THE SALE OF THE CENTURY
Of all the made up, commerce-driven “holidays”, Black Friday may be the most polarizing: Chances are you either love it, or love to hate it.
Casey was squarely in the former category. He was the General MacArthur of consumerism, waging war on his disposable income. He relished planning out his attack weeks in advance, scouring sales fliers and online ads and clipping coupons. He fed off the energy of the masses as he went with them, pouring into one store, then another, then another, bombarding each one and their glassy-eyed employees in succession as they opened their doors for business, one after another on that fateful, profit-driven morning.
So when an unmarked envelope arrived in Casey’s mail a week before the big day, and inside was a plain white sheet of paper that simply read:
SALE OF THE CENTURY
NOV. 23RD, 6AM
THE DANK ALLEY BETWEEN THE TARGET AND THE MICHAEL’S IN THE STRIP MALL OFF BALDWIN BLVD
Casey wasn’t creeped out, as most rational people would have been.
On the contrary, he was stoked to find out about a sale that he had not seen advertised anywhere else.
Casey arrived in the alley at 5:58. No one was there, but he could hear muffled voices in the distance; Target was already open for business.
At 6AM sharp, his wandering thoughts were interrupted by a gravelly voice at his back.
Casey spun around to see a large, grizzled man in a trench coat hovering over him, and at that moment, it occurred to Casey for the very first time that he might be mugged or murdered.
He took a step back.
“Who are you? How did…?”
“Easy now, Casey. Easy. I’m not here to harm you. I see you got our ad.”
“Good. Glad it worked. So…you’re a bit of a shopper, no?”
“Uh, yeah…yeah, I guess.”
“Good, ’cause we have something for you.” The man reached into his trench coat.
Casey flinched. He’d seen too many movies where guys who looked like that guy used that exact motion to reach for a gun, a switchblade, a hatchet–movies where guys in trench coats didn’t pull flowers out of them.
The man put out his other hand in a “calm down” motion.
“Casey, relax. I just want to show you our inventory.” He pulled out a small black leatherbound book and handed it to Casey.
“This is everything we have in stock. Take a look.”
Casey took the book and opened it. He started flipping through the pages.
A photo album, full of five-by-seven glossy celebrity headshots.
The man spoke again. “While you’re having a little look-see, allow me to explain. The individuals in that book have all, at one time or another, sold their souls to get where they are today.”
Casey continued flipping through the book. Kelly Ripa. Nick Lachey. Donald Trump. Jerry Jones. The entire Kardashian family.
The man continued. “I work for the guy who works for people who know some people who were involved with the guy who carried out the original transactions. The whole corporate structure is quite complicated and frankly, it’s a little above my pay grade. But what it boils down to is this: My employers are looking to liquidate some of their existing stock, so I’m prepared to offer you one soul, any soul you choose from our stock, at a significant discount.”
Casey looked up at the man, nodded, and kept flipping through the book. He furrowed his brow, pointed at one of the pictures, and looked back up at the man.
“Really? Tim Tebow? But I thought–“
“Yep, that’s what everyone thinks. But yes, Tim Tebow. You don’t even know.”
Casey once again went back to flipping through the pages. The Situation. Tyra Banks. David Hasselhoff. Ashton Kutcher. Jessica Simpson. Oprah…
Christmas morning, Casey had only one gift to give Julie, but it was a doozy.
She tore off the paper.
“It’s so light…what’s in here?” She shook the box, then opened it.
“HA HA, Case, very funny. Just what I always wanted: A picture of Ryan Seacrest.”
Casey then explained to her, as best he could without sounding insane, that what he’d given her was not just a picture of Ryan Seacrest. It was actually Ryan Seacrest’s soul.
This was followed by several rounds of arguing and accusations leveled at Casey that he’d “ruined Christmas”, which quickly escalated to an entire day’s worth of yelling (by Julie) and pleading for understanding and open-mindedness (by Casey) after he revealed that he had purchased Ryan Seacrest’s soul from an unnamed grizzled man in the dank alley between the Target and the Michael’s in the strip mall off Baldwin Blvd. for the low, low price of five hundred dollars.
But after the dust had settled, tempers had cooled, and Julie had bit her tongue long enough for Casey to go over all of the benefits of being the owner of Ryan Seacrest’s soul with her, she was on board.
Especially once she’d made first contact with Seacrest, advised him that his soul was under new ownership, and the hush money started rolling in. Because as it turned out, Julie was a naturally gifted blackmailer. About the only thing she and Casey enjoyed more than the money were things like tuning in to the Emmys red carpet pre-show to watch Ryan Seacrest, sporting a purple sequin-bedazzled tux, declaring “I love me some sequins–This suit’s for you, Liberace!”, simply because Julie had sent him a note threatening to eat his soul for breakfast with butter and syrup if he didn’t follow her EXACT instructions.
Yes, life for Casey and Julie was good. They had to hand it to that unnamed grizzled man in the dank alley between the Target and the Michael’s in the strip mall off Baldwin Blvd.–his Black Friday special really, truly had been THE SALE OF THE CENTURY.