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17 June 2014 @ 11:58 pm
LJ Idol Season Nine: "F.U.N."  
F.U.N.
lj idol season nine | week 12 | 620 words
Barrel of Monkeys

x-x-x-x-x

Hi, is this your first visit to the Department of Recreational Management? Okay, step right over here and I'll tell you how things work.

People say, "What are you guys, the Fun Police?" We don’t really like that term, but it's not too far off. We're Fun Unit Negotiation agents. What with global warming destroying ski slopes and turning playgrounds into blast furnaces, and pollution driving everyone indoors, fun is a limited commodity these days. It has to be rationed.

That's where we come in.

Calculating how many Fun Units an activity is worth is a process of negotiation. A balloon might be one fun unit for a baby or toddler, but zero for an adult. We try to be flexible. Doll shows are five fun units for a little girl, and three for adult women. No, you can't get fun-unit credits, no matter what you've heard. If your wife drags you to one of those things, it costs her three units and you zero. You don't get to add three credits to your tally just because you hated it. It doesn't work like that.

The negotiating happens when you have a team member—let's call him Elwood—who has no sense of what's actually fun and keeps trying to assign these huge values to things like Science Fairs or reading comic books. I say negotiating, but it's more like arguing. Geez, what planet is Elwood from, anyway? So yeah, we work out the values and we keep track of how many credits you have and how many you can spend. Then we authorize you to proceed with your activity, and debit your account. It's closer to administrative paperwork than policing, not that it makes much difference. Kind of joyless too, which is a little ironic.

Not everything costs, don't get me wrong. Getting drunk'll dig into your wallet, but not your fun credits. Seems like people sure are drinking a lot more these days, too… Skipping rocks is also free, though most of the water's so full of muck that there's no real challenge. Not much rock-skipping going on.

Now, say you wanted to do something big, like skydiving. Fifty units! You only accrue two units a week, so you'd really have to save up, and you probably want some left for vacation, right? We have this new system, though, where you can earn credits by creating fun. So, you could be a birthday-party clown for five parties, and you'd get ten credits for each gig. You might have to throw in some face-painting and balloon animals, maybe a little juggling, but you could probably swing that. No drunk-clown or creepy-clown stuff, though, and if you make a kid cry you lose three points right there. So, don't half-ass the job, okay?

You could also visit a retirement home and read stories to some of the residents, or take them out for a ride. It'll only get you a couple of credits, but every bit helps, right? Of course, they're usually short-staffed at those places, so you might get saddled with bedpan duty or other chores, but hey—it won't kill you.

Well, you've seen the list of activities now, and you've got four fun units on your account. What'll it be? A movie for three credits? Maybe Jaws VII, or the Shia LaBeouf version of The Manchurian Candidate, or the anime Godfather prequel? Or, how about two credits for a trip to a pizza parlor?

You what? Oh. Okay, sure thing—the liquor store is three blocks to the right on Central Avenue.

Yeah, fine, you're welcome. We're here to help. And hey, when you get to that store? Be sure to tell them Gabe sent you...


--/--



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bleodsweanbleodswean on June 18th, 2014 02:37 pm (UTC)
or the anime Godfather prequel

*SNORT*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 18th, 2014 06:34 pm (UTC)
:D Glad you noticed that!

The fun is definitely in decline when those are the kinds of movie choices you get. They're cheaper than _good_ movies, but maybe there aren't that many good movies anymore?

Actually, I think this is already happening... ;)
(no subject) - kehlen on June 20th, 2014 04:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Bridget Ilene Delaneykagomeshuko on June 18th, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
No fair! I'd always be in debt because I love spending time with my puppy dogs!!! I think that is fun! (In fact, the one that's always been "mine," is sleeping up against my chest right now. He loves to put his head up where he can hear my heartbeat.)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 18th, 2014 06:36 pm (UTC)
:D Your puppies might be free fun for you, but cost fun units for someone else.

Taking them to visit children in hospitals could actually be the kind of thing that might earn you fun units!
(no subject) - kagomeshuko on June 20th, 2014 02:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
cindytsuki_no_bara on June 19th, 2014 02:08 am (UTC)
i love what they consider "fun", and by "love" i mean "despair". and some people actually enjoy science fairs!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 19th, 2014 04:37 am (UTC)
I personally enjoy science fairs, but I don't think they'd meet the general consensus of major fun for most people. ;)

Crappy movies aren't much fun either, but then again... the Fun Units assigned to those weren't as high as a good movie might be. ;)
i_17bingoi_17bingo on June 19th, 2014 12:04 pm (UTC)
So, you could be a birthday-party clown for five parties, and you'd get ten credits for each gig.

I would think that being a clown is a shooting offense.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 19th, 2014 06:42 pm (UTC)
Shhhh! We have clowns in our midst!

Though I usually find them a little alarming. Not phobic-alarming, but still... unsettling and not to be trusted. :O
(no subject) - i_17bingo on June 20th, 2014 05:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on June 20th, 2014 05:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen": Bones: Booth Bobbleheadroina_arwen on June 19th, 2014 06:02 pm (UTC)
Your opening reminds me a bit of Men in Black. That's a good thing, just FWIW.

I thought this entry was fun - I guess that will cost me a credit, huh?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 19th, 2014 06:45 pm (UTC)
I love MiB. That whole idea was SUCH a surprise (The National Enquirer being the 'best investigative journalism on the planet,' the twins Brlrlrk and Bob, and the Egger Suit antics, not to mention everything else!)

I'm glad you enjoyed this. Since it technically was randomly-encountered fun, it might be 'free.' Just this once. :D
Teo Sayseternal_ot on June 20th, 2014 06:47 am (UTC)
Hehe...what the world is coming down to eh?...must say the distribution of credits is quite fair..I had FUN reading this entry..:D..cool take\m/

Edited at 2014-06-20 06:48 am (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 20th, 2014 06:54 am (UTC)
Thank you!

Once you starting weighing the 'fun' against the cost, drinking starts to seem much more appealing.

The doll shows are a real thing, here in the U.S. I wonder if they're popular anywhere else, because honestly-- grown women are who go to those, and I cannot begin to say why!
(no subject) - eternal_ot on June 20th, 2014 07:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
Elеnakehlen on June 20th, 2014 04:49 pm (UTC)
Hahaha. What a great idea for this week - and what a creepy world you have created as a result :D

I was a bit confused about prices in the beginning though. It was logical to assume you spend these credits having fun, but at times it seemed you collected them instead (which could make sense as well, if you would have to be... punished if you accrued too many). So maybe change "A balloon might be one fun unit for a baby or toddler,..." to "A balloon might COST one fun unit for a baby or toddler,..."

Edited at 2014-06-20 04:52 pm (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 20th, 2014 05:02 pm (UTC)
You collect them like an allowance-- two a week, as your base amount. But you can earn more by creating fun for other people. With the occasional risk (crying children!) or drawbacks (bedpans. Yikes).

Glad you enjoyed this, and it's nice to see you around!
shimmerdreamshimmerdream on June 20th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
This was so much, well, fun! (Although I happen to think that reading comic books is more fun and less dangerous than skydiving...)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 20th, 2014 11:03 pm (UTC)
There are people who really love both comic books and Science Fairs, though I don't think they're as universally popular as things like movies or sports games.

I would not skydive on a bet. I go through that horrible falling (and then crashing) feeling in dreams at least once a month. I know exactly what it's like, and it's awful!
penpusher: UFOpenpusher on June 21st, 2014 04:25 am (UTC)
It reminds me of the host on the tram ride in Judgment City from "Defending Your Life." Sort of that all-knowing, B list celebrity type infomercial presenter who is saying a lot but saying more by what they aren't telling you... Fantastically done!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2014 06:23 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it!

It would be a dismal future indeed if fun were rationed, and if it mostly consisted of things like really bad movies. But that's what dystopias are all about. :D
Jemima Paulerjem0000000 on June 21st, 2014 02:11 pm (UTC)
Ouch. I'm with Elwood, let's just go read comic books.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2014 06:24 am (UTC)
They're a hit-or-miss thing. Comic books do nothing for me, but people who like them REALLY like them. :D
lriG rorriM: Entirely evillrig_rorrim on June 21st, 2014 10:41 pm (UTC)
This was great. Also, I'm from Elwood's planet. ;)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2014 06:25 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it!

I'm from the Science Fair part of Elwood's planet, but not the comic-book part. A hands-on science museum, for instance? Worth all the fun units!
swirlsofblueswirlsofblue on June 23rd, 2014 02:08 pm (UTC)
Love this, very funny, and I love that you put so much thought and detail into this concept of a fun-monopoly dystopia.

This is such an intriguing concept, I like the bit where you put in Elwood arguing over what's fun, to point at the sheer silliness of having to assign values of fun when of course they would be different for each individual. Ah, maybe some bright spark would come up with a system/algorithm that allocates the cost in fun units depending on elevation of heart rate, regularity with which a person does the activity etc. I'm thinking too much aren't I, I'd be right there with Elwood ;).

Love the whole bit with earning credits for fun too, lol creepy clowns.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2014 05:52 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking too much aren't I, I'd be right there with Elwood ;).

I actually think this would improve the system, more along the lines of "Fun-units for doll shows, based on potential interest" rather than, "It's fun for me, so it's fun for everyone! Yay!"

It's probably scary that almost everyone has an idea of what "creepy clowns" means, regardless of whether they like clowns or not!

Thanks for reading. :D
whipchickwhipchick on June 23rd, 2014 05:49 pm (UTC)
You always have the most brilliant concepts for fiction! This is such a great idea (I mean, writer-wise, life-wise it's terrible). I love how you built this world through little clues, too.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2014 05:54 pm (UTC)
life-wise it's terrible

This would be an awful way to live, especially if your choices all became "Bad movies! This is all the fun that's left, so embrace it!" and the slow, dismal accrual of fun-units to the point where you give up on even trying most of the time and just drink yourself into oblivion. :O
☾witches on June 23rd, 2014 07:18 pm (UTC)
i always love your entries <3
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2014 09:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :D
n3m3sis43n3m3sis43 on June 23rd, 2014 09:03 pm (UTC)
I am amused. I have had a very un-amusing day, so this is impressive.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2014 09:43 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to bring a little bit of humor and fun to you, especially on a day where you really need it. :)