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by Bert LaVey about a year ago in science fiction

The Time Factor

TALES FROM HELL -Bert LaVey- 20 Psychological Tales Of Horror


Time is of the essence. And cash.

And more important than your life.

I looked at my watch. I had only a half hour for lunch and

the guy in front of me was taking an eternity to order a

McRib and fries. If you were even one minute late getting

back from lunch you could be fired and there was a host of

other applicants ready to take your place the moment you

were let go, and this guy was eating up my minutes like a

shark. His order only cost $23.95, {and you got a free happy

drink with no refills!}, and this guy was acting like he was

ordering a hundred Happy Meals!

He must have had one of those deluxe Ultra Lifeline Plans

from the amount of time he was taking, or he was 'new' to

The Game here down on Wall Street where 'Money was Time'.

The robot at the counter window almost looked human

with his plastered smile and bright eyes, right down to the

McDonald's brown shirt and pants.

"Sir, you have 30 seconds left to place your order or you

will have to go to the back of the line. Now was that a happy

meal and fries, or a McRib and fries?"

This guy must have been around 25. From the way he was

dressed, you could tell he was new on Wall Street. A novice by

all appearances. Though younger than me, I knew he could

not afford the deluxe Lifetime Package. At best he had the

standard 60-year plan. Unless he upgraded, I was slated to

live 30 to 40 years longer than he would. And the standard

plan had the least amount of lifetime. If you did not upgrade,

you could be dead by the time you were sixty years old.

The Deluxe Lifetime Package I had, had 120 years on it.

Thanks to modern day technology, men and women could live

to be 120 years old provide disease, murder, accidental, or

self-inflicted death did not happen first. The Ultra Lifetime

Package was 250 years and that was the max time you could

get. 250 years of living and then you died. Not a second before

or a second after...UNLESS...You were rich.

The robot addressed the new guy at the McDonald's

counter in front of me. I was in a double hurry, for I wanted

to get gas while it was still at the bargain price of $20.00 a

gallon. "Sir, your time is up. You did not place your order.

Please move to the back of the line, time is wasting."

McDonald's new slogan was: "Fastest burger served in the

universe. No one beats the Golden Arches." The young man

new to The Game {on Wall Street, where 'time is money'},

started to protest the short amount of time allowed for him

to order. In the future, there was no time for 'fussing and

fighting'. At least not in the public eye. Time was of the

essence. It was literally against the law to waste somebody's

else's time.

"What's the big friggin deal? You give me 30 seconds to

order a hamburger, I'm going to order as soon!"

Though he was getting louder and irate, no one in the

restaurant paid him any attention to him and no one paid it

any attention when I took out my registered laser gun and

put a quarter size hole in his left temple.

He hit the floor dead in an instant dead as a doorknob.

Then four things happened next. It was so fast, it was

like it all took place spontaneously.

1) A Tell-camera came out of nowhere and announced:

"You have just committed murder. We have your picture

and a video of the crime in question. Please do not attempt to

leave the premises under the understanding that we will

shoot you and you might die."

2) About 50 Paparazzi video camera crowded into

McDonald's and I was instantly on every television screen in

the world. I was the headline news. "Man kills newcomer

Steven Rail who did not recognize that his 'time was up!

Details at 11:00 tonight. Hail Satan!"

3) Besides a few kids turning their heads from the bright

light of the laser and the guy hitting the floor, no one else

looked or cared.

4) The robot at the counter said, "Clean up at the front

counter," then turned to the next customer in line. "Sir, you

have 30 seconds to place your order, may I help you?."

The body was removed and I was given a ticket to appear

in court to give an account of my actions that day. The police

and court system were not worried about me running, the

police could find you in a second, no matter where you are in

the world thanks to the microchip that was installed behind

every new-born baby's right ear. It was mandatory by law.

But as far as I was concerned as long as I did not waste

time, I was OK.

The trial was in two days. It went something like this...

"Mr, Sanders, you are before the court on the charges of

2nd-degree murder. How do you plead?" "Not guilty." "Please

stand by while we review your case and determine the


It was a matter of minutes. "Mr. Sanders, the verdict is

in and the court finds you not guilty. It was definitely in your

right to eliminate any threat to your allotted time given to

you by the Home Life-line Security Department of the U.S.


Your Deluxe Package gives you the privilege to five kills

with no social consequences if there is a violation of your

allotted time to live. The Ultra Model gives you ten kills. Do

you wish to Upgrade at this time? We accept Visa,

MasterCard, or American Express."

A contribution to the court was always a good thing in

case you were stopped by the police. it could save you a

stiffer fine.

"Your contribution is appreciated, it builds more 'Limited

edition of Lifeline' for convicted persons." In the future, you

did not go to jail. In fact, there were no jails or prisons in the

twentieth-second century. If you were convicted of a crime,

you got a Lifeline package according to the sentence you got.

A murderer could get six months of life before his Lifeline

package gave out and he died. There were few

life-threatening diseases, your death was determined by the

number of years in your Lifeline Package. It was an implant

in your brain and to try and remove it would prove to be fatal.

Of course, the more money you make, the longer you were

able to live.

They say the rich can buy the Super-Ultra Life-line

Package and you could live forever without any pain,

sickness, or aging. So it was rumored.

"Good idea Judge, how much?"

"Only $539,000.00 including tax. We can set you up on a

monthly payment plan."

'Damn!' ran through my mind. Better to grease the wheels

of justice than have then run over you.

"Thank you, judge that will be fine."

"And we will exempt the time you spent at this trial from

your Life-time Package and reward you 17 seconds for the

mishap at McDonalds. Your laser gun was registered and it

was in your right to preserve as much of your time as


"Case dismissed."

I left immediately.

I had exactly one hour left for a hot date that night.

No more. No less.


Copyright (c) 2020 by Bert LaVey.

All Rights Reserved.

science fiction

Bert LaVey

I am a Writer, ParaPsychologist, and an Entrepreneur. I hope I can inspire you in your personal life as well as your workday to be a happier person.

Read next: Two Betrayed Chapter 6

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