Cost/Benefit

Selling seasons, labor’s fruits exchanged. Another morning, what can I buy today? I’m nothing if not a consumer. If I’m not clever, then I’m not special. If I’m not smart, I’m nothing. Still, so savvy. Get that special deal. Bargains. For sale, one existence. Will work for purpose. If I don’t spend a cent, I’m useless. Why bother even being an American? Paying rent doesn’t provide the same thrill.

That’s where we’re headed: houses, transportation, fruits, vegetables—all free. We’ll only work for more consumer goods. What a wonderful world. Shop ‘til we drop-out of empire status. No need to buy the staples, so buy an automatic stapler. It saves time! Time you could be spending shopping. And take a tablet or two. One for the pain, and one for the bathroom. Stare into sleeping phones and question your reflection. ‘Tis the season. Season’s giving us meaning. Give away your life. If not spending, joy is ending. Fork it over. Buy a fork. Buy a whole set.

In and Out

“You gotta’ have a quarter back there somewhere.” I’m sure you find money every time you need a bag of pot.

“I’m sorry, sir, I really don’t.” And if I did, I wouldn’t give it to you, asshole.

“This is insane!” You little bitch. “I’m in here all the time, just ring me up and I’ll bring the difference next time I’m here.”

“I really can’t. If my till is off more than five cents I have to count it twice, and I don’t have time to do that.” Especially not for you.

“Aw, Jesus, really?” I’m surprised you can even count.

“I can bump you back down to a regular size order of fries.” Trust me, you don’t need the large.

Fuck that, this is America! “I’m a paying customer, a loyal one! I deserve better than this!” Why is it so expensive, anyway?

“Sorry, sir. I just take the orders.” Well, sometimes I run the fryer, too.

“What, is this your first job?” And they want to raise the minimum wage? “Bring me your manager!”

“Right away, sir.” I’ll go get the only person who cares less about this than I do.

The Creep

It was 8 PM on Thanksgiving, and the line was spreading into the parking lot. Two shoppers leaned against the building, having already been in line for an hour and a half. They were among the early arrivals to the big box complex.

“I hate this commercialization of the holidays! It’s like we celebrate Black Friday more than Thanksgiving! Is that what America has come to?” said the first shopper. “We’re supposed to be grateful for what we already have today. Instead, we cue up to add more useless possessions to our lives! We’re supposed to be spending the day with our families! Instead, we shovel down our food so we can get to the bargains before everyone else. What kind of bargain is that? Where do these behemoth corporations get off making their employees work today?” The line inched forward. “All this for what? A little bump in sales that placates the shareholders and allows the CEO to get an extra million or two in his bonus? How do these companies get away with destroying tradition in the name of money?”

The line moved again.

 

Chop Shop

The man strolled down the aisles of the lab. He stopped occasionally to look into one of the many man-size tubes lining the walls.

“I like his arms,” said the man, motioning toward one of the tubes.

“Good choice, sir,” said the guide accompanying the man.  “He was an athlete before.” The man and his guide moved on their way, and then the man stopped at another tube.

“And him, I want his hairline,” said the man.

“As you wish, sir,” said the guide.

“This next one… well, I think it’s obvious what I would like of his.” They continued to browse for an hour or so more, until the man felt his upgrades were completed. “I think I’m all set,” said the man.

“Fine selections, sir. I’ll alert the harvesting team at once,” said the guide. He pressed an intercom button and called for the surgical team.

“How long before I’ve recovered this time around?” asked the man.

“I’d say you’ll be up and enjoying your new setup in a month,” replied the guide.

“Excellent. After my recuperation I will return to assemble a wife,” said the man.

“Top notch idea, sir. We have quite a few excellent specimens arriving next month. The only issue is lips- we’ve had a shortage of natural-born lips lately. But don’t fret, the crop of lab-grown lips has been stellar this year,” said the guide.

“I’m sure that will do,” said the man. “One question: what kind of athlete was the man whose arms I am taking before he came into debt?”

“He was a runner, sir,” replied the guide.

“Well,” said the man. “Then he didn’t need them anyway, did he?”

The man laughed as the surgical team arrived to lead him to his room.