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The Must See Event of the Year (standard:other, 866 words)
Author: Craig AndersonAdded: Dec 22 2003Views/Reads: 1789/1126Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Tv, Terror(ism), capitalism, stupidity...

The Must See Event of the Year. By Craig Anderson 

Arriving earlier, it had aroused little suspicion. A sealed case
containing a DVD with a pleasant flower logo, addressed to the Head of 
the Network. En route, it passed through the token security device, 
before landing in its intended recipient's inbox. Mildly intrigued, 
both by its anonymity and the archaic format on which it was presented, 
he wasted only a moderate amount of time before viewing it. Four 
minutes-thirty later, his gaping maw was joined in the office by the 
sealed and supercilious smiles of his compadres. They sat, cursive 
glances watch-ward briefly in check, and he replayed the video. 

Neon, sweat and hamburgers. An overweight man, picking his nose.
Children crying and asking for things they'd been taught to want. Their 
parent's, merely older credit-card- carrying caricatures. Each scene 
was punctuated by a chorus of canned laughter. The city portrayed was 
as faceless as any other; the same global-franchises with contemporary 
office-blocks doing their dance of efficiency upon the sepulchres of 
the resident architecture. The footage was carefully choreographed, so 
as to not have any readily identifiable signs or images A music store 
window, poster-tiled to infinity with the blonde embodiment of keen 
market research. Drivers swearing at drivers swearing. Liquid rainbows 
slipping down drains, to be of no thought or consequence again. A laden 
pram probing the traffic like some absent-minded insect. The images 
flashed by, quicker and quicker, to the point of  subliminality. The 
laughter sped too, and became a howl. A white screen, and silence. A 
grassed field greened the screen, with the distant blurred silhouettes 
of trees. In the foreground, a single flower grooved to the slow beat 
of the breeze, on which the camera zoomed. It morphed, through some 
rather backyard visual effects, into a simple logo. After panning out, 
it was clear the logo adorned a large canister of nerve-gas. Clear, in 
that it looked as a large nerve-gas canister perhaps should, also aided 
by the rather considerate label. “NERVE GAS CANISTER – Not to be 
taken.” Having never really considered where unwanted things small 
enough to be flushed wound up, they didn't immediately recognize the 
location as that of a large sewer system. A neutral voiceover stated 
thus, the stakes, and what they were to do. 

“Exclusive footage?” “Yep, ten mobile cameras at ground zero.” “Or we
could turn it over to the feds.” Snorts adlib. “Think of the lives...” 
A measured pause. “Think of the ratings.” 

They logged on, as instructed, to the encrypted and secure chat-room.
There were two other users in the room;  “joes_rib_palace”, and the 
other, whom they rightly presumed to be the device-owner, under the nom 
de plume “hot_mustard”. He welcomed them and set the reserve at 
one-hundred million dollars, with increments of  fifty million. 
Communication, other than numerals, had been disabled for all but the 

“Ah damn, must be another network, wanting a piece of the action...”
“Stick it to ‘em.” 

The bidding began. As the chat-room timer ticked down to zero, it became
a frenzy, and rose well above the auctioneers reserve. 

“The bidding is over”, he declared. 

They had won. And though they had paid well over ten times what they had
anticipated, they reasoned costs could be partially recouped by selling 
the footage to other networks. 

The other user was booted from the room, and the details were laid down.
Bank accounts, and most importantly, the time of the attack. The 
promotion machine set about its work, with phrases like “must see Event 
of the Year” and “life and death TV” being bandied about akin to a 
major sporting spectacle. 

Of course, advertisers paid much more than they would for Super-bowl
airtime. Multinationals know a money-spinner, and, after all, this 
package was to be beamed live to every country in the world. 

It all went very well, bar a few minor satellite hiccups. A roving band
of gas-suited camera-men exited a van, and the crowded morning streets 
yellowed with fog. Amidst the crush and confusion, those writhing were 

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