by ROBERT N. CHAN
INT: Mahogany paneled book-lined library such as one might find in a stately English Manor house.
Robert De Niro (actually a DeNiro deep fake), wearing a conservative business suit, sits comfortably on a high-backed leather armchair, a partially smoked cigar and a tumbler containing two fingers of whiskey grace a small end table by his side.
DE NIRO DEEP FAKE
If you’re like most of us, there’s at least one person, and probably several you would like to see terminated, but the lack of underworld connections and fear of law enforcement has held you back. Understandable. (He takes a drag on his cigar, blows out a perfect smoke ring, and has a sip of whiskey.) Now, however, through the magic of blockchain financing, black internet sites, social media data collection and an impenetrable web of off-shore companies; your desire can be satisfied, safe from police harassment. And if you act today, you’ll get a 10% discount… Plus, and this is huge, 15% off on the next assignment you entrust to us―86.3% of our clients are so delighted with our work that they retain us for another assignment within six months.
In the bad old days, you would’ve had to rely on untrustworthy, mobbed-up ruffians, whom we the field refer to by the technical term schmucks with a gun. Justified, Ltd. is not the only company in this newly emerging industry, but none of our competitors deliver such prompt, untraceable and creative solutions to your most irritating interpersonal irritations.
Please join me in viewing the following unsolicited testimonials, and then I’ll return to tell you how easy it is to retain us.
AMANDA (not her real name, wearing a Melania Trump mask, voice electronically distorted)
My husband snored, hogged the covers, and had barely four inches and no idea what to do even with that; but what could I do? Under our prenup, if I left him or gave him cause to leave me, I’d get nada, zip, zilch. I was between a rock and soft place. Then a friend suggested Justified, Ltd. They handled all the details efficiently and discreetly. All I had to do was go to work and then out for drinks and dinner with reliable witnesses. When I came home, he was in his car with the motor running and the garage door closed, cold and stiffer than he’d ever been when alive. The suicide note on his computer, perfectly capturing his atrocious grammar and Trumpian word choice, almost moved me to tears and formed the basis for my well-received eulogy. And, structured as a bad real estate investment, Justified’s fee was a rounding error on my inheritance.
BENNIE (not his real name, wearing a Woody Allen mask, voice electronically distorted)
It was probably a mistake to drop my pants and thrust my hips toward her face. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t even have invited her into my office and locked the door. But were those minor gaffs sufficient reason for her to threaten that, unless I coughed up six figures in blood money, she’d get me fired, destroy my marriage and sue me? I needed a lightning fast, untraceable response, and that’s just what I got. Justified, Ltd. found out that she drove one of those Toyotas with the exploding airbag defect and that she’d ignored the recall notices. On her way to her lawyer’s office, her brakes failed and so did the bag, blowing away my problem. Best blowjob I ever had. (He laughs)
BOB and JANE (not their real names, wearing Bonnie and Clyde masks, voices electronically distorted)
Our son’s future depended on his getting into a top Ivy League college (and not an armpit of the Ivies, like Penn or Cornell). In the good old days, we’d have paid a coach to claim he was a crew phenom, but with that door nailed shut, we had to be creative. Just three spoiled brats stood between Bradley becoming captain of the tennis team and being elected school president. But what to do? Then we learned about Justified’s group rate, cheaper and more reliable than paying off a coach or endowing a useless fucking library. So, we signed up, and three days later the car they were in―a Mercedes C-Class Coupe, talk about white privilege―collided with an oncoming semi. We couldn’t believe it; it was like magic. Then it occurred to us that with all the computers in cars these days, hacking into them has to be possible. Also, with the sudden, heartbreaking death of his best buddies, Bradley had a bang-up subject for the personal statement on his application that we were about to have ghost-written. So, Bradley is now bound for Yale. We couldn’t be happier, and he suspects nothing. Sure, the brats’ parents are all broken up, but hey, survival of the fittest, right? Anyway, they have other kids, and Bradley’s an only child. Weeks later, a deal we invested in went belly up, entirely tax deductible by the way. (They flash thumbs up signs, then turn toward each other and nuzzle masks affectionately.)
SOPHIA (not her real name, wearing a Barbie mask, voice electronically distorted)
Olivia (not her real name, DUH!) was the biggest bully in the whole middle school, maybe the whole world. One day she posted a picture of me on like the worst hair day ever, and her whole squad piled on with hurtful comments. Then she texted that nobody should talk to Liam. I thought that was stupid, so I walked right up to him and said ‘Hi’. Next day Olivia told me that, because I’d broken the rule, none of her friends would ever talk to me again. My life was ruined. I came close to killing myself, but then Justified, Ltd reached out to me and literally saved my life. When Olivia died from vaping bad shit, classes were suspended, and the whole school came out for her funeral. The principal said it takes a tragedy to bring people together and make us realize what’s really important, like good friends. We all cried and hugged. It was beautiful. Liam and I sucked tongue behind the gym, and her friends are now my BFFs. My parents went totally ballistic when the money disappeared from their stock account. Some black-hat hacker, the police said, untraceable. But wtf, they’re always going ballistic about something, and they couldn’t blame me, even though they probably wanted to.
DE NIRO DEEP FAKE
How do we do it? Our proprietary software utilizes the magic of data brokerage, mining, and analysis, coupled with granular surveillance and our hidden partnership with one of the world’s foremost social media platforms. We know more about you and your nemeses than you or they do.
No need to contact us directly. You’re seeing this ad because we’ve identified you as a potential customer, via our proprietary algorithm, a more sophisticated version of how retailers know when a woman is pregnant before she does.
Sure, your first reaction on watching this might be a tad on the negative side, but hey, this is a brave new world. The old rules are for chumps, and if you don’t do them, they’ll probably do you. Also, you’ll be doing good for the world; each person who departs this mortal coil, prior to when he or she otherwise would, reduces the global carbon footprint.
A reasonable, respectful, time after your nemesis passes on to a better place, you’ll pay our fee via a means suitable to your financial situation. Not to worry, we trust you. No one has ever defaulted on their obligation to us, no doubt a testament to our clients’ complete satisfaction.
Rest assured we abhor the use of firearms, are passionately committed to social justice and don’t discriminate on the basis of race, disability, religion, sex, ethnicity, creed, age, or national origin.
This ad will disappear from your computer in ten seconds. To see it again, and move our conversation forward, post something angry or nasty on Instagram, but please do not mention the target of our assignment. We probably know it already.