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The Classifieds

Jack Bragen worked in home electronics repair in his twenties and is retired from traditional employment due to a medical condition. He writes a column for the Berkeley Daily Planet, called "On Mental Illness." He has written commentary pieces for a number of other publications, as well, ranging from East Bay Times, to Mindfulness Bell, a Buddhist magazine. His fiction has appeared in Bewildering Stories, and The Street Spirit, among other publications. He lives with his wife, Joanna, in Martinez, California.
BODY FOR SALE, LEASE OR TRADE:
Must have transaction soon!!! This male specimen is a bargain! Owner threatened with foreclosure. Male, 33 years, fully intact, 145 I.Q., with numerous apps and utilities. Height, 5'11. Weight, 220 Lb, 34" waist and 44" chest, with toned and developed skeletal muscle. Has minor kidney issue. Tele calls only, please--no electronic solicitations.
LONG RANGE TOYOTA #3 CLASS SPACECRAFT AT A DISCOUNT:
Will accept physical currency only--no electronic payment. This powerful, luxurious, interplanetary range camper has had only one owner, and will make it to outer planets and back on one tankful of propellant. All features in working order. Owner is upgrading. Immaculate condition!! Contact: @# - 6700-555-##33.
ANCIENT CATTLE HERD, BUTCHERED AND IN DEEP FREEZE:
For people with special nutritional needs, or perhaps a meat fetish. This is a lifetime supply of "beef" for those who can't tolerate synthetic food, soy protein, and the like. Or keep as collector's item. No spoilage!! Lot is in excess of 5 tons. Previous owner deceased and was disallowed from new body, due to legal issues. This store will be auctioned off on 5/25/3012 beginning at 8 a.m. Prime Meridian Time. Contact: auctions@martiancorrectionsdept.
SECURITY ROBOTS, OUTDATED, FOR SCRAP OR SPARE PARTS:
Come see my inventory of pristine albeit outdated hardware! Good for hobbyists, or educating teens. Buyer can make a profit if dismantled and recycled, or items can be used for some light security situations [seller makes no guarantees of effectiveness]. Haul them away and they're yours--I need them out of here! Please just show up--do not contact. Be polite please. Will not "part out." Buyer must take away entire lot. 5555 Airline Blvd. Ste. 11995.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017


I recall that when I did house calls as a self-employed television repairman, and later as a computer repairman, I could find cheap and cost effective advertising in the classified newspapers that have since been replaced by Craig's List. I also helped a relative sell used furniture in classified ads, and was able to spot the fraudulent replies, versus the legitimate ones.

I felt that this could be a good format for a window into the future--an inverted time capsule. I'd also heard of time capsules into which people would put newspapers. While this is fictional, I thought it might give us a glimpse of what the future could look like.

- Jack Bragen

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