Too Real for Television

Too Real for Television

by Pablo Zaragoza


The year is 1996 and it is the future. The brand new Super Color 2000 just entered the market a couple hours ago. “You won ́t believe it ́s T.V.” Said the advertisement selling the metal box. “Don ́t watch movies, live the movies! At only $299” The commercial showed a family sitting in a living room with a real cowboy showdown in front of them. My mom said it was genius. I thought it was a little tacky.

I worked the morning shift at the only Tech and Appliances store in town. I woke up at 7AM every day because the store needs to be fully ready and functional for opening hour at 9. I was not significant enough to have keys to the store, so I always had to wait for Kelly to arrive and open the back door for me. She turned on the lights and checked inventory as I pretended to sweep aisle 5.

I raised the blinds covering the glass wall on the front of the store, only to gaze at the impatient crowd standing in the parking lot at the other side of the glass. The first one to notice me was a little boy, maybe 8 or 9 years old. Soon, a huge mass of people was piled up against the window, hollering and bumping the glass.

It was policy to ignore them until the opening, but today was a special day. Five minutes before 9 o ́clock, Kelly came to the front of the store with a megaphone to announce that the store would not open until an organized line was formed in front of the door. Then she proceeded to explain how people would enter by groups of ten.

It was 9AM. I enjoyed a few last seconds of silence right before that, like clockwork, with a flick of a switch, forty- five TV ́s started roaring in unison. Some with the morning news, others with the weather, and the small ones, in the corner, with cartoons. Simultaneously, ten costumers entered the store, as previously coordinated.

They looked around for a couple of seconds until finding what they were all looking for: The brand new Super Color 2000. It is the only T.V. that was not broadcasting a channel, instead, it had a slideshow of pictures to display it ́s “Extravagant contrast and deep blacks.” A pile of little sheets of paper besides the big metal box read: Take one and hand it to an employee, he will be pleased to assist you. Only a couple of people got to grab a sheet when a finely dressed fat man snatched them all saying loudly: “I want all of them.”

“You can ́t do that!” Screamed a lady in a fancy red jumpsuit. “Oh, I think I can, and I will.” Said the fat man while reaching to the register.
I look over to Kelly, not knowing what to do. There actually was no rule about not being able to buy all of them, but it just seems wrong considering the crowd outside. My partner was too busy handling the door situation, so I decided to take it into my own hands.

“I ́m sorry sir, but there is a one per costumer limit.” I said in a bold move.
“That ́s stupid! There ́s no sign that says that. May I speak to your manager?” Asked the fat man vainly.

“I am the manager.” I replied in an even bolder move.
“Well Mr. Manager...!” He screamed. Just before being interrupted by Kelly who had noticed the problem and left the door unassisted.
“Is there a problem?” She asked politely.
“Well...” The fat man was about to speak again when the door busted open and a stream of human bodies rushed inside the store.
“He wants to buy all of them!” Screamed the lady in the fancy red jumpsuit.


“And that ́s the last thing I remember before it started” I said staring at the ground.
“What happened next?” Asked the police officer taking notes in a small pad.

“Well, first people started to yell in rage, I saw some shoving, then kicks and punches. I got to the ground when I heard a gunshot and what sounded like a T.V shattering. That ́s all I know.” 

The year is 1996 and in the local newspaper, the front page reads “Too Real for Television. 6 dead and 8 injured.”
At the store, the floor was covered in blood. A couple of T.V sets still broadcasting some random programs. The others were either stolen or shattered. The image was truly incredible, unbelievable, astonishing.

An image only the vibrant tones and incredible resolution of the brand new Super Color 2000 is capable of recreating.


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