Friday, May 13, 2011

Deathmatch for World Coupon Dominance

In the near but seemingly distant future, a large crowd packs into a dirty room barely illuminated by a handful of light bulbs swinging from electrical cords, highlighting the cobwebs between them and casting disturbing dark shadows onto the patrons’ faces. The floor is covered in sweat, blood, and little pieces of paper. It’s hot, and the dank and musty smell is almost overpowering. The angry, bloodthirsty crowd breaks out into pockets of violence, people shoving each other before their adrenalin-fueled bodies are restrained.

In the center of the room is a square ring surrounded by elastic ropes, elevated a few feet off of the floor. The dark brown smears on the canvas suggest that this room’s seen some serious action, none of it nice. A thick blue haze of smoke gathers near the ceiling; there’s no air flow at all.

Suddenly, a strong roar spreads across the crowd as everyone turns toward the large door on one side of the room and a yellowish spotlight swings around to find its target. Living Social has just made his grand entrance. He marches his way to the ropes, screaming, spitting in the air, and hurls himself into the ring, stomping the canvas and driving the crowd into a riot-worthy frenzy. An intimidated little man hands over a microphone.

“You came here tonight to witness a bloodbath,” he begins, “and you know I always deliver!” Despite a small chorus of booing, the greater majority of the crowd continues their panicked howls. Harried shouts nearly drown out the P.A. as the machismo continues.

“I was the first, the original,” he belts out, “and everyone else thinks they can take me down? Well, we’ll see who survives tonight!”

Suddenly, the door bursts open again with a blinding white light exploding from behind it. The crowd goes silent for a brief moment as everyone stares with squinting eyes into the heavenly glow. Out steps a tiny musclebound competitor who stands firm as the door slams behind him, holding a pose, pointing at the ring. He mouths the word “YOU!” and then grits his teeth. TravelZoo has arrived.

Living Social drops the microphone and steps back to the corner with a smug look as TravelZoo slides in-between the ropes and snags the mic. “You call yourself an original?” he taunts. “I was here ten years before you!”

The roaring, jeering crowd nearly overwhelms TravelZoo, who jumps up on a corner post and flies two middle fingers in the face of his enemies. “You can all take your business back to your local newspapers for all I care!”

The giant door again bursts open and the blinding glow of light reveals a silhouette rolling slowly into the room. The confused crowd screams and groans at the bizarre two-wheeled figure. It’s Groupon, riding a fixed gear bike, and he’s got his cat on a gold chain leash. Beer cans and projectile vomit fly in his direction as he pops a wheelie and jumps off the bike, throwing down his satchel bag. He licks his hand and slicks back his hair, then slips into the ring, snapping up the microphone.

“Fighting to the death is an American past-time, like macaroni and cheese helmets or baseball sundaes,” he says, “Enjoy today’s Groupon with a swift fist to the gut!” He bares his teeth, then checks his hair in the reflection of his iPhone.

By this point the audience members are sick of all the showboating and ready for murder. They’re practically ripping off each other's arms with extreme malice waiting for something to happen. The three competitors meet in the middle as the ref steps in and explains the rules. Before he can finish, Living Social thrusts his arm out and grabs Groupon by the throat. The crowd explodes into a cheering rage.

Groupon grasps Living Social’s beefy wrist with both hands and struggles to get free, but it’s no use. Living Social picks Groupon up over his head and slams him down on the mat, his thick frame glasses landing a few feet to his side. He scrambles over onto his stomach to try to grab them, but Living Social grabs his legs and pulls him back, lifting him into a piledriver and slamming his greasy hair onto the canvas.

TravelZoo pops up onto the ropes and does a backflip onto Living Social’s back, pounding him with all his force; Living Social swats him away like a fly, and his tiny frame is hurled into the corner. Dazed, he sits still and watches with blurry vision as Groupon is again lifted into the air like a ragdoll and spun around by one leg, then launched over the ropes and onto a table which collapses under his weight.

Groupon stands up and brushes himself off, then pulls his iPhone out of his pocket. “You asshole, you cracked my screen!” he shrieks. “I had to get 49 friends to buy those at the same time as me to get such a good price on it!” He then proceeds to rip the chain off his bike and snap it like a whip.

Sweat begins to bead up on Living Social’s forehead. He’d had no idea this competitor would be so resilient. As Groupon slips back into the ring, the two pace around each other in circles, staring each other down. It’s a face off, and neither has the heart to concede.

Suddenly TravelZoo is biting at Living Social’s ankle and is quickly flipped into the air, but it’s too late. Groupon’s got his chain wrapped around his victim’s neck, jumping onto his back and pulling as tightly as possible. Living Social jumps around like a pissed-off bull. It’s no use. His face turns purple and his movement slows. The ref wants to interfere but the rules have gone out of the window. Suddenly, a quick burst of energy sends Groupon flying across the ring, smashing his face into a corner post. He watches his own teeth hit the floor.

“Don’t give up!” the Groupon cat says from the other side of the ring, gold chain jingling. “He’s not as clever as you!”

“You thought you could face ME?” Living Social booms from the center of the ring, standing tall, muscles bulging. “I’ve got greater staying power. People don’t think I’m a fad. You’re nothing but a phony, some hipster idiot who’ll be out of fashion any day now.” His bellowing cackle fills the room as he leans his head back.

Groupon sees his chance. “Go for the groin!” yells the Groupon cat. He kicks off his boat shoe which makes a direct hit at the muscle-bound powerhouse’s privates, sending him doubling over in pain. Hopping to his feet, Groupon flips forward and lands a crushing karate chop into the back of Living Social’s neck. He falls face-first into the canvas, clutching his crotch. Groupon jumps on his back and stabs his fingers into the behemoth’s eyes and mouth and pulls backwards, releasing a chilling squeal from the face-down grappler.

TravelZoo makes one last attempt to take advantage of the pair’s vulnerability, and slaps Groupon in the back of the head, who ignores the hit. Then another hit, and a kick in the back. Nothing’s going to take him down.

As blood starts to pour from Living Social’s eyes, Groupon throws his hand back behind him and picks up TravelZoo by the shirt, launching him over the ropes and into the audience, downing him for good. Groupon leans his head back and screams in a psychotic rage.

“Have $20 worth of pain for $10!” he wails.

Suddenly, a giant multicolored foot smashes through the ceiling and crushes the entire ring, throwing the closest audience members backward from the force of displaced air. As the foot lifts, a disgusting goo stretches up from the ruined death ring.

Then a blue foot stomps through the ceiling, facing the other direction, crushing half of the audience. Up above, Google Offers and Facebook Deals battle it out like two enormous goliaths, destroying the Earth in the process. With their fists clenching each other's throats, they stumble back and forth for a bit, the city crumbling beneath their feet.

The horrific scene drags on for years as they continuously land hooks and the occasional hit below the belt. Their fight takes them across the globe several times before the two, exhausted and unable to continue, sit down and call a truce. Breathing heavily, laying in the smoldering ruins of civilization, they stare into each other's eyes with a wicked glare. They both know there’s no such thing as a truce.

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