Friday, 10 February 2017

We can detain them for you, wholesale.

Recent adventures in America remind me of Neil Gaiman's excellent "We can get them for you, wholesale."

I'm going to give a big spoiler here. Go away and read the whole thing, then come back. Or read the spoiler and then go away and read the whole thing anyway. Or watch this film version.


Spoiler ahead.

Here it comes...

Ok, you've been warned.

The protagonist in that story is in search of a contract killer. He finds one under Pest Control in the Yellow Pages. And he finds that they're more than happy to do the job, in bulk, at a discount. The bigger the numbers the lower the total price. A bargain is a bargain. And then he starts wondering about even bigger bulk deals:
"How much would it cost to kill everybody? Everybody in the world?"

"Everybody? All the people?

"Yes. How much? I mean, for an order like that, you'd have to have some kind of a big discount. How much would it be? For everyone?"

"Nothing at all, Mr Pinter."

"You mean you wouldn't do it?"

"I mean we'd do it for nothing Mr Pinter. We only have to be asked you see. We always have to be asked."

Peter was puzzled. "But - when would you start?"

"Start? Right away. Now. We've been ready for a long time. But we had to be asked, Mr Pinter. Good night. It has been a pleasure doing business with you."
I feel kind the same way about how US customs agents have been treating people under the cover of the President's executive order. They've always wanted to do that. They've been ready for a long time. They only had to be asked.
I've been saying it for rather a while here, but emigration to New Zealand can be an option.

And thanks to Lyndon Hood for reminding me that the story was Gaiman's.

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