Author : Morrow Brady
Like fireflies born from air, the HoloTV image morphed into view. Through its ethereal glow, lay scattered beer cans and ecig batteries. Everyone’s favourite reality show Joe’s Stake was about to start.
“Hurry up Honey, they’re plugging in the Joe!” said a grey bristled middle aged man nestling into a old brown sofa. He was quickly joined by a brandy haired lady in a chrysanthemum sun dress.
In 90 high resolution inches, the corpse of this week’s Joe appeared laid out on a rusty hospital bed. Through a shaking handheld camera, a red haired starlet welcomed her viewers. Carefully she reached behind the Joe’s ear and eased in the neon blue transmitter into the implant port.
Blue static snapped into view and slowly formed words in large white helvetica font.
Moments passed until further words appeared.
CURRENT HEALTH 100%
The words faded to grey and from nothing appeared a first person view from within an office toilet cubicle. News, stock reports and emails glowed on the walls of the toilet partitions under shameless LED.
The toilet seat automatically lowers and Joe turns around, undoes his belt and begins to sit.
The screen freezes and the following words appear.
“$1000 on 10%, I think its gunna be a stroke!” spat the Beard.
“No. I don’t think so babe. Its too early. Lets put $500 on 0%. It’s a fake hurt!”
Joe’s view flashes red indicating extreme pain.
CURRENT HEALTH 95%
Together the couple winces a mixed emotion of shared empathy and financial loss.
Joe struggles to repeatedly rise, only to keel over, clutching his groin.
“Poor fella must have got caught under the auto lid” Beard yelled as they both fell about themselves roaring with laughter.
Through a red tint, Joe descends to a large corporate entrance lobby with a revolving door.
The screen freezes.
“$200 says 10% on a door malfunction”
A low resolution CCTV shows Joe entering the revolving door, only for its central spindle to shudder and send the dividing glass panels at speed on a rotating trajectory.
The camera zooms in as Joe is catapulted into the forecourt like shrink wrapped cheese.
CURRENT HEALTH 85%
“$2000! Hell yeah!” The drunken pair spill beer as they slap palms clumsily.
As bystanders gaze open-mouthed, Joe rises dazed, brushes away glass fragments and meanders off.
A modest suburban home appears, tended by an aging ButlerDroid. Joe collapses on the couch and falls asleep.
“That Droid’s as old as the hills. $500 on 20% for a malfunction” yells Chrysanthemum Lady.
CURRENT HEALTH 75%
“Bad luck baby, that was close” Beardy says, comforting her with a hand on the knee.
From darkness, red colour flicker as on-screen meters show Joe’s adrenalin is spiking.
Joe struggles to extract himself from the deepest folds of his sofa mechanics.
“Ooh no! The sofa auto-folded on him!”
Joe raises his crooked bruised body.
“He’s up! Oh yeah!” Beardy & Chrysanthemum leap to their feet in anticipation.
ButlerDroid carries Joe up a rusted staircase and near the top, the image freezes.
“$200 on a terminal overnight heart attack”
From a darkened corner, across a dishevelled sofa, a staircase beyond carries an misshapen form. In the corner of the screen pops up a Droid Operating routine that flashes in red text.
MAXIMUM LOAD BREACH
The droid’s forward momentum slows to a backward teeter. As gravity takes hold, Joe and the droid crash desperately down the stairs. The HoloTV image fades to grey.
CURRENT HEALTH 0%
“Oh no!” They both spat in dismay as the closing credits show a mourning widow presented with the house winnings.