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It was May 2015, and everything was magical. The snow was melting, trees were leafy and green, DVDs arrived regularly from Netflix, and a baby miraculously escaped from the Dutchess of Cambridge’s meticulously groomed vagina to bloom into what we all hoped would be the ugliest baby on Earth. Because honestly, to hell with those people.
Eight months later, the world has changed. The skies have grown dark and frigid. The cold air makes our bodies snap and crackle like an extinguished campfire. Nothing lives outside anymore. Winter has come, and the hopelessness and despair it brings has caused things to be brought up that had not been questioned in happier times. Beth Biggins, wife of Scott Biggins, has just noticed the Netflix DVD that’s been sitting next to the TV for nearly eight months. A war is about to begin.
“You actually watched this movie on cable a month ago,” said Beth. “When are you going to return it?”
“I’ll do it later,” said Scott, scratching himself through his sweatpants. “Just leave it on the table.”
“You said that four months ago! There’s a mailbox half a block from our house.”
“Yeah, but the mail slot isn’t facing the road, so I can’t drive up to it.”
“My mother was right. You’ll never provide for this family.”
“Maybe I’m gonna watch it again! Maybe I like Cannonball Run 2!”
“Nobody likes Cannonball Run 2! That’s why we rented it! If it was good, we would have stolen it from the internet!”
With more streaming options, original TV shows and awful nostalgia-based reboots than ever before, Scott and Beth may never watch a DVD again. But that iconic red and white mailing sleeve has been sitting on the edge of the TV stand for so long that it’s become a part of the room’s decor that would be sorely missed if returned to Netflix. Its loss would sting like a phantom limb, that empty spot on the table forever reminding Scott that life is changing and he’s growing older every day. This is too much change for him. He must fight to keep things the same.
“Uh oh. She has that look in her eye, like she plans to do something about it,” mumbled Scott, a terrified look spreading across his face. “I don’t even wanna watch that thing, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to cancel the DVD service! What happens if we need a DVD in the future? It’s best if we keep things exactly as they are so we don’t disturb the delicate balance of our lives.”
At $8 per month, the Biggins’ have now paid a total of $64 for their rental of Cannonball Run 2, nearly sixty-four times the cost of the actual DVD. The rental plan itself only allows two discs per month for the price, so even if the Biggins’ were in their DVD returning prime - which they are not - they would still be getting charged a whopping $4 per film rental.
“Oh my God, we’re paying them $96 per year for Cannonball Run,” wailed Beth, burying her face in her hands.
“No we’re not,” said Scott in a comforting tone. “We’re paying $96 per year for Cannonball Run 2. Tony Danza is in this one. This DVD is a part of our family now.”
A shocked silence overcame Beth. Without a word, she walked into the bedroom and shut the door. Sobbing sounds could be heard from within.
Unused Netflix discs are a growing crisis throughout the nation. Kind, thoughtful citizens who actually use their accounts and want nothing more than to view the first disc of the classic Ultraman series, for Christ’s sake, find themselves tortured daily by that familiar text in their rental queue: “This title is not currently available.” These discs sit dormant on entertainment centers and kitchen tables across the nation, gathering dust because people are too cowardly to cancel their DVD rental option.
To cope with his loss, Scott has used construction paper and markers to construct a fake Netflix DVD sleeve to place on his TV stand. Beth has promised to cancel the DVD rental option today, and is getting increasingly annoyed at Scott, who every few hours breaks out in a frenzied panic of remorse.
“Wait. WAIT!” shouts Scott, for the sixth time this morning. “Don’t cancel it yet! Let me take screenshots of our DVD queue first in case we ever want to go back!”
“We’re never going back, Scott!” said Beth. “Sit down and shut the hell up, because I am canceling this shiz.”
“You witch! You’ve always been jealous of my DVD sleeves! You go to hell and die!”
“It’s over, Scott! Grab what’s left of your nuts and put ‘em in a sack. I own you, bitch.”
“That’s really gross. I don’t know why you’d say that.”
“It sounded pretty badass. I have no regrets.”
“Whatever. I’m going to make Hot Pockets for dinner. Is that cool?”
“Not unless you want to sleep in the garage.”
“C’mon, Beth. I need something that utilizes little sleeves. I’m in Netflix withdrawal.”
“Suck it up, bruh. We’re doing away with these goddamned DVDs, even if I have to kill you.”