Friday, June 8, 2012

I Expect Little From My Children


INT. Large Auditorium – DAY

HOST, a tall man in his early fifties who wears a suit and rubber gloves, stands next to GABE, an overweight man with a thick beard and a baseball cap that reads “MARTIAN RAIDERS FOOTBALL.”  Between them is a small, red book on a stand.

HOST
Welcome Back to Antiques Roadshow 2112.  We’re talking to Gabe who has brought us this ancient sketchbook.  Tell me, Gabe, how did this book come into your possession?


GABE
Well, I was talking to my girlfriend, Sally.  Sally says I should go to an auction in her neighborhood.  And I said no way I’m going to an auction.  And she says I really gotta go.  And I say I can’t go.  And then SHE says- 

HOST
I’m going to interrupt your story before we all come down with a fatal case of stupid poisoning to ask you about the pictures in the sketchbook. 

Host opens the book with a gloved hand and turns the pages.

GABE
Pretty good, eh?  I’m thinking they’re that Michelangelo guy.  You know, that turtle ninja artist?

HOST
Yes, I’m afraid that’s nowhere near a coherent thought.  We had Radiocarbon Ritchie date the book for us. 

Cut to RADIOCARBON RITCHIE, a smiling man holding a fancy ray gun pointed at the ceiling.  Ritchie pulls the trigger quickly two times and a bright blue light shoots out.

GUN VOICE
Ceiling.  Built fifteen years ago.  Plywood and plaster.

Cut back to Host and Gabe. 

HOST
Ritchie tells us that the book was used over a course of twenty years starting in the year 2001.  Now, you’ll notice most of these pictures are pretty primitive.

"Left Panel: Invincitron, Arrowstar, and Photon.  Right Panel: Clover"

GABE
Does “primitive” mean good?

HOST
But if you look towards the back, there are a few pages where the artist seems to have let his children draw in the book.
"MAN"
"Candle with Flame"

GABE
I let my kids draw on my truck when we’re driving, and they’re in the flatbed.

HOST
The father put his children’s names and dates on their pictures.  This one here says “Adlai Kagle” and the other says “Simon Kagle.”  Do those names sound familiar to you?

GABE
Weren’t they football players?

HOST
No, Adlai served as the 53rd president of the United States of America for three consecutive terms starting in 2046.  He was also the nation’s first self-made trillionaire.  His brother Simon was one of the three scientists who invented faster-than-light travel and is also known for being a major figure in the post-classical-romantic movement that revolutionized American art in the early 30s.

GABE
So, that’s good, right?  It’s worth something?

HOST
This sketchbook is a priceless artifact!

GABE
Priceless?  So that means it ain’t worth nothing?

HOST
I believe, at auction, a find like this would be bid on by every major museum in the inner solar system.  You could probably find several bids in the 50-100 billion dollar range.  However, an auction of this magnitude would be highly contentious, due to the popularity and importance of Simon and Adlai.  Selling this book might cause interplanetary war to break out over rights of ownership. 

GABE
Okay, let’s do it!  I’ve got a new set of snow tires with my name on them! 

HOST
(pulling out a small knife)
As always, on Antiques Roadshow 2112, when I find a guest who is too stupid to live, I summarily execute them.

Stabs Gabe who collapses.  A smattering of polite applause from the audience. 

HOST
Join us next year for Antiques Roadshow 2113, when we’re visiting the quaint little town of New Chicago in the Antares system.

2 comments:

Patrick Tinkham, FCD said...

Now THAT was funny. Have you ever read "Better Dead"?

Matthew Kagle said...

No. Similar plot?