Sunday, January 7, 2024

"Tales of the $50 Assassin," a review


Vaporware Publications has struck again, with this unpublished anthology. While I have tried reviewing other works pre-publication, I haven't found that to be quite satisfactory. It usually means that I have to re-submit a review, or at least make late edits, both due to changes in content as well as the needs of review ratings. 

In this case, I've gone a bit further, and publish this review before the book actually gets written. Why? Well, in the first place, if I don't publish it before it gets written, I'll likely NEVER publish it, since this is the most vaporous of Vaporware's offerings; that fictional company doesn't even know this anthology exists. In the second place, my Reading Muse and my Reviewing Muse appear to have taken an extended break, and my output of ACTUAL book reviews has dropped as close to zero as I can imagine. Will this provide incentive? Don't know, but it really can't drop BELOW zero.

Therefore, here is my review a collection of unwritten short stories entitled "Tales of the $50 Assassin."

The only prescribed story elements are: 

  • Homicide is legal, IF performed by an assassin who has taken a contract for $50; 
  • Any amount ABOVE $50, and the act is treated as a murder; 
  • The only requirement to become an assassin is accepting a contract.

This is Volume 1, which is divided into six parts, unrelated except insofar as they deal with aspects of the legal $50 homicide. I am aware that other divisions exist, but as to whether that Vaporware Product will come forth/be expelled, I do not know. 

There are currently 27 Constitutional Amendments. The $50 Assassin emerges from the 30th Amendment. Don't let that bother you. Actually, don't let anything bother you. 

Part 1: ORIGIN 

The grandiose dreams of the author demanded an origin story, off-the-rack. Do not be disillusioned, though; there are PLENTY of left unresolved by this (admittedly clever) background. 
The politics behind ramming through the 30th Amendment, declaring an open season of  As-You-Wish& Do-It-Yourself capital punishment, results in substantial backlash. Dare we call that: CAPITOL PUNISHMENT?
Also in this section: How do you de-regulate something before you even regulate it? 


What’s the first thing you need, if you want to establish a specialty school? If your answer is ‘Mission Statement,’ you’re overthinking. How about: a budget? 
Tuition MUST be tied in to income potential, and with that limited to $50 per assassination, you’d BETTER have an alternative income stream. Wonder where THAT could be found?
Also in this section: forget the plasma lasers; in fact, forget fancy gear. This is retail killing done at wholesale rates. How you gonna afford to get the job done? (Special thanks to Richard K. Hopkins, Tully D. Roberts, and Martin C Wright for their input!)


Making the job legal isn’t enough to get people to sign on. Do you actually think you can pull your truck up to the local labor pool collection point, and yell “I need three killers today?” That will NOT work! How do you persuade a licensed assassin to take YOUR contract?
Also: in the Land of the Redneck, it’s understood that some people need a good killin’ ; however, that need will go unmet, until the right combination of TARGET and OPERATOR is found. Yer average Bubba could fit into either category, on any particular day. 


In the first 20 minutes after the bill became law, members of the Congress realized they had overlooked some significant aspects of the 30th Amendment; Capitol police seemed unsure what to do with the first group of (presumed) license holders lining up for entry to the Senate chamber.


Just because a killing is legal, that doesn’t excuse bad manners. What constitutes a “public disruption” when contract homicide is perfectly legal? One advocate for the license pointed out that no one considered charging a baseball player with creating a public disruption when they hit a home run! Still, the potential for unintended human and property damage was always present. The assassination of Captain Shingledecker on a Spirit Airlines early morning ATL>MIA hop was often mentioned in this context.


The 30th Amendment stated that the only requirement to become an assassin was accepting a contract. The intent behind this provision was clear; it was to prevent assassination from being an option only available to the rich. However, it quickly was discovered that a class of sufficiently alienated six-year-olds could work a word problem involving snack money and the elimination of a particularly nasty teacher.
Certain middle-school teachers were observed to be taking notes on student behavior, far in excess of that required to document non-standard educational issues. Requests for extended leave meet with success, more often than not.
Within a few weeks, some educators at the college and university level attempt to insert a provision in the syllabi stating that assassination of the instructor will result in the entire class failing the course. After a protracted battle, a new plan emerges.

And that's the review of Volume 1. Future volumes will likely be ignored.

LEGAL THING:  I am the creator of this intellectual property, and I grant to any interested party the privilege of using these ideas as they see fit. A mention of my authorship would be nice, but: story above all. 

Peace be on your household.