Saturday, August 06, 2005

Story #01: "Merchandise"

This story is not complete. I apologize for that. I sort of got stuck. If anyone can suggest directions this could possibly go in in their critiques, it would be much appreciated. Anyway, enjoy!


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Merchandise

Do you have any idea how much money the human body is worth?

Take a guess. Humor me.

The Association for the Prevention of Street Capitalism estimates it to be roughly in the ballpark of twelve and a half million dollars. A little bit higher than what you had in mind? What if I were to tell you that on a good day, if the market is just right, and I have some nice, healthy raw material on my hands, it can be as high as twenty five million?

“But where does it all come from?” You might ask.

Well a lot of it you probably learned in high school biology. Not the prices of course – those you don’t learn about until you actually get involved in the business – but just how many things there are inside of you right now: one hundred billion neurons; ten pints of blood; six pounds of skin; two hundred and six bones; over six hundred and fifty muscles; two million eggs or hundreds of millions of sperm; one hundred thousand strands of hair; fifty nine thousand, nine hundred and fifty one miles of arteries, veins, and capillaries; - close to 85% of it all having (when processed correctly and disassociated from its origins) quantifiable retail value.

It’s nothing new either. Kidneys have been selling in Asia for over half a century. Back in the ‘90s, a single kidney would make a “broker” about $50,000. Now a days, with inflation and increased demand and all that, that number is closer to four times that much. But it’s not just transplants I’m talking about - livers and bone marrow and things like that account for only about five percent of total. It’s the things you don’t think about that are worth the big bucks.

Take the brain for instance. The human brain, along with the spinal column, contains hundreds of chemicals and neurotransmitters. These include dimethyltryptamine, norepinephrine, and corticotropin – all of which are key ingredients in some very powerful, and very expensive, recreational drugs. Combine that with the various hormones produced by the glands, fat for making designer soap and candles out of, muscles for athletic enhancements, and hair, skin, teeth, sex organs, and anything else of use to a plastic surgeon who wants the most “realistic” modifications in town, and it all becomes very lucrative. Like I said: twenty five million on a good day.

Then of course there are those days when things don’t work out as well as you had expected. When some hotshot college athlete estimated to be worth upwards of twenty million winds up having liver cirrhosis, the early stages of skin cancer, and a head full of fried brain cells.

That was the sort of thing we were dealing with now.

“I say we salvage what we can. Even if it’s not the payload we were expecting. At least the day won’t be a total waste.”

Corbin was pleading with me through the sweat soaked ski mask he had neglected to take off after we reached the car.

“I’m not busting my ass for scraps. No fucking way.”

“Ok, well the kid’s got a couple hundred dollars worth of threads on him. That should be enough to cover the payoff to the cops.”

I went through possible scenarios in my mind. We could dump the body, but that would make for a lot of paperwork in the hands of the cops whose hush money we were just discussing. I didn’t want to risk jeopardizing such a valuable relationship.

“Take us to another district… um… Buena Vista,” I yelled to the driver.

“What’s your plan?” asked Aidan.

“Shut the fuck up! Shut THE FUCK up. You’re lucky there’s not a second body in that trunk right now. You don’t have any liver problems do you, Aidan?”

I neglected to mention that it was Aidan’s little slipup that had gotten us into this whole mess to begin with. Aidan had forgotten to sufficiently tighten the handcuffs on our little party animal, and in the subsequent escape attempt, I was forced to put two bullet holes in him – the damage of which rendered his net worth substantially lower. It was only later that we discovered the other defects.

The remainder of the drive no one dared to speak, which gave me a chance to map out my solution. The boy in the trunk was a resident of the GoaCom-owned Liberty Hills. Buena Vista, the location our car was currently speeding towards, was owned by the Hathermayer Corporation – a rival company. Knowing the politics of the two, it would be highly unlikely for them to share records. This meant that a body dumped on Hathermayer-owned land, the records of which were property of GoaCom, would go unidentified, and the case would not be pursued. Such was my hope, anyway.

The car pulled up to the border and stopped at the gate. I motioned to Corbin to take off the mask. His hair was a disheveled mess and his face glistened with sweat. He looked like shit. I didn’t worry too much though. The five of us wearing business suits, I figured the guards would assume he was either coked up or had had one too many drinks.

Johan, our driver, was busy showing all the required paperwork, while the other guard was busy staring Corbin dead on in the face. I was positive he was moments away from asking questions, but we were moments away from getting the fuck out of dodge, so I tried to keep cool and not make eye contact.

“Thank you. Have a nice day.”

“You too.”

And we were gone.

“Wipe that sweat off your face,” I said to Corbin, throwing him a handkerchief, “you almost got us into some trouble back there.”

“Sorry.”

Erick and Trevor were staring at their feet. They hadn’t opened their mouths since we stepped into the car.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

um... so I guess this is the first post

Let the games begin!