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You Bet Your Skin
Copyright (c) 2008 by Floyd Flanagan
satirical, funny, full length video novel read by the author.
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his dreams VINNY VANILLA is getting skinned alive. Awake, sales of his
over-the-hill video game, HAMMERMAN, are tanking, his connection to the virtual
economy is iffy, and he can't go on supporting his hapless SIS and MOM and
DAD forever. He seeks solace from his unsympathetic sig-one, ICE, the
perverse love of his life. He confesses his terror of contracting BID
poison, contaminating his bio-identity. Breaking down completely, he
begs Ice to be the one he can really count on, even though she can never
count on him.
2. Vinny hangs out with his PUBBUDDIES on Invision (via wireless Internet
implants) until Ice butts in and spoils the fun. NEWS NOW shows the
mutilated body of trans star, SHOW QUEEN, found dumped in a New Jersey
landfill. There's news of the spread of ASD, Acquired Skin Disease
that's reversing the colors of the races around the world. Vinny's
boss, VITA, warns him to keep an eye on PRESIDENT STICKMAN, who is rock
bottom in the polls, and presses him for an upgrade of Hammerman. Vinny
designs a new breed of villains, FE-FI-FO-FUM, and is frustrated by program
3. Vinny strolls through a blighted neighborhood, admiring the drag-and-bag
efficiency of urban renewal. He takes pride in his credit rating.
Although times are tough, he's still a real gold guy and compares himself to
the lowlife trash eking out existence in the shadows. Sidestepping cheap
ad temptations on Invision, he savors his expectation of shopping at THE
BOX. Moments after leaving the retail wonderland, he looks back to see
it leveled by an EVILIST attack. DOOM MAN is on the move.
4. Vinny returns to his habi home and discovers Ice has left him. He
watches a news update. Autopsy and miracle extraction. Out of the
womb of the murdered Show Queen, a live fetus is resurrected. Searching
in forbidden places for info on BID poison, Vinny gets help from dud helper,
DUDMEAT, who saves him from a violent bioectomy. Vinny's money woes are
compounding. His habi home is foreclosed on and he seeks shelter from
AL, the albino proprietor of a rundown motel.
5. Vinny learns that his over-leveraged investment in Enerjetics stock has
turned his credit rating to pulp. He's no longer a real gold guy.
Even worse, he may be suffering from credit cancer. Mired in depression
and fear of poverty, he seeks relief from the autotherapist, DOC RX, only to
discover that he, himself, is the cause of all his problems. Due to his
financial collapse, Mom, Dad, and Sis lose their home, as well, taking refuge
in the motel room next to Vinny. Wandering distraught through the
blighted neighborhood, Vinny encounters the girl child, DOGBAIT. He
learns that evil is embodied in a dog when he's almost eaten alive.
6. Vinny asks for financial help from his Pubbuddies and learns about other
priorities. Desperate for relief, he follows Dudmeat through a wormhole
to Invisibank, where a spike-heeled manager, NEW ACCOUNTS, offers him a loan
with terms that he has to refuse. The quiz show, YOU BET YOUR SKIN, is
advertising for contestants and Vinny wonders what more he could possibly
lose. On the show, he gives up thirty-six square inches of skin off his
back and goes home broke as ever.
7. Ice gives Vinny curt advice about BID poison over the phone. Get
yourself tested. Vinny is terrified by a pay-up-or-quit notice from
Invision and reconsiders the terms of New Account's loan offer. On the
way to sign for the loan, he meets GUY, THE INSURANCE GUY, and learns a few
things about insurance. Terms for the loan are a lot tougher now, but
faced with total separation from the virtual economy, Vinny accepts.
8. Under pressure from Vita to add pizzazz to the Hammerman product line, Vinny
creates the Amazon STILETTA, sig-one and helpmate for the brute
warrior. She's a hit and a bonus sweetens Vinny's perspective on
life. Meanwhile, his Energetics stock turns up with corporate news of a
newfound energy source that could transform the world. A news story
pegs talk guy BILLY BOYMAN as the prime suspect in Show Queen's murder and
the probable father of the miracle child. Vinny turns on to the magic
of PotGo-PanGo and dances with Ice from afar.
9. Vinny invents a new game for Hammerman and Stiletta. STALKING
JUSTICE will take gamers where they've never gone before, as they spy on,
entrap, and reap revenge on EVILIST suspects, be they strangers,
acquaintances, or dear ones. It's all in good fun.
10. Mom throws Dad out of their motel room after discovering his affair with
the virtual dud helper, MARZIPAN. Vinny catches up with Ice on
Invision, sees she's a changed woman, and receives a stern warning. Be
careful what you eat. It seems everywhere you look people are changing,
and SIS is getting into the act.
11. Even though Vinny gets counseling for credit cancer he's as broke as
ever. On the news Billy Boyman denies paternity of the baby in a
bottle. With its acquisition of Fabcorn, Enerjetics threatens to corner
the market on food production, in addition to its lock on energy.
Vinny's stock moves even higher and he's set to pay off his loan early, when
he learns that could cost him more than he bargained for. Due to the
popularity of Stalking Justice Vinny's skills are in great demand.
President Stickman has a job for him. Vinny gets tested for BID
poison. He's got it; and the reason he's got it is even worse than the
12. Although Vinny can talk to Ice on Invision, her location is
blocked. He demands that she tell him where she is and wants to know if
he can count on her. For Ice it's the same old story, knowing she can
never count on him. Stuck with Mom and Dad and his dud lover in a dinky
motel room is more than Sis can handle. She tells Vinny that something's
got to give. President Stickman plans to extend his term in office to
president for eternity. Vinny is hired to perform the presidential
makeover. Al has special powers to locate missing persons and finding
Ice in Porto-Novo, Benin is no problem at all. Vinny plans to go there
13. Although Vinny struggles mightily with the presidential makeover,
Stickman is still Stickman and the voters aren't fooled. Making matters
worse, the political talk guy, DR. BULL, exposes Stickman's desire to be
president forever. A White House plot is hatched to bring the bull man
down with Vita in command and Vinny's hopes for a quick getaway to Benin are
dashed when he's put on the no-fly list and drafted into the
conspiracy. The bull man scoops an interview with Doom Man deep inside
his cavernous lair. The arch evilist reveals his manifesto, Changing
Pain for Dollars. Outside the cave, three slits in a captive's head
sack transform it into a terrorist's hood. The bull man dawns the mask
to make point. He's all bull, pure bull, and there's no bull about it.
14. Dr. Bull's intrepid interview with Doom Man puts the president's futile
attempts to catch the evilist to shame. Stickman's defense team shifts
its focus from the War on Mayhem to defeating the bull man and Vinny is
assigned the job of digging up dirt. On the pretext of offering Dr.
Bull ideas to build his brand value, Vinny entices him to a meeting in the
Geekery. An encounter with a one eyed man raises questions too painful
15. Vinny digs for dirt on Dr. Bull, but comes away empty handed when his
victim smells a rat. Spying on Sis and Al, Vinny sees more than he
wants to know. In a fit of jealously, Mom has Dad fit to be tied and
gives Vinny fair warning when he tries to interfere. With a seeming
change of heart, Mom throws a surprise party where Sis and Al announce a
mysterious business plan and Mom has Dad kidnapped.
16. After seeing evidence of the kidnappers' awful power Vinny is directed to
Guy, the insurance guy, for further instructions. Guy has expanded his
offerings from life insurance to include death insurance and has just what
Vinny needs. A trial run in a secure communications coffin leaves Vinny
breathless. Buried in the casket behind the motel, Vinny waits for the
kidnappers to call.
17. During an Invision call Ice tells Vinny that its not a shadow he sees on
her face. She's turning black from Acquired Skin Disease. Is that
a problem she wants to know. Vinny runs into the girl child,
Dogbait. No longer a street waif, she's making something of herself in
the hot dog business. On the news, Billy Boyman denies paternity of the
baby in a bottle. There's still no word from the kidnappers, but a
feature story on the burgeoning kidnapping market gets Vinny's full
attention. More news, a grass roots initiative for continuous
PolLections is gaining traction and threatens the president's plan for
eternal office. Vita leans harder on Vinny to get some real dirt on Dr.
Bull and a followup meeting with the bull man proves productive. Vinny
encounters Sis and Al in Motherland and learns about their agency for
18. Dud revolution is in the air. Al integrates Vinny's coffin into a
secure communications bunker he has built and staffed with duds and the new
connection works like a charm. Vinny demands that the kidnappers tell
him what they want from him. He's told just to follow
instructions. But he receives no instructions, and the word on the
street is he's not cooperating. At least there's some good news.
The dirt on Dr. Bull has turned to gold and Stalking Justice is selling like
19. Vinny career is back on a tear. First there was Stalking Justice
the video game and now there's Stalking Justice the realtime movie, with
Vinny cast as the star gamer, assisted by his crack police team, Hammerman
and Stiletta, who cut no slack for their mayhem suspect, Dr. Bull.
Vinny is appalled at the frameup and threatens to walk. Hammerman and
Stiletta play good cop bad cop and convince Vinny to stay in the game.
The Moms of Motherland take up residence in Al's motel. The acquisition
of Fabcorn by Enerjetics gives the multinational company a hammerlock on
worldwide food and energy and Vinny's stock is headed to the moon.
20. Dr. Bull is arrested, escapes, and is brought down hard by Hammerman and
Stiletta. On Invision, Ice tells Vinny the disease is in the
corn. He tells her their separation is growing more and more
painful. She asks if she can count on him and gets the same old
runaround. There's trouble in Motherland. Foreign competition in
the surrogate industry is heating up. Al demands the moms carry five
babies per pregnancy and they threaten to strike. Al's partner, Guy,
assures the moms that all their fears are covered by insurance.
Bedeviled by program skewing errors, Vinny's makeover of President Stickman
is falling behind schedule.
21. Vinny is fired from Stickman's team and is at a loss about following
instructions. But it's not a problem. They have another candidate
in mind; and never mind that he's not even real. According to the new
plan, Vinny will morph his video game hero, Hammerman, into D.A. Hammerman,
positioning him on the PolLection fast track to be president. As for
new instructions, Vinny is to keep dogging the bull man on Stalking Justice,
where D.A. Hammerman is building his image in a very public way. On the
news, Billy Boyman hung himself in his jail cell. Viewers as asking,
what's to become of the baby in a bottle now that both parents are
dead? Dud helpers escape from the underworld by the millions and
inundate Invision. The cause of Acquired Skin Disease is found in
contaminated Fabcorn and the stock of its parent company, Enerjetics, takes a
turn for the worse and Vinny's broke again. New Accounts reminds him
that his loan is due real soon.
22. Things are changing faster than ever. Vinny is getting darker, Al
has a big surprise for Sis, and Dad's been released by the kidnappers.
That is, he's almost released. Vinny's Enerjetics investment collapses
to a penny stock, and with his credit rating in the dumpster, he's
disconnected from Invision. Cut off from the virtual economy, he might
as well be trash.
23. An extraordinary motel room surgery restores Vinny's Invision. But
reconnection comes with a glitch. His image is stamped with the mark of
a dud. Big news. Enerjetics has discovered the secret of
unlimited energy. Vinny's tanking stock makes a u-turn and heads for
the stars. Al gives Sis the gift of life. As the star mom of Motherland,
Sis is selected to carry and give birth to the baby in a bottle.
24. On the news the dud insurrection advances with Dudmeat in command.
PolLections become the law of the land. Now every day is election
day. Voters hold their breath to learn how the candidates will deal
with the riotous duds. President Stickman vows their destruction.
Candidate Hammerman says just give them the vote. Vinny is fed up with
Dudmeat, until a harrowing experience teaches him new respect.
25. Pressure from all directions is driving Vinny to drink, but there's no
escaping Stalking Justice. Hammerman's prosecution of the bull man
advances to the courtroom and star gamer Vinny's role is expanded to, judge,
jury, and executioner. This calls for another double Scotch at the bar,
and then another. The relentless railroading of Dr. Bull by Hammerman
continues and drunken Judge Vinny cannot be excused. Finally, there's
some good news for a change. Thanks to his Enerjetics stock, Vinny is a
multi-billionaire; and just in time to pay back his loan. He calls to
tell Ice the good news. He's almost on his way.
26. There's not much left for Vinny to do but wrap up some loose ends.
Sell a few shares of stock, retire the loan, close the case on the bull man,
get taken off the no-fly list, and hop the next suborbital to Benin. He
calls his autobroker and learns his stock is taking a hard fall. What
to do? Sell it all right now? If he does he might lock in his
losses. It's a tough decision. New Accounts is checking the
time. If he misses the payment deadline there will be hell to
pay. With only seconds to spare Vinny sells it all and still comes up
short, way short. There's a call to bank security. Make ready the
surgical unit. Deadbeat on the floor. A quartet of cyborg, bounty
hunters, Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, have Vinny on the run. A misstep in front of
an autohauler eliminates one of the assailants.
27. In desperate need of a break, Vinny takes a dream cruise to a tropical
paradise. Upon waking, he leads the bounty hunters on a mad chase through
hell and high water. Begging for help from those near and dear to him,
Vinny learns they have troubles of their own. The duds have taken over
Invision. President Stickman vows to crush the duds and asks Congress
for support. Instead, they give duds the vote. In the final
minutes of the race Hammerman pulls a coup de grace on Stickman by capturing
Doom Man and victory is his.
28. Finally set free by the kidnappers, Dad crawls back to the wife who
betrayed him. The old man begs for help from his one and only son, but
Vinny has no help to give him. Cornered by the two remaining cyborgs,
Vinny makes a wild leap of faith and is saved by a short circuit. He
learns of the strengths and weaknesses of the cyborgs and takes stock of his
situation. Two down and two to go. Then, with a little help from
Guy, it's three down. With nothing to sell but his flesh and blood,
Vinny strikes a deal at a BetterBarter and heads for the spaceport with a
Ziplock crammed with chump change.
29. Waiting for departure, Vinny is thrust into the inescapable climax of
Stalking Justice. The only thing left to do is sentence Dr. Bull to a
gruesome fate and leave the dirty work to others. The bull man seizes
control of the game with a legal maneuver and sticks Vinny with a weighty
decision. In the waning minutes before takeoff, the last bounty hunter
uses seduction and brutality to ensnare Vinny in the spikes of a security
clawstyle. Inspired by fear and music Vinny turns the tables on the
cyborg and safely boards the spaceplane to Benin.
30. Viewing earth from space, Vinny contemplates the meaning of choice, the
people in his life, and genesis of the new world leader, Hammerman. He
shudders to think, what have I done? Approaching touchdown, he tries to
imagine a new life with Ice. He wonders if she'll be there. And
even if she is, can she be counted on? As for himself, he still has his
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Flanagan's 'You Bet Your Skin' First Full-length Internet Video Novel
Viral Novel Turns Internet in on Itself
Beach, CA, February 2, 2009 -- We're all aware of the escalating intrusion of
in-your-face media in our lives. In the first full-length Internet
video novel, URL youbetyourskin.com, published on Google Video, Floyd
Flanagan satirizes the media's tightening grip on public consciousness with a
darkly funny odyssey through the conundrums of sex, violence, race, wealth,
guilt, and responsibility in a world devoid of privacy.
Flanagan's novel lampoons new media and he thought it would be appropriate to
use state of the art technology for publication. He considered books on
CD, which are now mainstream, but he wanted to do something different.
Considering the popularity of YouTube, a video reading of the novel seemed
like a natural, using the Internet to parody itself.
Researching the subject of book publication in video format, Flanagan was
surprised when he was unable to find a single video novel on the
Internet. Thousands of people tell stories on YouTube, but these
vignettes are limited by YouTube's ten-minute maximum length, clearly
inadequate for a full-length novel. Google Video enabled Flanagan to
get around that limitation. His approach was simple. He used
inexpensive EvoCam video software and the built-in camera on his MacBook to
recorded the eleven-hour, serialized reading of the novel.
2011 update: Google Video ceased operation and provided the means to transfer
the novel to YouTube.
Flanagan says, "I've always been interested in the pressures that rapidly
evolving technologies place on individuals. Today, the amount of
publicly accessible, personal information is exploding. Radio frequency
ID chips placed under the skin can tell a scanner your medical information
and track your whereabouts on the fly. You're on the verge of becoming
a scannable, walking charge card, ripe for the picking. Before you know
it there will be no such thing as privacy. Begin this story and step
into that world."
About the Author:
Floyd Flanagan and his wife are longtime residents of Long Beach,
California. In addition to writing, Flanagan's professional career
includes media producer, instructional designer, and systems engineer on
satellite systems with Raytheon. His interest in futurist media began
with the electronic publication of 'Mylar's Warp,' the first online novel in
text format, published on The Source computer network in 1981. His
other writing includes 'MacCats -- 99 Ways to Paint a Cat with MacPaint' and
'Maggie and the Moneysuckle Tree -- a Young Person's Guide to Building
Wealth.' Mr. Flanagan is currently working on a sequel to 'You Bet Your
Skin' and other projects.
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