After the Show
A conversation I had on Sunday was about future sports in fiction. I’ve quickly invented a rather obvious one and written about it here. I may develop the concept further into a proper short story. This idea amuses me.
The nightly highlight show had just ended and Gaz was sat at a table watching the end credits on the pub’s TV. His best friend Mark came back into the Pub reeking of smoke. “How far did they get while I was out?”
“Not much further. Three guys managed to break out of the Death Mine though.”
“Did any of them reach the ice?” asked Mark.
“All three, just. The one guy left from Kent got kicked to death by the other two. They were wearing crampons. It was a bit sick.”
“Well you can’t fake violence like that, can you? It just happens. I’m going to the bar, do want anything?”
“Same as before,” Gaz said, draining the final dregs of beer from his glass.
Gaz had been a fan of King of the Hill since it had started five years ago. The premise was simple: the Stallion Energy Drink Group owned a four thousand meter high mountain and they held a weekly contest for teams or individuals to climb the mountain in the shortest time. To stop people from winning the mountain was defended with traps and armed mercenaries. The prize for winning was a lifetime of fame and luxury, although few made it to the summit to claim the prize.
Most people, including Gaz, assumed that the program was a fake at first. But when people had started to die in ways to gruesome and inventive to have been made up the questions stopped, some moralizing took place, and people paid more attention. It was common to place bets on the many ghoulish ways that contestants could leave the show.
Mark put two pints down on the table in front of Gaz. “Did I tell you that I’d gotten an entry pack for King of the Hill today? I’m thinking of doing it solo, or starting a pub team.”
Gaz looked at Mark’s beer gut. “Aren’t you a bit fat and old to have a chance?”
“Doesn’t matter. I read the insurance policy that all contestants get for taking part. If you get injured you don’t live like a king, but you can live like, let’s say, a prince. All you have to do is stay alive,” Mark said, explaining his desperate idea.
“And not get too badly injured by an ice axe to the face, or blown off the mountain, or caught in an avalanche, or shot in the trenches…”
“Exactly. Even if you do die then it says your family gets a large lump sum payout. Are you interested?”
“I’ll think about it,” Gaz said.