Part III: Wasting Thousands By The Hour - Chapters 48 - 52

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Chapter Forty Eight

!!!GeT YoUR LiFe eXTeNSioN hErE!!! Nature dictates that all men must die, but we can change all that for a mere 100,000 credits. No refunds or exchanges after a 30-day period.

GENERIATRIC SPRINGS RESORT: BETA HOUSE. 2168-10-3X-. 0:00 PM.

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ORDERLY 1 and ORDERLY 2 inspect the merchandise.

ORDERLY 1: What's this?

Orderly 2 steps in for a closer look. He peels back the white garment, pushing it up to the subject's armpit. He runs a scanner over the greenish-red mark. Steps back. Shakes his head.

ORDERLY 2: Bad meat.

LITTLE NURSE stirs in semi-consciousness. She hears them, but cannot move.

ORDERLY 1: What should we do?

ORDERLY 2: We'll have to report it. It's too bad, I always liked her. She didn't jab in the needles like the rest of them.

Orderly 1 rolls white garment back down to subject hip, is careful not to touch discolored skin area despite anti-bac, latex-gloved hands.

ORDERLY 2: I'll do the dirty work.

Orderly 2 turns to nearby console and keys in data:

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M.C. INPUT 768A9:

S.P.E.G.G. mod produces deterioration of the skin. Indicates preliminary symptoms of a more serious disease, not to mention unsightly. This coupled with the malfunction of sporadic limb extension recommends cessation of any further resources towards this project.

...

CONCLUSION: Failed Experiment

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I was in the Mess Hall. Feeding room, dining room, Salisbury steak room. It was 2:30 p.m., not breakfast, lunch, or dinner time, so it was practically empty. Almost Win Lots of Money, Then Lose it All by Answering One Question Wrong was on the redscreen. My chair was in the corner, situated so I could watch in doomsday anticipation while reporting into a black, rectangular device I had found underneath the peach blanket last night. Stuck to its side was a vinyl label which read: 'WALKIE-TALKIE #37 – FROM THE SET OF T.J. HOOKER'.

"This is Red Rover to Grandfather Glam. Over."

"You have to hold the button down," came the voice from the other end.

"Oh." I found a button on the side and pushed it in. "This is Red Rover to Grandfather Glam. Over."

"Better, better. Now, listen carefully, listen. The time has come for you to stop being an ass. Your little glitter one is on the cliffs, looking over. Before she jumps, she will be pushed. Try and stop it if you can. Just remember, if things don't work out, it isn't always up to you. Isn't up to you." Static popped and hissed, along with a noise in the background that sounded vaguely like a cowbell.

I smiled at the plastic device. I didn't quite understand what Grandfather Glam was talking about, but this was fun. My #37 Walkie-Talkie from the T.J. Hooker grew hot, then cold. It shrank in my hand, then the hard plastic became malleable, gelatinous. The outer black shell cracked and light emitted from the fault lines—green light.

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