December 26th, 2000 by Clark Humphrey

(IN OUR FIRST EXCITING CHAPTER, would-be Internet mogul Benny Bucks has ordered his staff to work on Christmas, telling them they should be proud to give up a bleeding-heart holiday and devote themselves to their (his) goal of getting the site online in time for the bowl-game commercials he’s bought. A programming-nerd named Pratt refused, citing an ill son who needed him. Benny threatened to fire Pratt if he didn’t show up. Later, he passed out in front of his home PC, whilst attempting to conspire against his executive chairman. He either awakened or dreamed that he awakened, to find his flat-screen PC monitor filled with a streaming-video image of Demographic Debbie’s face, in all its blow-dry glory.)

At 18 frames per second, Debbie’s M.A.C.-lipsticked mouth asserts she knows he’s trying to do away with her position as his investor-appointed supervisor, and that he won’t get away with it. As she says this, her expression subtly shifts from a menacing scowl to something Benny finds much more threatening, a confident smile of the most disgustingly perky type. Benny remembers again just how much he hates Debbie.

Debbie’s upscale-target-market face tells him she wishes she could be there in person to rescind his work-on-Christmas order, but she had an unbreakable week-long commitment to her family.

She then asks, in her deceptively bubbly voice, if he knows what commitment is, or if he remembers what it’s like to care about anyone besides himself.

Benny yells at the screen, telling Debbie she’s nothing but an old-economy relic who doesn’t understand the rules of the new economy. Soon, dynamic revolutionary change agents like himself will secure their rightful place as the leaders of the emerging order. Once that happens, meddling bitches like her and useless beggars like Pratt will get what’s due them, which is a big fat nothing.

A totally unaffected Debbie declines to comment on his outburst. Instead, she smilingly warns Benny of three spirits who will visit him later this night; visitors who might show him a thing or two about the meaning of Christmas.

Benny pooh-poohs it all, calls Debbie a vicious cunt, and turns off the monitor.

Everything around him suddenly goes black. The air around him changes to a cool, dry, steady whirl, as if an unseen rotary fan was somewhere maintaining the environment of this unseen space.

Suddenly, the space lights up. Cheesy synth versions of “Frosty the Snowman” and other old kiddie Christmas songs begin to play from somewhere. Benny finds himself in a primitive ’80s video game world of solid-color shapes and jerky motions.

Soon, the Spirit of Christmas Past (who looks a lot like the damsel in distress from the original Donkey Kong arcade game) appears to lead him on through a maze of bright, lo-res walls beneath a black sky/ceiling.

In the center of the maze, a Sony Trinitron TV with an old top-loading VCR shows scenes from Benny’s prior Christmases.

He sees himself at age 10, pouting and moaning that he only got a Daewoo boom box instead of a real Sony.

The Spirit of Christmas Past points out how happy the other children in the room are, laughing and playing together and sharing their love while the young Benny’s sulking off by himself. The present-day Benny scoffs that he’d always found scenes of cheap sentimentality to be demeaning, and admits he’d always been anxious to get back to his video games.

The scene on the VCR skips ahead to age 14, in which Benny’s seen pouting and moaning that he only got a Fred Meyer ski jacket instead of a real Hilfiger.

At age 17, he’s seen pouting and moaning that he only got a used Plymouth sedan instead of a new, fire-engine-red Elantra. The present-day Benny defends his younger self to his lo-res video escort. I deserved a vehicle of quality; I had an image to protect; if those cheapskate parents cared for me, they’d have recognized that wealth comes to those who show they already have it.

Finally at age 23, Benny’s seen throwing back the Casio sports watch (not even a fucking Seiko, let alone a Rolex!) offered by the fiancee who’d worked for four years to support his MBA schooling.

While watching this scene, Christmas Past reminds him (in a cartoon-princessy voice) how he left the fiancee that day and never came back. Benny defensively says the woman wasn’t trophy-wife material; for one thing, she didn’t know how to act polite yet deferential at networking parties. Christmas Past tsk-tsks him, prissily saying it looks like he’ll need another lesson.

Benny lunges to turn off the VCR when he hears a crudely synthesized roar from high above him. He looks up to see Donkey Kong throwing a wooden barrel down at him. He spins and falls on his back. Everything goes dark as the familiar “Game Over” music plays through his head.

TOMORROW: The terror continues.

REMEMBER: It’s time to compile the highly awaited MISCmedia In/Out List for 2001. Make your nominations to clark@speakeasy.org or on our handy MISCtalk discussion boards.


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
© Copyright 1986-2022 Clark Humphrey (clark (at) miscmedia (dotcom)).