The Thomas Kincaid Pop-Up Christmas Tree and Consumer Happiness Dispenser

(from the 2037 Hammacher Schlemmer Glaven catalog)

The Thomas Kincaid Pop-Up Christmas Tree and Consumer Happiness DispenserThis is a six-foot Christmas tree that pops up instantly and is pre-decorated with original artwork by renowned holiday artist Thomas Kinkaid, all of which can dispense Viritron’s patented Santa Virus.

The tree rises from a flat position in concentric circles to its full thirty-inch width and seventy-six-inch height, and simply hangs on the included stand, in which is embedded a Viritron Aerosol Dispensing Unit, capable of infecting anyone within a two-hundred foot radius of the tree with a virus that will guarantee you have a good Christmas.

Three hundred glistening clear lights are nestled among the branches and cast a warm glow on the seventy richly-painted globe ornaments, that will be sure to distract your customers from the brief intense psychic pain they will feel upon contact with the Santa Virus, as it coerces them to buy more gifts than they can afford. The tree has two additional gold and burgundy ribbons, 15 velvet-like poinsettias, and a golden bow, which has a rebreather and a two-minute oxygen supply embedded in it, if you are inadvertently caught in your store while the tree is circulating the Santa Virus. The tree collapses for easy storage for the off-season. (15lbs. Santa Virus sold separately.)

The FridgularityExperience brief psychic pleasure by getting your own copy of my most recent book, The Fridgularity, for $2.99 in ebook formats:

Kindle Edition

Smashwords for Kobo and Nook (Use Coupon Code: YU86X).

Dead trees your thing? You can get the paperback here for $12.99. (Use the coupon code: YGMVFZZY.)

Alltop is always a happy consumer. This story appears in my collection, Pirate Therapy and Other Cures.

Excerpt: Internet addicts, looking for a fix in The Fridgularity

Internet addiction

The Fridgularity begins with the Big Crash — the Internet goes down, as an entity takes over all the horsepower available through all the devices connected to it. This has certain deleterious effects on the folks who NEED the Internet to live. One of the main characters, Will Valens, is one of them:

Will Valens couldn’t believe the length of the downtime. It had been two hours already, and still, nothing had changed. He’d been to the server room and bugged the IT guys, but they didn’t have any idea what was going on. But, damn it! He’d uploaded his first major art projects just the night before, and he wanted to know what people thought. Of course, if it was true what they were saying on the main floor, that everything was down, not just in the building but all over the world, then nobody could see his stuff on aberrant-art.com anyway.

Will was a junior graphic designer at McClinchey, Hill & Grandfig, but if asked that most Anglo-Saxon of questions “What do you do?” Will would say he was an artist. And it was true, he was an artist. Most of his work tended towards the abstract, but he had taken a Fine Art degree before learning how to push pixels around at graphic design school, which was a way to pay the bills until he got established as an artist.

Will had two major barriers in his way. The first was just the difficulty of getting “established” as an artist — even in Canada, where an experimental visual artist could create “a post-modern abstract paradigm based on neo-nihilist methodology and high-velocity dog shit” and still get some kind of grant. Secondly, Will had a little bit of an Internet addiction. He was constantly checking Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Facebook, Abberant-Art (of course) and his new favorite, the inventive and “paradigm-maiming” next wave social media aggregator, Sturbr. He even checked his ancient MySpace account obsessively, as he said, “Just in case.”

Will’s addiction made the creation of high art (with or without the use of accelerated canine fecal matter) extremely difficult.

That said, he’d still managed to produce a few works, if only so he could photograph them lovingly, Photoshop them to correct their flaws, and then post them to the large number of websites where he spent the majority of his non-working hours. But currently, the web seemed to be down. Not just his connection to the web — a temporary setback that could be remedied a number of ways — but the web itself.

The Internet outage was worrying. So worrying that Will had turned off his computer and his two screens. He was a graphic designer, so naturally he worked on a Mac with screens only slightly smaller than the ones on the bridge of the starship Enterprise. He waited for another five minutes, and thought he’d try again.

He rebooted his system, turned the monitors back on, and was greeted with more pixelated madness.

Will laid his head on his immaculate, paper-free desk, and began to cry.

#

The FridgularityGo get The Fridgularity for $2.99 in ebook formats:

Kindle Edition

Smashwords for Kobo and Nook (Use Coupon Code: YU86X).

Dead trees your thing? You can get the paperback here for $12.99. (Use the coupon code: YGMVFZZY.)

Alltop is also ready to be downloaded on the Internet. Image by Psychara, on DeviantArt.

Excerpt: Cyber-zombies in The Fridgularity

Cyber zombie

As the self-aware entity Zathir takes over the Internet (and promptly locks all humans out of it), a noticeable portion of the population become unhinged by their loss of their favorite thing.

It’s not just the economic crisis the event causes that is a problem. It’s the humans who are so addicted to their devices and social media — all of which no longer work — they become cyber-zombies.

Here’s a scene in which the villain, Peter Sona, realizes these lost souls are just waiting to be led out of their mental undeath:

Across the street, there was an electronics shop, and a throng of people had gathered around the window.

Still feeling dejected, Pete went over to see what was happening. The crowd wasn’t quite milling. The crowd is zombie-ing, Pete thought. What do zombies do? They shuffle. They moan. The people in the crowd were moving slightly, eyes dead and mouths slack, all trying to get at something behind the window. Most of them were muttering something unintelligible. The object of their slack-jawed worship was a large flat-screened TV, running on generator power, displaying the pixelated mess everyone had seen on the day of the Big Crash.

“Hnnnnnn,” one of them said.

“Scrnnnnn,” another agreed.

They were cyber-zombies. The digital undead.

Lord Sona was too strong of mind and character to fall prey to this aberrant behavior, even though he desperately missed the Kingdom of Combat. It seemed that a goodly percentage of his demographic was completely unhinged by the lack of digital media, and those who were not catatonic were instead mindless, barely aware of their surroundings. But even the pixelated static of the Big Crash was enough to arouse their appetites; like human brains to the traditional zombie, the hope of digital diversion drew these CZs.

The CZs milled, and they moaned. The static drew them, and Pete threaded his way to the front of the milling and moaning throng. Here was an audience!

Pete read his poem to them. The verse had no effect in breaking the spell of the pixelated display. At least they didn’t tsk, or call me a cat fancier, he thought.

They didn’t leave either.

The static remained.

“How is this static here?” Pete asked the CZs. “And why is there no signal?”

The throng moaned and milled, uninspired by Pete’s question.

“Where is the signal?” he repeated. He faced them and used his hands to gesture to the sky.

A few of the CZs stopped moaning and looked at him. Understanding showed in their eyes for the first time in days.

The CZs reminded Pete of the congregation at the church he attended with his mother when he was a kid; he couldn’t even remember what flavor of Christianity it was, except it was evangelical in nature. And the congregants looked like the CZs, until they had been “saved.”

“Yes, the Signal,” Pete repeated. “Where is the Signal? Have we sinned, that we have lost the Signal? I, Lord Sona, tell you that we have. That we have taken the Signal for granted, and that we now pay the price of that simple-minded acceptance. We have even lost Power.”

And at that very moment, the store owner, who had been running a generator for ten minutes every day to enable a few space heaters to keep the store from smelling moldy — and who had forgotten that the flat screen at the window of his store was plugged into the same circuit — turned off the jenny.

The results were electric. The few CZs who had listened suddenly woke up, as though revived from a long painful encounter with the Blue Screen of Death, and one of them even said, “What were you saying?”

Lord Sona looked at the awakened CZ and had an epiphany. An evil epiphany.

#

The FridgularityGo get The Fridgularity for $2.99 in ebook formats:

Kindle Edition

Smashwords for Kobo and Nook (Use Coupon Code: YU86X).

Dead trees your thing? You can get the paperback here for $12.99. (Use the coupon code: YGMVFZZY.)

Alltop is also ready to be downloaded on the Internet. Image by Jake Murray, on DeviantArt.