Multifunction Doomsday Device

Confident man with ponytail enters Shark Tank set, shoulders thrown back, teeth blinding white. His camo leotard shows reveals the cut physique of a Pilates instructor. He wears a holster on his hip containing a Desert Eagle 50AE.

In his hand he holds a Dayglo orange neoprene wristband with a small display. On a nearby table a dozen or so similar wristbands, in a variety of colors, are arranged in a crescent, below a sign that reads:

Threat Pet: When Society Crumbles — Will You Be Ready?

Dude: Good evening, Sharks. I’m here tonight to request $850,000 in exchange for a 8% stake in my company Bitter Harvest Fitness to provide us the capital we need for wider distribution of Threat Pet.

Kevin: Looks like a fitness tracker. Yawn. And what is your name, by the way?

Dude: That I will not disclose publicly. And it is a fitness tracker. With a purpose.

Lori: Love it. Tell us more.

Dude: What is the most difficult part of keeping up an exercise regimen? Answer: staying motivated. Too many excuses not to hit the gym.

Daymond: Right. OK. So how does this help?

Dude: Threat Pet does everything a standard fitness tracker does — it counts steps and reps, monitors your heart rate and respiration, and stores all your data so you can see your progress over time —

Daymond: Yeah. As you would expect from this kind of product.

Dude: DO NOT INTERRUPT THE PRESENTATION. Where was I? Oh. Right. But Threat Pet offers users so much more — given the deteriorating situation across the globe, the increase in extreme weather events, and the increased likelihood of terrorist attacks on crucial infrastructure — it is becoming more important than ever before to develop combat-level situational awareness on an ongoing basis. Earlier this year, when the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists edged the Doomsday Clock up to 2.5 minutes to midnight, I said to myself “What if I could have a Doomsday Clock that I could wear?” A Doomsday Watch, if you will. Then I thought “What if it could monitor other dangers, as well, not just nuclear escalation?” And finally, I thought: “What will be my most precious asset when the nightmare scenario unfolds? Will it be my bank balance? No. Will it be my job title? No. Will it be my family? No. It will be my personal level of fitness.”

Will I be equal to the tests that await us all — the hordes of starving and disease-ridden, the destruction of the power grid, the nomadic life that will demand more or less constant physical activity. In addition to the metrics a traditional fitness tracker collects, Threat Pet also measures stamina, extended wakefulness, and reaction time, and has a homing beacon. Threat Pet Platinum is equipped with motion and thermal sensors to detect any human threats nearby.

It’s self-contained and runs on a proprietary solar-kinetic battery, so when the internet is a thing of the past, you won’t have to worry about retrieving data from the so-called cloud; when the power grid is fried, you won’t ever have to charge it. To keep it juiced up, all you gotta do is keep moving.

Threat Pet is the first and only product of its kind — it is the premier provider of survival fitness data in the dangerous world of today, and the deadly world of tomorrow.

Questions?

Robert: I’m sure the technology is very impressive, and there will by a market any day now. What will they retail for?

Dude: Surge pricing. Right now, today, I’m selling the standard Threat Pet for $395, and the Platinum goes for $595. The more volatile the situation becomes, the higher the price will climb. When a threshold of chaos is crossed, then I will only accept gold as payment. If the situation continues to deteriorate, then I will accept women. Or canned food. Or antibiotics.

A bidding war ensues. Dude walks with a deal from Kevin, who after a fierce round of negotiations, ponies up $6.2 million for a 1% stake in the company, and a guarantee of his personal safety during the looming days of unrest and deprivation. After whispered exchange, Kevin watches, eyes feverish, as Dude executes Daymond, Lori, and Robert.

Dude strides out, trailing gun smoke. Kevin scurries after.

END.

You can find longer essays, satire, fiction, and info on the workshops I teach in Chicago on my site: ianbelknap.com

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