19 December 2007

BSB Flashback: The Merchant of Noises

22 June 2007

Author: Anna Rozen
Illustrator: Francois Avril

A young entrepreneur (who looks like the illegitimate son of the Monopoly guy and Mr. Peanut), opens up a business selling noises... but you could have figured that much out without even opening the book. The story gets much more complicated once you actually dive in. The merchant's ingenious idea takes the world by storm and soon the small shop becomes a booming multinational business.

Once people realize how lucrative the sound industry is, everyone is quick to jump on the bandwagon. Eventually all noises are for sale and no sounds are free any more. If you walk down the street past a construction site, you have to drop $3.95 for the pleasure of listening to the robust staccato of the jackhammer. The sound of someone yapping on their cellphone? 99 cents. The Sound of Music? Priceless.

To avoid unexpected roaming fees, people start walking around with earplugs... which works until an insidious little company out of Hoboken patents the Sound of Silence. That will now cost you 10 cents a minute.

Meanwhile, the merchant grows more and more powerful by the second. As wealthy as he is, ultimately he cannot resist the siren song of the most lucrative industry of all. He eventually signs a contract with the Pentagon and joins the military-industrial complex.

The U.S. government commissions the merchant to develop a frightening new weapon. This new technology utilizes the current medical technique for getting rid of kidney stones--using intense pulses of sonic waves to pulverize the painful little suckers (a procedure called Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy, which already sounds like a videogame weapon). Taking this to scale, the merchant develops an ultra-powerful sonic ray that (using a GPS satellite system) can obliterate your internal organs from space.

This starts an international arms race and soon the entire world is thrust into a new Cold War. (Canada finally becomes a major international player due to their possession of the ultimate in sonic terror: Celine Dion.) Inevitably, terrorists invade and take over the Pentagon, threatening to level New York City unless their demands are met. What they didn't count on is that one of the old bald security guards is loose in the building. And he is none other than: John McClane.

Thus begins the final installment of the Bruce Willis action series: DIE HARD DYNASTY.


Vivian Mahoney said...

Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy? Man, you should be a MD.

Happy New Year's to you and your bride!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have an MD from Wikipedia State University Med School...

Happy New Year's to you too!

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