Showcase No. 2
“Jessica, you get showcase number two. Let’s see what’s in your showcase.”
“Jessica, your showcase includes prizes revealed through the exploits of our very own marauding Texas Ranger, investigating crimes and making criminals do the time. It’s our lovely Ranger Sarah. Doesn’t she look flexible? And what’s she hot on the trail of today? It’s the scourge of intellectual property pirates. What are these pirates up to today? Why it’s one of their favorite pastimes, they’re illegally watching our show through their hacked Komunikator K640 television! This 64” laser projection flat screen television from Polish electronics maker Komunikator is the latest in a long line of cutting edge innovation. Featuring the startling clarity of 4320p, this paper thin entertainment station offers true Ultra HD with 3D plus essential oil SmellFan. Delight in a galaxy of hyper-real sound thanks to its built-in 9.1 Surround Percept audio system featuring option BrainLynx through Demon Reaper Cord 7. Demon Reaper: Those sounds really are coming from inside your head.
“Oh my God.”
“But that’s not all. Ranger Sarah’s apprehending some miscreants for illegally recording our fair show. What’s that? They’re begging for mercy? Beat them harder Sarah! Beat them mercilessly, no matter how much they insist they’ve merely recorded the show because they don’t want to miss a single moment even as they take their very own trip to Mars!
“Jessica, you too could be headed to the blossoming red plains of our closest planetary neighbor courtesy of our complicated friends at the United People’s Republic of China Space Command. We may have landed on that Red Planet first, but they sure took it to the next level. This once lawless hellscape made famous for the Tànsuǒ Rebellion and, of course, the Battle of Mt. Hellespontus has become a can’t-miss destination spot for the elite adrenaline seeker featuring breathtaking mountain ranges and awe-inspiring vistas. Go spelunking in the Huǒxīng cave system and see where the “Screaming Eagles” of the 101st Airborne Division and the 9th Marine’s held out for an entire Martian winter before retaking the Capital at Tharsis. Tour the vast Chinese copper mines and go hiking on the extinct volcano Olympus Mons.
“Now, it’s true Mars might be a little more exciting than even our trusty Ranger Sarah can deal with, but don’t you worry. There’s no safer way to explore the rugged Martian countryside than with your very own personal bodyguard in tow— a US Orbital Delta Operator! The pride of the US/UN Joint First Strike Expeditionary Space Front, the US Orbital Delta Operator is the first line of defense against tyranny across colonized space. After the First Lunar Crisis, it became clear a new kind of warrior was needed to protect the assets of the free world, from Low Earth Orbit and beyond. The solution: part astronaut, part soldier, all deterrent. Clad in his recognizable MARPAT-patterned Integrated Personal-Protection armor with LEO+ Certification, courtesy of Northrup Grumman—Northrup Grumman, the leader in global and extraglobal security—your personal escort is impervious to small arms fire, explosive devices, nuclear blasts and its resultant radiation, thirty times the gravity of earth, direct exposure the vacuum of space, as well pulsed energy projectiles and laser induced plasma weapons.”
“The situational awareness hub of this super soldier is his Future Vision headgear. This handcrafted biogen-carbon threaded full-faced helmet provides him with integrated tactical processing by providing maps, routes, and data with a 180° emissive visor display, ultrahigh bandwidth wireless communications, microelectronic optics combat sensor suite that provides 360° situational awareness, and integrated small arms protection. Future Vision headgear: You’ll never see his face. You’ll never see him falter. All that tech isn’t just for defense. He’s able to return fire in a massive way thanks to his [ --REDACTED-- --REDACTED----REDACTED with built-in gggggggggggggggggggg gggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggdf TEnnnn nnnnn nnnnnnnnnnmD- thought once only safe for livestock, this array REDACTED—df df--REDACTE D----RE DA from PRC ground forces ,gdfg dfg d t ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff with extreme prejudice ghjhg hgj ffffff df fdg df df dffffffffffff unwittingly at first, we now realize ED-dfb d wefw wef w efw efwwef w trrreh rt we the basis for Greek and Roman myth wef wef h hh wefw hrtefw rtrwef tr rt rtwefwef wewe fw awef a wef fwef ef wwe few aewf aw ef awef we known as “liquid teeth” g ergerg ergerg erg erg er grege rgerg er ger g -bfdfbdfbdfbdfb]!”
“--REDACTED----REDACTE capable of --REDACTED----REh DACTED—the known phobias of the human mind REDACTED----REDACTED----REh h DACTED----REDACTED---fef fewf wef wef w ef wef w ee fwwe few f wef wefw efw hef wef wef wef wef – a kind of jelly C wef wefwe fwef we few fwef wef wef wef wef Th hh hED----REDACTED--]without hope!”
“Wow, Jessica! So, what price will you bid for this showcase? You get the television, the trip to Mars, and the personal escort. Jessica, what is your bid?”
(Incoherent shouting from audience)
“Uh, OK, what?”
“All right, Jessica. You have bid $54,250,000. Actual retail price of your showcase is…$62,142,592. That’s a difference of $7,892,592. And now, back to Tonya. Tonya, you remember your showcase. Showcase number one, you get the talking refrigerator, you get the trip to Australia and the private jet. What is your bid?
“Tonya, your bid is $39,500,000. Actual retail price for your showcase is…$38,520,211. Oh, I’m sorry, you’re over. Jessica, your opponent overbid so, Jessica, you have won your showcase!”
(Screaming from audience, bell ringing)
“Congratulations Jessica! Wow!”
“OK, well, actually, you know—”
“That’s all for us here! Remember, folks, help control the virulent nanobot population. Cut the power to any outdoor electronic device when not in use. Goodbye everybody!”
Mike Christian's writing can be found in GIANT Magazine among other journals. He is an MFA candidate at Adelphi University in fiction. He currently lives in New York City with his girlfriend.