51 – ANTE UP

 

“What goes up, must come down, according to Sis Isaac Newton,” Lance stated. “Whether he actually said the words, or not, doesn’t really matter, please and thank you, and the truism may not even be true outside the field of physics, but that doesn’t matter, either, because I am going to apply the quote to one thing, and one thing only, for the moment, namely Yooutube.

“After attempting to compete with Youtube, with Google Video, Google gave it up, and purchased Youtube for $1.65 billion, about a decade ago. Present value is estimated at $160 billion. And we are going to completely destroy it, using nothing but pennies.

“Since we have a genuine Youtube superstar here, let’s use her as an example. Give me a song, if you would be so kind, please, Madonna.”

Before Madonna could pick one, Kitty yelled, “Sorry!”

Stephen cringed, thinking, ‘Good God, she could be singing that to me, next week, when she finds out I’ve had my way with you, little Kitty cat. What in Hell possessed you to pick that, of all tunes?”

Madonna instantly flashed back to watching Kitty strip to the song at the pool. Sex started to spark and sizzle through the sexagenarian’s central nervous system, as images of Kitty stripping, teasing, taunting, stroking, smirking and finally climaxing strobed through Madge’s recall/imagination circuitry.

Kitty and Madonna stared into each other, oblivious to the boys. Aroused and afraid was Madonna. She was flooded with pure, raw, animal emotions. She couldn’t think.

When the room service knock was delivered on the door, Kitty sprang to her feet, “I’ve got it!” Mesmerized, Madonna watched the girl saunter in her direction. The Kaboodle girl stopped, and stooped, for a second, as she was walking past Madonna. She leaned into the pop star’s ear, and whispered, “When I think about you… I touch myself.”

Madge’s mind melted. Oh, she wanted the tawdry tart, in the worst way! She wanted to put the saucy, little harlot over her knee, and spank her until they were both on the verge of orgasm, and then… and then Kitty flounced past again. This time she kept moving, but made direct eye contact, and whispered, “I honestly do.”

Neither of the great writers in the room were using their amazing powers of observation to observe what the girls were doing rigt in front of them.

Takin’ a sippa his cuppa, King interrupted, before Lance could even restart, ““Wait a minute. What if Google, or Amazon, Facebook, Miscrosoft, or any of them want to buy Commonwealth?”

“It’s not for sale,” said both the kids, Lance matter-of-factly, Kitty defiantly.

Everything is for sale, for the rigt price,” King countered.

His son took him on, “Wrong. That’s your generation’s bullshit. Greed is good, and all that Masters of the Universe tripe is all done. You know what Abbey said about growth, rigt?”

King nodded that he did, but Madge asked, “Abbey who?”

“Edward Abbey,” Lance clarified. “Writer, He said, regarding economics, ‘Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.’ Well, wealth for the sake of wealth is the ideology of the dinosaur money zombies.”

Kitty blew Lance a kiss, pointed at the old people, and sang:

But everybody’s like

Cristal, Maybach,

diamonds on your timepiece

jet planes, islands,

tigers on a gold leash

Kitty alternated her pointing from the King of Horror, to the Queen of Pop, and back again, and back again. She was mocking them. She was mocking their whole generation.

Then, she pointed first at herself, then at Lance, and finished the chorus

We don’t care,

we aren’t caught up in your love affair

Trusting the point was made, Kitty let Lance get back to it.

“The video of Sorry at the top of the page, which claims to be the official release from you yourself, has 33 million views. Do you know how much money Youtube owes you for that?”

“Thirty three grand, I believe.”

“I believe you’re rigt. If you could make ten times that on a Commonwealth video sharing platform, would you pull it from Youtube?”

“Of course I would. Everyone would. But who’s going to pay?”

Pulling a pretty penny from his pocket, Lance Lear threw it over to the multi millionaire. “I am,” he said. “I am willing to pay you a cent to watch that vid. If I’ve got as much money as the three of you do, I might even pay two cents, maybe even a nickel, but let’s not get carried away. Let’s keep it to a pretty penny. I can watch a hundred videos for a buck. Five or more hours of entertainment for a buck.”

Stephen was adamant that, “People will hate that. No one’s gonna wana pay.”

But Madge understood. “You’re wrong. Our people will be happy to pay. When artists start making money, because of Commonwealth, they will see the shift that’s happening. And they will understand it’s all good for them. All good for all of us.

“And if the public don’t like it, fuck ‘em! Fuckers have a firm grip on their entitlements, don’t they? Well, if they wanna see what we are creating, they gonna have to put a penny in the hat, ‘cause our stuff ain’t going up on Youtube no more. What do we call it?”

“I’m kinda liking Penny Ante,” said Lance, “but if someone has something better, I’m not married to it.”

Stephen had questions, the first of which was, “So, Penny Ante is exclusive to Commonwealth members?”

“Not necessarily. We could simply allow posters to say whether their posts are free, by donation, or either or. But you have to be a member to post.

“If you’re just consuming stuff on the platform, you don’t need a membership. If you wanna consume vids that require a donation, or straight up payment, you can only pay with our own internal coins. Pretty Pennies, or Money Pennies, or something cute and clever. You don’t have to be a member to buy the coins, but you get better deals if you are.”

Stephen was satisfied with his son’s answer, so he moved to his next question, “When you pulled up the vid for Sorry, you said the official one was at the top on the page, but there are others, and Madge doesn’t get a hundredth of a cent for views of them.”

“I understand, said Lance. “ It won’t take long before Youtube is out of business. But, while it still breathes, we have to not only deprive it of content, but of advertisers, too.

Their ad rates will drop immediately; when we tell the world we are out to destroy their bad business model. But let’s say someone is still posting Madge’s songs on Youtube. They are doing so to make money, mostly. But what happens when Madge tells her tens of millions of fans that Rusty’s Root Beer is ripping her off? Bad news for Rusty and his rotten root beer.

“Every artist has to police their own stuff. But we have to help each other pounce, when Youtube allows this fuckery to go on, as it clings desperately to life.”

“But how long can Youtube cling to life, once we start Penny Ante?” asked Kitty. “I vote for Penny Ante, if you hadn’t guessed. Penny Ante for the platform, and Money Pennies for the coins. They have no content. No advertisers. That’s checkmate, mate.”

Madonna looked at Kitty, and asked, “Are you sure you wanna call the coins Money Pennies? If we call them Pretty Pennies, we can put your pretty face on them.”

Madonna winked at Kitty, and blew her a kiss. Kitty reciprocated in kind, and replied, “Maybe. But if we do, I get to decide what is written on them.”

“In God we don’t trust?” Lance guessed.

“I like it. A lot. But no,” Kitty answered. “We pick a fight with someone bigger than God. We take on Google. We take the gem they threw in the trash two years ago, the Arkenstone, and stick it rigt back in their face!”

Lance laughed. He knew.

King asked.

Lance laughed, “Don’t be evil.”

“Rigt!” Madonna said. “That’s the best corporate slogan in business history. What the Hell possessed them to drop it?”

“Bill Gates,” said Kitty.

“Huh? King grunted.

“Gates punked them. Pretended to be Sauron. Offered them total tax free status, in perpetuity if they relocated to Mordor. But they had to drop DON’T BE EVIL. When they dropped it, Gates revealed himself, and laughed. The Google guys howled indignation, and impotent rage. Gates laughed, ‘Don’t like it? GO TO HELL, evil fuckers!’”

52 -SEND IN THE CLOWNS

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