My Exegesis of the Holiday Frenzy
So there’s this rich guy. He wears a suit, barks out orders to many underlings, and takes home the equivalent of a small country’s gross national product in pay and stock options—which he will dump at the merest whisper of trouble and allow his underlings to absorb the crash—but that’s another story. He wants to buy his kid the newest gaming box, the VacuZoid 5000, for Christmas this year. This rich guy, let’s call him Bob, is used to paying other people to do his dirty work, like taking his car to the vet, his dog to the shop, and other mundane tasks that rich people cannot be bothered with.
Bob notices the hype revving up in the retail sector about the VacuZoid 5000 and realizes that he’ll need to assign this task to an underling and right quick. His son Trevor has been clipping articles and leaving them in strategic locations around the house. Tending to the emotional needs of his son is definitely beyond Bob’s specific skill set, but Bob can buy him stuff. Lots of stuff. Besides, who would go out and earn the greenbacks if Bob had to stay home and spend time with the boy? Certainly not his wife Trixie, who cannot be sprung from the local day spa without suffering massive withdrawal symptoms requiring more collagen injections. Trixie’s parenting handbook is short a few chapters as well, so Trevor spends much of his time alone in a bedroom suite, the size of a single-family home, playing with toys designed to suck his brain essence out through his eyeholes.
Bob barks at one of his underlings to get on the Net and order the damn thing so it will be delivered in time for Christless Day. No luck, all search engines claim all online retailers are backordered. Bob fires the incompetent bastard in IT and barks at his secretary to get the CEO of VacuZoid on the line. She tries but is blocked by a message intoning, “Please do not call us trying to obtain a VacuZoid 5000 via back channels—anyone doing so will be placed on the VacuZoid Blacklist and forbidden from purchasing any VacuZoid products in the future. Happy Holidays” So Bob fires that bitch and realizes he’s going to have to take matters into his own hands.
Bob calls Trixie, who can’t talk very well through her recently botoxed mouth but is able to stiffly mumble the number of her personal shopper, Lola. Bob calls Lola and gets her voicemail: “I’m sorry I cannot take anymore personal shopping requests for Christmas, but if this is an emergency, please call my cousin Mario at the following number ….” Bob takes down the number, since missing his golf game now constitutes a major emergency. It’s not like he can actually go and shop for the toy himself—there are clips all over the news of people standing in line and fighting and other plebeian behaviors trying to get one of these things. Bob is sure that a professional personal shopper can obtain a VacuZoid for rich clients who can’t waste their valuable time mingling with the masses.
So Bob, while fondling his three-wood and thinking of his golf game, calls Mario. Mario, at that very moment, is having his own three-wood fondled by a lovely young lady wearing hip huggers and baby pink lipstick. “Aah … yes … Mario here, you want it, I-ah-ah-I can get it.” Bob goes on to explain that he must have the new VacuZoid 5000 by five o’clock that evening, wrapped, with requisite “Love, Dad” label, ready to place under the tree. “AAAAAAH YES! cries Mario forcefully, causing Bob to believe that he has finally found someone eager to work, unlike the nincompoops in his office. Mario wipes the baby pink lipstick from his zipper and states his terms, which are quite steep given the last minute timeline and the fact that he can tell he’s speaking to a really, really rich guy. “Fine, just have it delivered to 666 Snobbley Place, and remember—by five-o’clock this evening or you can forget your terms.” Mario sets out for the local shopping district, confident that with his connections he’ll be able to bypass security and the long lines at retail outlets.
Mario arrives at the Wacky-Mart, which has a line of weary shoppers extending all the way around the building and on down the street for a half-mile. He goes around back, passes a Ben Franklin to the security guard on the loading dock and is granted access to the stockroom. But his usual guy, Skinny Timmy, is not on duty today—some older guy with a tattoo of a spider on his cheek is manning the stockroom and he tells Mario to shove off. Mario wants to know where Skinny Timmy is, but Spidey is not a man of many words and shoves Mario unceremoniously out the dock door and onto the pavement. Mario, unaccustomed to such treatment on the street is already on his cell phone trying to call in favors and have Spidey whacked, when he looks up and sees the VacuZoid logo on a truck just backing up to the dock. The truck doors open and four burly guys in black fatigues with VZ shoulder patches and semi-auto pistols strapped to their thighs jump out and surround the loading dock.
Shit, they’re not screwing around this year, thinks Mario, remembering his salad days when he was able to obtain client merchandise the easy way—with bribery and veiled threats. But Mario gets paid the big bucks for his ability to deliver and he has a plan. While Spidey is occupied in testosterone eyeball wars with the VacuZoid drones, Mario sneaks back into the stockroom, snags a Wacky-Mart employee apron and hat, and heads for the poor suckers standing in line around the corner. “New shipment of VacuZoid 5000s on the loading dock! One per customer, please!” Mario yells as he flattens himself against the wall to avoid being crushed by the stampede of holiday shoppers. Unfortunately, his diversion plan works a little too well and the ensuing tangle of inhumanity that follows can only be described as, “All units with riot gear respond to the Wacky-Mart—Repeat—All units—Riot behind the Wacky-Mart!”
As Mario is kicking and clawing his way back towards the loading dock, he sees the goons from the VacuZoid truck trying desperately to guard the back of their truck without actually shooting any shoppers, which would be very bad publicity for VacuZoid. Overrun, they eventually give up and start pocketing the cash being thrown at them as fast as the shiny black and silver VacuZoid boxes are flying out the back of the truck.
Inside the Wacky-Mart, an entirely different scene unfolds. Suddenly the shoppers who were already inside when the melee on the loading dock started are having a much more pleasant shopping experience. The long lines have disappeared and the few palettes of VacuZoid 5000s that were unloaded before the riot are quietly awaiting purchase. Since most of the inside shoppers were not at Wacky-Mart for the VacuZoid to begin with, the stocked shelves are depleted in an orderly fashion by holiday shoppers unconcerned with the cult-like fame of the gaming box and who just want to surprise their kids with something special.
Meanwhile, out on the loading dock, the police have arrived and started rounding up rioters into a central holding area, cordoned off and surrounded by paddy wagons. As the cops are flex-cuffing shoppers with giant zip-ties and throwing them into the holding area, Mario decides it is time to hit the ground running, but not without his merchandise. Pushing through the flying limbs, torn clothing, and unbelievable body odor, he spies a solitary black and silver box that has fallen behind one of the truck tires. Just as he’s about to pick it up, Spidey from the stockroom jumps on him and they roll around punching and biting each other until four burly cops pick them up and throw them into the holding area.
Mario, bleeding and madder than a herpes on a hemorrhoid, calls Bob and tells him he had better get down to the Wacky-Mart and get him out of here, or a VacuZoid 5000 will not be the only thing delivered to 666 Snobbley place that evening. Pissed at having his golf game interrupted but more worried about finding farm animal parts in his bed, Bob fires up the Porsche and heads to the shopping district. When he arrives the fight is winding down but Bob, quite possibly due to his snaky aura, is mistaken for a rioter. Amid protests of “Do you have any idea who I am?” he’s cuffed and thrown into the holding area along with Mario, Spidey, the VacuZoid goons, and a stew of glazed-eyed shoppers.
As names are taken and stunned friends and relatives come to claim their temporarily insane shoppers, the quiet folks inside the Wacky-Mart are starting to make their way back to their cars, many of which are parked out back. Two friends, a woman who until this morning had been employed as a secretary and a man who had just lost a well-paid technology job at the same company, walk past the holding area and are quite surprised to see their former boss cuffed and disheveled and in the company of less-than-savory characters. Bob stares silently at them as they carry their shopping bags, black and silver boxes inside, to their cars and drive home to be with their families on Christmas Eve.