Pulse Trading

The sign over the door read “Pulse Trading Emporium.” The advertisement had guaranteed in soothing tones that the experience would be pleasant, even positive.

This kind of thing used to be illegal or impossible. However, two breakthroughs in different sectors paved its way to acceptance and possibility. First was the landmark court case of Smith vs Evans, which resulted in the recognition by law of people’s inalienable sovereignty over their physical bodies. Thereafter, if you could show that you might continue to live a satisfactory life, as defined in White Paper #4C35A, you could sell any part of your body to benefit that life. Later cases confirmed that this ranged from the equivalent of renting space, as in modeling or prostitution, to the equivalent of selling goods, such as a kidney or a tooth.

The second breakthrough came from bio-rhythmics. What had been a highly esoteric semi-religious practice turned out to have practical benefits. When practitioners learned to save their breath, using modified Tupperware containers, industry moved in. Within a few years, the range of commodities that could be harvested from the human body grew enormously. Not only could you sell half a lung, you could sell 1000 breaths. There were controls, of course. No one could legally reduce a life below the recognized Reasonable Life Span of 70, and you had to be healthy, otherwise the breaths would be substandard.

All of which made this moment possible. I took a deep breath and pushed open the door.

8 thoughts on “Pulse Trading”

  1. “Disturbing Future” seems a bit of a trend for this theme, what? Not that I’m complaining…
    This is one of those “frozen moment” stories I like – while there’s all the exposition, the actual action is just someone going in a door. So the whole thing raises more questions – who are they, why are they selling their life piecemeal, what happens inside that door? It’s a tease, is what it is ; )

    “modified Tupperware” raised a grin for the bizarre juxtaposition of Domestic and Dystopian, BTW.

    Slight crit – the paragraphs read as “dense” to my taste, I’d break them up a bit more.

  2. Thanks, Neil. It is odd, the way breath took many of us in a similar, disturbing direction :-)

    I enjoyed writing modified Tupperware – it makes me smile, so glad that you liked it too. Thanks for the crit as well; I always struggle to break paragraphs. I think its because thats how I right – nothing comes and then there’s a binge of writing 😉

  3. Really like this and sometimes laughed out loud – very cool as I find humour very difficult to write.

    Like your first paragraph the most- ‘Emporium’ makes one think of cut-throat pricing and cheap knock-offs and the ‘The Advertisement …’ sentence is lovely in that it implies almost the opposite of what it says.

    From the rest ‘white paper #@@#’ and ‘Reasonable Life Span’ really got me as deeply funny. And the tupperware and ‘range of commodities’ are cute, witty and light.

  4. I like the idea and that you are foraying into fiction! I enjoyed the future vignette and the made up history of breath-selling, particularly the little details like courtcases and white papers. I like that the facts were framed by a little adventure of someone about to actually do it – it added reality to the tale.

    I read the piece as a funny-old-future story rather as a satire – so I was actually jarred by the Tupperwares was they were more silly than the rest and so pulled me out of believing in this future a bit.

    But everyone else likes them, so it’s again about how you read it.

    Thank you and I enjoyed it!

  5. There’s a horrible logic to this scenario – nice piece of extrapolation, with the legal bits all too plausible, and I enjoyed the play between legal and commercial, and the undercutting of the serious implications with the playful images (Tupperware! seems to be designated as Image Most Likely To Be Reacted To…:). I tend to agree with Neil that this piece is more about the unexplained than the explained, although for me it was more about the “what do they use breath for, anyway?”, but I don’t think the gaps in its logic prevent enjoyment of the piece. Cool, thanks!

  6. Modified Tupperware containers! Awesome! 😀

    This piece is mostly a description of how our bodies, even down to the air we breathe, have become commodities. It begins and ends with our protagonist, who appears to be either about to sell, or purchase something.

    I enjoyed the humour in this, and how it sneaks up on you. Along with the Tupperware, I also enjoyed the “renting space” comparison.

  7. Fantastic. I’ve been to a Tupperware party – those women could make you sell anything. I also like that it’s the start of an adventure. The possibilities are endless.

  8. I’ve been in contact with a representative of Tupperware Brands Corporation. They didn’t want to comment on the modifying of their products, but they did say that they were happy for them to be used in such a positive context. Apparently a 10 piece gift set will be with you in 5-10 working days.

    Dug your story lots. I’m imaging a very clean future when I read this (you know – white walls, transparent monitors, white jumpsuits) despite the dodgy-sounding body dealings.
    I really liked the legal / rules aspect – made it very believable.
    I have A Thing about modularisation, so I like the idea of being able to pluck parts of yourself off.

    p.s. liver for sale, one previous owner, not in great condition, but priced to go.

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