Going Once …
Written by castor :: [Wednesday, 10 July 2013 16:00] Last updated by :: [Monday, 15 July 2013 06:15]
Going Once …
(edited by Dru1076. Based on an idea by Esteban)
You may ask yourself occasionally in ones life … how did I get here? This was one of those moments. The Answer: I volunteered.
My name was Richard Sparks. I am student at the University of Hartford, studying … well, that’s to be decided. At some point I volunteered for the student-run conference center (which was pretty big … it has a surpassing amount of space for a building that 90% of college students never go to). Why volunteer? I think at some point the thought of running for student council, or something dumb like that.
That was the how. Okay … what I was doing.
I was in a small dressing-room. With Ultragirl.
My job: Bring her water.
I was also authorized to bring her small snacks if she wished.
Ultragirl was the most powerful, the most beautiful, the most desirable girl (well, lets be honest: person) on the planet. A 5'10” knockout with blond hair and green eyes, she looked amazing in her yellow and blue costume, an outfit that hugged every curve of her beautiful frame.
She was stronger then a thousand aircraft carriers, more powerful then god (well that was the working theory in scientific circles). She could do pretty much anything, and she did it all for humanity. She was our champion and hero, our saviour from the tribulations that we faced: criminals, terrorists, hurricanes … ourselves …
And I was in a 10 x 10 foot room with her.
"Do you want some water, or soda?"
"Sure," said ultra girl. "Um … water. Bottled water if, um … if you have it. Or tap. Tap-water is good if you have that."
Didn't I tell you she was amazing?
"I could do either."
"Bottled then," she nodded. "I hope that’s okay."
"It’s fine. We’re just very glad your here.”
This was perhaps an understatement.
We where having a fund-raising for a new student center. Really, the initial plan was to see if we could get a couple of big donors to offer something like a big-screen TV, or a copy of a script, or maybe even some old used cars. Nice and tax deductible. It wouldn't cover the costs of course, but what it would defray something of a loan.
When Ultragirl offered to be part of the auction. And do anything anyone wanted. For an hour. As long as it was legal. Highest bidder.
Fly you some place? Sure.
Lift heavy objects for you? Why not?
Clean your dishes? She would do it (and since she had super speed you would probably have to do something else as well).
Cure world hunger.
It was pretty sweet when it came to it. And when the news hit the media … and boy it hit the media, there were reports that a lot of interest was focused on that lot. Several people had mentioned low to middle millions. For an hour mind you.
And I had like a minute right now for free. Though I had stuff to do.
I came back with the water. She was fixing her make-up out of a make-up kit you could buy at Sears. It looked small and dinky and somehow unbecoming.
"Is this as awkward for you as it is for me?" she asked as she took the water.
"Kinda," I admitted.
She smiled at me slightly.
"Sometimes … sometimes I am surrounded by hundreds of people. Police, firemen, and they all tell me how brave I am and how great I am. Or media … the press. God … the press! I am suuureeeeee they are all here. And they send me out to fight the dragon. And I am alone. Think about that. I mean even football players are never alone when they take the field. But I am. And in, like … how long do we got?"
"I think about 30 minutes," I told her.
"I am going to be out there. Fighting a dragon. I wish I never did this. This was a really, really, dumb idea … and I should kick myself for this. And for what? A student centre! No offence …"
"But I could have done it for a hospital, or a UN relief charity. Not a stupid place where they have video games."
She closed her eyes.
"It’s a good cause. You'll make people happy," I told her. "It’s what you get …"
"What’s your name?" she asked.
"Richard … Thank you, I guess," she said, shaking her head.
I thought about something and said what may have been the most intelligent line I ever spoke in my life. "When you go off and fight criminals or terrorists or volcanoes, no one really wants you there. They’re glad for you being there, but what they don't want is volcanoes in their neighbourhood. Property taxes! But people want you here. People are going to be clapping just to see you. And that room is packed. And even if they loose the bid … well, they have got that. And then you get to have an adventure with a lucky guy."
"Or girl!" she chimed in.
"Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s going to be a guy," I said. "And for an hour you’ll have an adventure."
"I hope it’s you," she said. "That sounds like a lot of fun. We could go climb mountains, or ride wildebeests, or tickle pirates, or …"
"I suspect its going to go for more than the 590 dollars I have in my bank account," I said. "I suspect. I don't know for sure, but I strongly suspect."
She looked deflated a bit.
"But I would keep those ideas and suggest them. You have got like 30 minutes come up with some more!" I said.
“Let’s do it together."
And so for the next 25 or so minutes we did just that. She shouted out adventure ideas.
"This time of year?"
"We can raft the Amazon in a dingy," she offered.
"Sounds wet. I can go for wet."
"Dance at on top of the Taj Mahal”, she said.
"Ooh! I have never been. You know it’s actually a mausoleum? Maybe it has ghost pirates!"
"Oooooh!" She giggled.
We had quite a blast, actually.
Then someone came to get her, which I suppose should have been my job. Her auction was next. In addition to her, the amount of interest in the auction had caused a lot of people to donate stuff. Hell, I think if we let people just take a photo with her … that would have opened the floodgates. As it was we got several luxury cars, two round trip trips around the world, a summer home in Vermont, and lunches with leaders of three fortune 500 companies and the 10th richest man in the world. I hope his ego wouldn't be hurt when Ultragirl’s hour went for more.
Because she came on stage and smiled, and I knew that’s what would happen.
As an emcee we had managed to get Ranin Wilson, who was an actor on the show The Office. Why him? I don't know, I am not sure of the logic there, but hell, I am just a kid.
"So for lot number 20, I feel safe to say the premier lot tonight … we should have done this last, as I suspect there’s going to a mass-exit after this is done … but here we go. An entire ONE HOUR to do what you choose with Ultra Girl. The only provision is that it has to be legal. And for god sakes I hope it’s moral."
He pulled something out of his pocket.
"I have a small script I wrote which I think would be perfect for her … but as emcee i can't bid!”
There was a small chuckle.
"But what about you guys?" said Wilson. "Do we hear 1000 dollars?"
Start it off small. But I didn't even get a chance in there.
A hand was raised fast as lightening.
"1000 dollars sir. It’s an honour just to be the first one. 2000, 3000"
A hand raised up. A sheik-type in a turban raised his hand.
"I bid 6 million us dollars."
Interesting tactic. Flush out the low-balls.
"6 million. Note that I am not batting an eyelash." said Wilson "Do we have more?"
"7" raised the hand of a business executive.
"8" went another.
"15 million," went the Sheik.
"15! do we … 16, and 16 we got … 17 … lets go to 20. .any for 20? And whoops … didn't see you up the back."
And so the bidding continued. In fits and starts, ever upward. Eventually three bidders sized up. The Sheik went out around 40 million, but an owner of a Internet company (who I was surprised to see was kind of fat), the president of a major movie studio, and a Russian oil tycoon, all kept putting money in. The bidding was in and around 90 million.
This would be a really nice rec center I think. We could get some really choice pinball tables.
"96," said the oil billionaire.
"100 even," said the movie tycoon. "I got to say it."
"That you did sir" said Ranin, "But I think …”
"101," said the internet guy.
And the movie tycoon lowered his wand. He was out.
"105" said the oil billionaire.
"110" said the internet guy.
"110 million dollars! Do we hear 111?"
All eyes went on the internet guy … even Ultragirl’s who was mostly standing there and trying to smile prettily. Which I suppose was a victory to a degree. Because the oil billionaire’s wand was lowering.
"110 million US dollars. Going once, going twice …"
"125" said a voice in the back.
Everyone looked. It was Howard Heckle, (I knew that because his face was in the pamphlet) the 10th richest man in the world, and the CEO of a company that did, well, a lot of … stuff.
"125 million dollars. Going once. Going twice … .and … sold to bidder 217!"
And that was the end of it. Heckle had only bid once. Of course he had.
He came up to the stage. Heckle looked as if maybe 15 years ago he had been a handsome man, and he obviously took steps, perhaps beyond exercise and eating right, to keep it. However I could see the sneer on his face as he looked to claim his prize. He looked snaky and oily.
And I looked to ultra girls face.
For a second her eyes found me behind the stage. It was the most haunting thing I have ever seen.
And so he came to the stage. This wasn't in the program but no one had stoped him. After all he paid 125 million for it.
He talked. "I'm here to claim my prize. Let me sign the lot. I am good for the money. I hope the university uses it to build a great rec center, which I hope they have the good sense to name after her. A big hand for Ultragirl!"
And there was a loud cheer. She smiled.
And then he went and pulled out a stop watch.
"Can we start are event … now?" he asked.
"Why not" she said with almost quiet defeat.
"So starting … now. 1 hour. 3600 seconds. Let’s make em count. Fly me away!! Up, up, and all that!”
And then she grabbed him, holding him gently by his waist.
"Thanks everyone for showing up," she said.
"I am not paying for a speech," he said. The delivery sounded like a joke, but there was a slight edge that suggested it wasn't meant to be funny to anyone else.
And so they flew off into the night.
I looked over and sighed.
Wilson had been right. We had 10 more items, but it was a bit of an anticlimax. The lunch with Heckle got 750,000 dollars though. I bet people wanted to have a chat about the details of his hour.
The story made the news the next day, obviously. Lots of front pages. There was a lot of pressure on the student body to do something more than build a rec centre with the 133 million we managed to clear from the evening. A new hospital, stuff for orphaned children. The university wanted to get involved, but stuff with the charter … it became quite a struggle. The details I won't bore you with.
As for the details of the date, there weren't any. Heckle wasn't seen for two more days, and afterwards didn't give any details about the evening to the press. There was a picture of him with a big smile on his face which spoke volumes. It was a story. If nothing else Heckle the brand got a boost. Bully for him.
Now I could end this story here, on a somewhat depressing note. But that wasn't the real end. Not really.
For it was about two weeks later, I was walking on the campus. I had a class in about an hour in Physics, but ehh. It was Tuesday and my Tuesday schedule was a bit whacked.
But in the old rec center, something was going on.
It was an annual fair of student clubs, where they all had booths and were having carnival games, exciting jugglers and more.
The kind of stuff when your 20 kills an hour.
"Get your snowcones, get your delicious snowcones!" came a voice. It was the French club. A young girl was talking. "Delicious, sweet. And cold. Colder then you might think. They have flavoured syrup!!!"
“Can I get something in some variation of a rainbow?"
The young girl smiled at me. "I think that can be arranged. But it is very dangerous sir."
I looked down. "But I feel risky today."
I waited for my snow cone, and looked around. There was going to be some kind of music performance. Probably a very lame band later … but wonderful nonetheless. I wonder if next year this would happen. The student body partially funded the clubs, and I wondered if in the next few years we would need the couple of hundred bucks they made from this. Had we cursed ourselves with assholiness?
I turned and she handed me the snow cone.
When my eyes caught hers.
Now when you look at a photograph of someone, I had seen 100s of Ultragirl, but when you look at a photograph of someone, there’s something that a camera never quite catches about the eyes. Too small to see, just the soul.
Because then I realized that the snowcone girl was Ultragirl.
She had brown hair, looked a little chubbier, but of course it was her.
"Is your snowcone okay Richard?" she asked.
Wow. I realized somehow this made total sense. If you ask me to repeat how it made sense I couldn't tell you, but it totally did.
The snowcone hit the ground.
And she wasn't smiling any more.
"I'm sorry about that! Do you want another one?”
"How about 578 more."
She shook her head.
"Look, sir, I'll give you another snowcone if you just walk away from here."
“But … but," I said, "Can we talk?"
A guy from the French club came forward from working in the back. "He bothering you, Karen?"
Karen. Wait … Karen? I looked at her. Karen something or other. I had an anthropology class with her. We sat maybe 10 feet from each other a couple of times a week. Karen.
"I'll deal with it, Chuck," she said. "Sir, can you …"
I walked away without a snowcone.
I waited a couple of hours, missing my class sitting on a bench. Just outside the fair. Thinking. Well, I may have bought an over-priced soda. But mainly thinking, when she walked over and sat next to me with a book-bag over her shoulder. She was wearing an old pair of jeans and a sweater. She looked remarkably like a college student.
"So you figured it out, Richard," said Karen. "Bravo. Bravo."
I looked at her. I had figured it out, but not this. "Why are you mad at me? Did I do something wrong?"
She shrugged. "Wrong? That’s a hard word. But you slobber over Ultra girl. All men do, your jaw dropped when you figured it out. But Karen Dillion. Nope. Just a French major in an anthro class to you. Now I don't say I don't get guys interested in *me*. ’Happens all the time, but Ultragirl? Wooohoo! And I am not interested in people who are interested in her."
I looked down. It made sense.
"People say Ultragirl is the most beautiful girl in the world. But look at me. Take a look at this …"
She lifted her shirt to show her stomach, the abs of … wow.
"Podgy. I wouldn't say paunch, but podgy. I don't transform or anything. It’s a good costume … but what’s more it’s attitude. The fact that I can do so much. I am pretty. Pretty enough, but that and the ability to juggle tanks makes me a living goddess. My chin’s too big, my breasts are smallish, my hair is a mess, I am a … a seven, at best"
"Your a good soul, Karen," I said, "And an eight. You’re a good person for doing what you do."
"What I did with Heckle?" She sat down. "Want to know what happened?"
I put my head in my hands. "Sure."
"I signed a non-disclosure agreement. But, ahh fuck it. Breaking that’s a civil offence, who gives a fuck? Well, first we fly around. He has a house in the Hamptons and we go there. And he wants to get in a Jacuzzi. I didn't bring my bathing suit, irony of ironies, but I jump in. He comes in. We talk. He’s divorced. *Surprise*: Even with all his money a woman didn't want to stay next to him! Eventually the conversation turns to … well you know what. But I stay, ’cause I could beat his ass up. It’s hard for me that way. Since I am never in physical danger … just scuzziness … ahh fuck. He of course wants to have sex with me. Fuck my super-pussy, see if I really am made of steel. charming man. I point out that would be prostitution, and well that’s illegal … but not so fast Ultragirl. It’s legal in parts of Nevada. And would you fly me to Nevada?”
She shook her head. "Great story right?"
"How does it end?"
"It is legal in parts of Nevada. But only as part of legal brothels. Fuck. So we go to a legal brothel. He offers to rent a room for 2000 bucks. But then the guy at the counter looks me in the eyes … and I am not sure this is true or not, but he looks me in the eye and says that they have to get a license from the county to do it, and they can't just have people walk in. Now Heckle argues and argues. But, well, it turns out street prostitution is legal in parts of Ontario. So we start to fly to there … but the timer goes off over Iowa. So I put him down in the middle of the cornfield, thanked him for the donation, and how I hoped to see the cheque within the next week, and … flew off."
"That’s what happened. ’Could have been a lot worse, but that’s the story."
"He’s alive." I said "And smiling if he had a happy ending."
Karen sighed "And that’s my life. The thing of it is … the thing of it is, that is the least interesting thing I could think to do. The least interesting. Want to see something?"
She pulled down her pants right out in the semi enclosed bench area. Okay not the brightest thing but …
"This is my pussy, look at it. Is it the most beautiful vagina you ever saw? No. It’s just a vagina. 3 billion other women have one just the same. No women of steel man of Kleenex shit. Just sex. That’s all he could see me as. Something to have super sex with. But every one of the bidders thought something like it. Just something to stroke their ego with. A woman on their arms to hold them for a second, and then to fuck or mentally fuck with.
She paused, shaking her head and pulling up her pants. She saw an odd look from someone but they just walked away. Nudity in college: was best to hope it ended and move on.
"I’m not a virgin. I have had my share of guys. And hell, I am in college, a couple of girls … but the truth is, I am just average. Just someone who likes cuddles and anal sex. But that’s why I don't date as Ultragirl. ’cause that’s what they would see."
She looked at me. "Even you."
"No," I said.
"Oh really? Do you think you’re special? Maybe I have telepathy and can read your mind. Maybe I can. But why bother? You’re a …"
"That’s not the fantasy. That’s not it at all. Auctions, things like that. I don't want to buy sex. You want love. I wanted you to love me. That’s how the story really ends. We go off and fly together … and when the hour ends you wait a second and then you kiss me. That’s what I would want to happen at the end. You don't want to be kissed on paying time. You want it for …"
"Free." she said "You could ask for anything in the world but you couldn't ask for that."
"And I would like to go rafting down the Amazon, or run with the bulls in Cleveland Ohio. Something fun and exciting. You’re right, there was a bout a million more things that I could have done with that hour. But you can't do that with guys who just know Karen either. I can see your rule. But it’s somewhere in between right … somewhere between Ultra and Karen is you."
And she put her hand on mine.
"I have got class this evening," she said, "And I usually patrol the city afterwards. But tomorrow night. Come up with something. Something really fun we can do for an hour. Real good. Anything legal."
"You do realize that, since I am not paying … technically speaking I could ask for …"
"But that’s no fun on a first date." She smiled.
Well that was not precisely true but …
She went off walking to class.
And I planned a great adventure indeed.
The End …