Sunday, February 6, 2011
Herein you will find the as-promised second act of my on-going proposal for the hypothetical video game "Bed Bug Mountain." I have been under the weather, which has prevented me delivering this sooner, and I can only hope your enthusiasm for this project has not cooled. Again, please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions.
P.S. I have re-printed my contact information below as I have recently purchased a new camera phone.
BED BUG MOUNTAIN: TREATMENT TWO
Mr. _____'s hike takes him ever higher past where casual hikers are supposed to turn around and hit the gift shop. With each pre-peak, the insect population becomes exponentially more bizarre. Bugs that look like three rotting strawberries stuck together with thumb tacks bumble menacingly across the gradually fading trail. As he finally nears the summit, delirious with joy, he begins to hear a low rumbling sound from directly above him, descending rapidly. Moments before he hoists himself up over the final crest, two bed bugs, whistling the traditional American Otter Pant, land, belabored with knick-knacks, on the peak, each one outfitted with a hulking, back-mounted carbine.
"Beautiful, isn't?" one of the bed bugs asks Mr. _____ "Look at the ocean. It's truly amazing how powerful and mysterious it looks from this vantage. Have you noticed how thin the air is up here? Every once in a while I'll just zip up here at lunch and eat a burger from one of the restaurants in the valley."
"Ah, yes, I have." says Mr. _____ wheezily.
"Quite a trip too. Though, I didn't think we'd make it before the sun went down. We got caught up at the gift shop." He shoots a look at his companion. "Looks like we're just in time for sunset. Sunset is my favorite." Arms full, the bed bugs look around distractedly. "Um, is there still a trash can up here? I don't really want to carry these knick-knacks around." He shoots another glance at his slow, quiet companion. "Actually, are you walking down soon? Would you mind? I kind of need both hands to fly this thing."
The bed bug unsaddles a hanker-chief made out of a salvaged burger wrapper, a commemorative ice-tea bucket from the rainforest-themed restaurant made out of a salvaged plaster bucket, a novelty stuffed animal made out of a salvaged sea-otter from a recent hit and run, a thermos made out of a salvaged battery casing, and an old-timey gold pan made out of a salvaged hub cab recovered from the scene of the aforementioned hit and run.
"I really can't carry all this back down the mountain."
"Sure you can!" says the bed bug.
The bed bug watches while Mr. _____ struggles with the knick-knacks and after a few minutes says, "You know what? We can just leave them here for now."
"You want to leave all these novelties up here on the top of this mountain?" Mr. _____ blurts incredulously.
"Sure, they're all made from salvaged materials. You know, "Reduce, Reuse." I just reduced the amount of worthless reusable crap I own. I feel really good." The bed bug stretches to demonstrate his newfound lightness of being.
"You didn't use these for anything!"
"Sure I did! I used them for buying. If you have to buy something, why not buy something made from something else? It's the responsible thing to do. Besides someone is going to come along here soon and put it all to good use."
"I haven't seen anyone up here all day except for you two."
"That's because you don't have a jet-pack on! I saw people flying up here all day. Though earlier, there were reports of a hairless, animatronic albino gorilla sitting in the trees a few miles down, so it wasn't as busy as usual. Anyway, you can go absolutely anywhere with one of these things. Look at the cup holder. Isn't that great? About the reusables: think about it in terms of a resource-driven economy. If some visionary theta-mortician in Israel needs an ice tea glass or a thermos for some non-profit rare blood-disease research, they shouldn't have to go crawling around begging for money when those sorts of things are just be lying around. They can just crawl up here. Or buy a jet pack. Oh! I forgot. You need both hands to fly a jet pack. They can crawl."
The sunset airbrushes the sky in vibrant and regal hues of orange and purple, respectively.
"What a regal orange tonight. I never get tired of seeing how God is going to use orange every night." He turns to Mr. _____. "You know, it's going to be dark soon. How did you plan on getting down?"
Mr. _____ realizes he has not considered this all day, as he has been considering living-in-the-now all day.
"Well, you'll never make it down alive now. I have just the thing for you to re-use."
"I think the experience as a whole will be more rewarding if I just walk." Mr. _____ earnestly protests.
"No, no. It's too cold up here at night. I'd know, I had my last birthday party up here and people were freezing. It was really great though. Here, put this on." The bed bug unbuckles his companion's jet-pack, puts it down by Mr. ______, gathers up his companion with both hands, and flies down the mountain. Moments later, they return briefly for the hub-cab.
Friday, February 4, 2011
The following is a consumer report published in Flight Magazine profiling the Reef Patent Co., Personal Aeronautics Division's Jet-Pak brand jet-pack experience.
When RPCPAD announced they were taking pre-orders for their patented over-the-counter Jet-Pack, many in the personal aeronautics community doubted the patent industry mammoth would be able to go the distance and deliver by their projected release date. Among early rumors that the jet-pack was inducing multi-stage depression in test subjects, were the obvious engineering hurdles that have traditionally plagued the completion of a successful personal jet-pack prototype. As their market deadline approached, with no advance notice, RPCPAD sent out the following press release:
"Reef Patent Co. Patents Navigation Breakthrough Handless Flight."
Utilizing the cutting-edge patent Intention-Fueled Propulsion Quantum-Technology, RFCPAD is proud to usher in the new world of handless flight. IFPQT will allow Jet-Pak users to rely solely on the power of their own intention to take them deep into the sacred places of the world. Places that, until now, have been unreachable without the kind of emotional and physical resources available to only a very small percentage of the global community. It is our vision at Reef Patent to bring the natural wonders of the world to anyone who decides they feel like looking at them. Once a Jet-Pak user has decided, without a doubt, that they really are determined to take a quick and entertaining flight to their desired destination, IFPQT can alchemize their intention into the never-before experienced sensation of luxurious handless flight. On top of all this, Handless Flight Intention-Fueled Technology runs off one-sixteenth the determination required to visit most of our patented View-Tainment Jet-Pack Enabled destinations by other means.
Let's give a hand, for handless.
While the industry scrambled to retrieve their collective jaw from off the ground, Flight Magazine's Hurl Finch was lucky enough to attend an early flight demo and even give the Reef Patent Co., Personal Aeronautic Division's Jet-Pak brand jet-pack a test run.
Arriving at the appointed test site, I couldn't help but long for a day when I'd be able to arrive at test sites simply by strapping on a jet-pack. My instructor, a beautiful young dancer who reported having been an avid flight enthusiast since 17, spared little time in brusquely strapping me into the Jet-Pak's surprisingly succinct safety-strap configuration. Once "suited-up", I couldn't help but notice the glaring absence of any handlebars. 'Where do I put my hands?' I asked as the IFPQT receivers fired up. My instructor, who could contort her body in and out her straps almost instantaneously, yelled over the now roaring engines, 'This thing's handless! Takes a minute to get used to, but soon you'll be able to get anywhere effortlessly! Just let your hands dangle lifelessly at your sides! You don't need them anymore!' Sounded like a dream, but I was skeptical. 'Like this?' I called back as I flopped my arms around indifferently. 'No!' she bellowed huskily, 'First try loosening up with some free movement!' before demonstrating with a series of patented Snake-Like Gyrations. I was feeling pretty loose after a few minutes of this, if not perhaps more conscious of my body, and soon I was ready to experience the stuff of rumors, Intention-Fueled Propulsion Quantum-Technology. 'Now! Would you like to see the peak of Mont Blanc? It's our first experimental Jet-Pak enabled View-Tainment location-spot!"
"I suppose! I've never particularly wanted to go there, but if you want to, I will!"
"No! It doesn't work that way! You have to intend to go there!" she rasped demurely. "It's actually quite thrilling! People often die trying to peak it! The view is really something to see!"
"View, huh? Of what?"
"France and Germany simultaneously!"
"Do we have to stay long?"
"No, we can just go take a quick look and come back!"
"That sounds good!"
Immediately, my jet-pack and I were traveling at an inconceivable speed in an indiscernible direction. My only complaint regarding the actual flight was some discomfort brought on by pummeling winds. I'm told they have since developed a patented Face-Hood, made of opaque, but breathable, water-proof performance fabrics.
The View-tainment atop Mont Blanc was, as promised, nothing short of breath-taking, but some resentful-looking mountain climbers gave us only so much time to reflect. I was feeling not unlike a Shaman, using only my mind to see vast distances. The mountain climbers were no doubt ignorant of the fact that I had actually fueled the entire trip on pure intention, no different than they. Before I had time to explain, a confrontation erupted, one that will no doubt be repeated often in the consciousness of this new world.
"Do you have any idea how many friends and good men we've lost climbing this mountain?" the hikers yelled. "Do you realize how disrespectful this is? To fly up here and steal the view we've nearly frozen to death for?"
"Jet-Packs are not hiking gear." offered my instructor. "They are patented View-Tainment consoles."
"Well, no honest hiker or Jet-Pak user ever has to die needlessly on a mountain ever again." I reassured everyone satisfactorily.
That night at dinner, with spluttering anticipation, my family could barely wait for me to get in the door before asking all about my day in the future. Settling down at the head of the table, I got the rare privilege of looking into the eyes of my kids and saying, "Today your Daddy stood on top of one of the most dangerous mountains in the world. A mountain so big, it straddles two countries."
Hallucinating with awe, they managed, "What two countries, Daddy?"
"France and Italy." I said, before eating the goddamn best-tasting dinner of my life and then sleeping like a rock.
I swear to God.