“Owww!” exclaimed John, slapping himself on the side of the neck.
“Little bastard,” he half-shouted, “Little bastard bit me.”
His wife peered over her morning paper to see what had caused such an outburst from her normally placid husband.
“What bit you dear?”
“This little shit,” he said hold up his open hand to show her.
Scattered across his palm was a miniature crash site of insect body parts.
“Well, it looks like you got it," she said as she went back to the first edition news, "Have another cup of tea, that’ll make you feel better,”
“Yes, you're right, and would you like another, Helen?” John asked.
“No thank you,” replied his wife.
John picked up the teapot and started to pour another cupful. When the cup was full, he careful placed the teapot back on its coaster and gently shook his head from side to side as if he was refusing a silent request. After a dozen or so shakes he stopped and then smiled broadly at his wife who was oblivious to the whole event, still intently reading her paper.
"Is this Rowland’s Finest Tea, Helen? I hear they are the only tea makers to use the very finest crops.”
“I really don’t know dear, it was just an own brand I think,”
“Oh right,” John said, a momentary look of confusion on his face, before, “You know, you may think you’re saving 25% of your grocery budget with own brands, but your actually sacrificing 25% of the taste.”
Helen put the paper down on the breakfast counter and stared quizzically at her husband.
“What was that?”
John, without responding scooped up the discarded paper and casting a cursory eye over it audibly tutted under his breath.
“The Herald, Helen?” he said with a look of utter contempt splashed across his face, “You know the news is always happier in The Zeus Times.
“John, I don’t want to have happy news, I want accurate news reporting, which is why I buy The Herald. Besides, when have you ever in your entire life wanted to read the Zeus Times? It’s hardly a newspaper at all.”
John sat for a moment crest fallen. He again shook his head; more violently this time, continuing as he got up from his stool. He walked over to the French windows and in a much-repeated gesture waved his hand at the large double doors, which responded immediately, opening before him.
Stepping out into their beautifully maintained city garden, John took a deep breath of air and turned back to his wife who was now on her feet, worriedly watching John.
“Honey, you know we could really use some Lawn Restore™, it’s the only grass healthcare system guaranteed to revive, restore and nourish lawns of between 100 to 1000 square metres.”
“There’s nothing wrong with the lawn dear, why don’t you come back inside and take a seat? I think you might be poorly.”
Helen followed John out into the garden, putting her arm around her beloved husband she careful directed him back inside and into the lounge, where she insisted he sit. As soon as she was sure he was comfortable, she called Marcus their GP and family friend who reassured her that he would be with them within the hour.
For Helen it was a most difficult hour.
“Honey, this sofa is looking a bit lived in, did you know down at SofaHut™ there are hundreds of ‘buy now pay nothing until June 2022’ deals? Can we really afford to give that a miss?”
“Yes dear, yes we can.”
“Helen my darling, I think it’s time we thought about the new Photon™ 190 inch Tri-D home entertainment systems; it never feels too real.”
“No dear, we never watch Tri-D.”
“I’ve noticed that dust settles almost immediately after we clean, if we used Jenk & Daughters™ Dust Guard, the only cleaning system endorsed by the brave boys and girls of the Mars Exploratory Team we could say goodbye to those cleaning woes for good.”
“We already use it John, and it doesn’t really work that well.”
As good as his word Marcus arrived forty-five minutes after the call. Within moments, John was telling him about the new range of casual wear for men at BeeBee’s the largest department store in the city.
From an initial examination Marcus concluded that John’s condition was the result of the insect bite which he had received earlier in the day. He helped Helen move John to the bedroom and sedated him.
Even as John drifted into unconsciousness, he was keen to inform the pair of a new cure against depression and anxiety, but before he could tell them anymore he had slipped away into a deep sleep filled with product placements and advertorials.
“But what kind of insect bite could cause this?” Helen asked of Marcus as she poured him a cup of coffee.
“It’s one of the new generation of Ad-bugs,” Marcus explained, “Except this one is far less passive than the ones we’re used to.”
“So the bite has infected John with advertising?”
“It’s called virus marketing, Helen, or viral marketing. A company-programmed bug goes around giving consumers a nip, injecting them with a small amount of adverts. They normally only act as a guide, to push someone toward a particular brand or product.”
“And that’s legal?”
“Yes, of course,” replied Marcus flatly, “I think the dose John received from the Ad-bug was either far to high, or he’s had an allergic reaction to it.”
“Do you have anything to get this viral marketing out of his system?”
“Well,” considered Marcus, “I can…” and then he stopped suddenly. “That’s funny,” he said shaking his head, “I could have sworn… something…”
“Are you alright Marcus?” asked Helen, half getting to her feet.
Marcus waved her back down. He then lifted his coffee cup to his nose, breathed deeply the aroma, and took a mouthful, swallowing it down in one single satisfied gulp.
“Yes Helen, I’m fine,” he said replacing the cup to its saucer, “Now what was I saying?”
“You were going to tell me what you could do about this viral marketing.”
Marcus sighed and scratched at the top of his arm where a small red welt was now forming.
“There is one thing you can do Helen,” he said.
“And what’s that Marcus?”
“You could invest in your families health with the latest version of DataWeb from C. Moore Inc™. It guarantees a reduction in household omni-presentations by up 95%.”
“What?” said Helen, confused.
“Buy it today and get 20% off your next DataWeb, or DataWeb associated purchases.”
Helen began to cry in frustration.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Posted by Herge Smith at 11:35 pm