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Dreamed 1998/1/6 by Chris Wayan

I'm on a TV quiz show. I've only won a few hundred dollars. I feel ashamed.

I can bet all or part on my final question. I'm pretty sure I know the answer--something about evolution, dinosaur eggs? My opponent's so sure of her answer that she asks "Can I bet more than I've won, go into debt?" They say "Yes, as long as you can pay if you lose." So she wagers $25,000! I don't have her resources, which is a shame since I'm right, but I bet nearly all my paltry winnings. As it turns out, we don't compete with each other on this final question--we're playing against the house.

We both answer correctly. She wins $25,000 more, and I get a prize worth a few hundred dollars--a new stereo. It's like some lesson in capitalist injustice, and yet... I'm happy, since I wanted an extra stereo amp/tuner to come my way via garage sale, so I can play synth and play tapes in the living room. And just a day later, here's my wish, for free!

Guess it does pay to pray, even if it's small scale.

The announcer booms "Your prize is in a suitcase, in..." but the rest is garbled, lost in echoes. I snoop around backstage and finally do find a suitcase. But it's empty!

So I go to the office and apologetically say "I missed the directions to my prize." To my surprise, my opponent is there too. She says "You too? I can't find my $25,000 either!"

The two staffers are short with us, they sound frustrated--and busy fighting their computers. "They're down again! I'll never get the hang of this!" They keep bitching about how much simpler it was "back home." They swear a lot and the expressions are foreign. I listen, fascinated. Then uneasy. Then horrified. From their swearing, they're new to technology--and humanity.

Back home is Hell.

They're demons from Hell.

GAMESHOW demons from Hell.

INCOMPETENT gameshow demons from Hell.

I don't think I'm going to get my stereo.

It's not even malice. These devils are so inept they can't run a no-brainer, a guaranteed circus of greed! Any fool could damn souls with this setup. No cash cow, but what a soul-cow! They don't even HAVE to tempt us, we BEG for the chance.

What the hell's happened to Hell? Can't they even bribe us right?

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