Madness.

Someone should have invented phones a LOT earlier, though Dad says they had one in each house. Poor Dad, growing up like that. When you wanted to speak to someone, you had to phone their home phone and speak to a grown-up first! I mean, ex-squeeze me, but what? You had to talk to someone’s mum and ask if you could speak to your friend! I’m sorry, but I have human rights. I don’t need to get stuck answering boring adult questions about how Mum’s getting on or how school is. Time is money.

Anyway, because of all the shouting, I go downstairs and immediately I can tell something is not right, right?

First up, what was that noise?

Answer: that noise was NOTHING.

There were no text-message DINGS.

There were no email WHOOSHES.

There were no bleeps or blips or tweety whistles or WhatsApp ting-tings.

Teddy was sitting miserably at the kitchen table with his blank tablet. Usually he’d be watching an age-appropriate video of giant airliners or something.

Dad’s staring at his phone and shaking his head. Then he starts shouting about how come the toaster is working and the lights can turn on but the TV and his laptop are just

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