Welcome, one and all, to the Fight Palace, home of the brutal pastime known as Slaughter Sport. In the pit before you, two seasoned warriors will do battle for your entertainment. The victor will survive. The vanquished will become dinner for the Thrasharks. Many of you have traveled far to be here, from the selenium mines of Cygnus V or the icy wastes of Gethen. You seek pain, carnage and gore-soaked mayhem, and I promise you, tonight's spectacle will not disappoint.
But before we begin the first match, between two merciless foes who crave anguished screams the way some of us crave oxygen, I have one request. Will the woman in the third row please stop texting?
Yes, you in the blue jacket. You've been on your phone since you got here. Am I boring you? Does the flesh-rending, bone-splintering brutality of my Palace put you to sleep? In the arena, a moment can mean the difference between life and excruciating death, but clearly a moment of your time is too much to ask.
Fine, keep ignoring me. I'm certain that message to your boyfriend about last night's party is quite important. Far more important than punishing holds and tendon-ripping special moves. Or perhaps you're shopping for furniture on etsy. I hope the slaughter match doesn't distract you from finding the perfect lamp. I will tell my warriors to keep it down.
Speaking of the warriors, have you seen them? One is a six-foot arachnoid who spits acid venom. She starves herself for weeks before fights to whet her appetite for opponents' entrails. The other is a nuclear-powered cyborg with buzz saws for hands. His kills look like the dissection table in your high-school biology class. Their savagery, unthinkable as it seems to a sapien like yourself, adheres to a code. They honor each other's flesh by showing it no mercy - only the purest, cruelest violence will suffice. By texting during their match, you disrespect that code. Were you a fighter in the ring, the Thrasharks would not deign to devour you.
When I was your age, centuries ago, we didn't have texts or emojis. I was spawned in the blood dens of Glurst, where the only language was murder and ceaseless torment. My brethren and I didn't have wikihow to tell us how to snap each other's spines. We didn't have Google Maps to lead us to the nests of the glurstian razorbeasts we hunted with bone spears for sport, but we did just fine. Better, I'd venture, than your generation, with your twitters and instagrams. You may have limitless knowledge and hilarious cat videos at your fingertips, but you forget the eternal verities of death, torture and dismemberment.
Very well, continue texting. I will wait until you're done. A few minutes are nothing to an immortal like myself. The souls of slain combatants sustain me. I can wait until this whole palace turns to dust, until the last atom of your body disintegrates.
Be warned, though, I have a strong social media presence, and this will definitely be in my next blog.
This space-age device is a cardboard box with two holes in it. The operative sticks a hand in one end. The contact inserts a hand in the other end. With both hands shielded from prying eyes, a secret handshake can commence.
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