Chapter 4: Cableism

Chapter 4: Cableism

A Chapter by Cameron Lockhart

A brilliant new device becomes available in the afterlife, which just might play a role in the Seymour family's plans.


"Good afternoon, I'm Pietro Vicciotelli! In some breaking news today, a new product is hot off the press and is available to the public: the AngelTech Box!" a man with long, frizzy black hair and a matching mustache spoke from the TV screen one day. A picture of what looked to be an ordinary cable box appeared next to him, sporting an antenna with a halo around the end. "It's a brand spanking new product that allows the user to look down on their living loved ones from the comfort of their living room. For the longest time, people would always say, 'Oh, don't fret about losing him. He's always looking down at us.' Well, now that can become a reality!"

Watching that news report were Ike and Eli, both sitting on the former's couch with glasses of scotch and a shared expression of intrigue.

"As we speak, billions of these boxes are being sent out to people all over the posthumous world, completely free of shipping and handling costs. All you need to do upon obtaining this product is plunk it down near your TV, where it will wirelessly connect, no annoying HDMI extensions necessary," Pietro continued. "And the best part is, it also allows access to all channels available through cable and satellite combined!"

"Huh, doesn't sound like a half-bad deal," Ike commented.

"See? Laissez-faire capitalism isn't all bad," Eli replied.

Before anything more could be said, the front door was kicked open as a white woman barged in, sporting a muscle-coated hourglass figure and white-tipped dreadlocks styled into a messy bun. Hurrying over to the TV set with a box in her arms, she ripped it open, spilling lavender packing peanuts all over the living room as she pulled out the AngelTech Box and set it right next to the television.

"Ah, Robyn. Perfect timing," Ike said.

"Would've been a little slower if I hadn't been camping out right by the mailbox," Robyn giggled, parking herself between the guys as she snatched the remote from Eli's hand. "Now c'mon, let's get to spying!"

"Alright then, why not start with you?"

"Nah, I was a hooker, remember? No one misses me. But you two on the other hand…"

Robyn pressed the power button on the second remote, which came with the new cable box, and then pressed "Input" a couple of times on the old remote, causing the screen to display footage of what looked to be a football game back on earth, between the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins.

"Wait, why is it showing us this?" Eli raised a thick eyebrow.

"Well it's been years since I last saw him, but… I do recall how much Lucius loved sports," Ike replied. "I guess maybe he became an athlete in my absence?"

"Looks like it." Robyn pointed to one of the players, who bore an uncanny resemblance to her husband, albeit with slightly darker hair. Turning around, she could see the words "Van Dyke" on the back of his jersey. "Man, it's a real shame you're not alive. Then you could ride his coattails."

"All I know is, I couldn't be more proud of him."

Refilling their drinks, the trio remained on the couch, hollering and cheering as they watched the last of the game, culminating in the Broncos claiming victory.

"Yahoo! Yes!" Ike shouted as he leapt from the couch, unintentionally splashing scotch onto his wife and best friend. "That's my boy down there!"

"No kidding… ooh, and it looks your boy's down there too, Eli." Robyn pointed at the screen.

"Please, that couldn't be-" Eli cut himself off, widening his hazel eyes.

On the screen, Lucius stood next to a reporter who had come onto the field, tuning out the rejoicing from the fellow athletes and cheerleaders in the background.

"Well like always, I'm just in it for the thrills. Winning is great, but it isn't everything," he said. "And boy did I not think the Broncos would ever make it to the Super Bowl in my lifetime, but lo and behold, heh! I'd like to dedicate this victory to my dad, who I love and miss everyday, and can only hope saw this from wherever he ended up. In addition, I'd also like to dedicate this to my wonderful husband, Chris."

Right on cue, a man who looked almost exactly like Eli, save for some marbled glasses and a gray yarmulka pinned to his hair, scurried over and allowed himself to be wrapped in his brawny arm, pecking his cheek all the while.

"Wait, your son is gay… or bi?" Eli asked. "And he's married to my son?"

"Is that a problem?" Ike replied.

"Not at all! I just didn't think we'd ever end up as in-laws!"

"I… honestly don't know how to respond right now," Robyn spoke with an equally bemused look on her face.

Back at Seymour Manor a couple of towns over, Mike Jr. was once again in his room, sitting on the end of his bed. He mashed away on the buttons of his controller as he resumed the M-rated hack-and-slash he'd been playing the other day before his family had rudely interrupted him with their antics. He didn't exactly come off as the brightest guy around, but when it came to video games, nothing else allowed him to show off just how clever and skilled he could be… well, that and stirring up trouble. Not even his sister, who was perhaps the most intelligent person he knew, could beat him in a video game.

"Alright, just a little more, and then I'll be rewarded with another stripper pose…" Mike Jr. mused, sweat surfacing on his temples as he leaned forward.

"Blam!" Josephine abruptly kicked the door open and smacked an AngelTech Box on top of the monitor, shutting off the video game in the process as static covered the screen for a moment.

"Aaaggghhh! Damn it, damn it all! What the f**k was that for, Josie?!"

"What did we say about calling me that?"

"I don't care! You deserve it for being such a b***h all the time! Why are you bothering me?!"

"Because A, this was the nearest TV I could find, and B, I'm trying to get my big crime for the day done so Mom can stop nagging me," Josephine explained.

"Okay, but what the hell is that thing?" Mike Jr. pointed at the new cable box.

"I dunno, it's just something that showed up on the doorstep. Apparently it lets us spy on the people we left behind on Earth."

"Huh, well then why didn't you lead with that?"

Saying no more, Josephine sat next to her brother and watched as the screen turned on again. The twins caught a glimpse into a fancy master suite; a woman with an hourglass figure and tan hair stood beside the bed, making out with a more muscular, bespectacled woman with curled hair in a similar but not identical shade.

"Whoa-ho!" Mike Jr.'s eyes lit up at the hot sight before him.

"Keep your thirst to yourself, please." Josephine rolled her eyes. "Say, isn't that Justine?"

"Didn't think you cared enough to remember names."

"Well I don't think I could ever forget the names of those annoying twins… though weirdly, I'm not seeing her lame brother. I always assumed they were an inseparable pair."

"Well let's find out, then!" Mike Jr. snatched the remote from his sister's hand, hitting the Channel+ button and causing the screen's image to change.

Soon enough, an average-built man with curly black hair and an unmistakable pair of thin, gold glasses appeared on screen, preparing what looked like a homemade bolognese sauce in his high-end kitchen. He added an eyeballed amount of red wine to the mix, lighting the pan up in flames for a bit, before it cooled down and he continued to stir it, taking a spoonful to test the flavor. Wasn't long until a short woman approached him, her choppy blonde hair crowned with a fleur de lis-covered bandana, and her hourglass figure marbled with fat. She held a giggling toddler in just one arm as she kissed his cheek, prompting him to offer some spoonfuls to his wife and daughter, which they both seemed to love.

As they watched the small family laugh and exchange affectionate gestures, the twins could feel their facial expressions softening up a bit. Mike Jr. looked a little touched, his usual aloof smirk being replaced with a more kind one, while Josephine's typical glare was traded for a look of intrigue.

"Sooo, uh… are we sure these are the same losers we antagonized all those years ago?" Mike Jr. scratched his head.

"Well why else would that cable box link us to them?" Josephine replied. "Man, I have to say, Mark Jr.'s really grown into his looks. He's kinda' cute… in that beta-male sort of way… but yeah, I dunno about you, but I honestly don't feel like bullying those two anymore. Not when they look so damn happy."

"You said it."

"Come to think of it, I seem to recall Mom talking in her sleep about wanting to bridge the gap between heaven and earth or some s**t… she wasn't planning on having us seek revenge on those twins, was she? Was it all part of Mom's latest sinister plan?"

"I dunno, but I am not on board. When Mom and Dad said we were evil, I thought we'd just be making trouble and having fun, not this!"

"Kids, dinnertime!" Katherine hollered from elsewhere in the house. "And don't forget to wash up! We're evil, not uncivilized!"

"Ugh, c'mon, let's go." Josephine rolled her eyes, standing up from the bed.

For dinner, the Seymours had lamb and veal fajitas on sweet corn tortillas, with a shredded Mexican cheese blend available as an optional topping. It was a vast departure from Katherine's German roots, but given how often she adhered to them whenever she cooked, it was more than a welcome change of pace… well, to Mike Jr. anyway. His sister didn't seem to dislike her food, but she ate politely and quietly, her trademark glare not leaving her face for even a moment. Compare that to her twin, who returned to the table with his fifth helping.

"Don't you ever stop eating?" Josephine mumbled, appearing a little disturbed.

"Hey, I'm a growing boy, and I work out. Cut me some slack." Mike Jr. shrugged, biting into his fajita. One of the pepper strips failed to break off on his teeth, so he slurped it up just as he caught it hanging out of his mouth.

"You're eighteen, you idiot."

"Really liking the attitude there, young lady." Katherine winked, flicking her empty fork at her daughter. "Besides, he's evil. He doesn't need to set a good example by eating a healthy portion."

"Sure, just take his side. Take his goddamn side like you always do!"

"Yeah, that's it. Keep it up."


"So that aside, how was everyone's day?" Katherine wiped her mouth with a cloth napkin.

"Eh, not much to write home about. I got in a workout and some minor crimes around town, and then I tried to beat the newest Bayonetta game, but then this c**t barged in and ruined it for me again!" Mike Jr. vented, spreading his brawny arms as his fingers were curled towards the ceiling.

"Hey now, watch the word choice! We're not that evil!"

"S-Sorry, Mom."

"But we also received our AngelTech box in the mail this afternoon," Josephine chimed in. "Apparently it's a new type of cable box that lets us spy on our living acquaintances."

"Living acquaintances, you say?" Katherine tapped her chin with the lit end of her cigarette. "Like who?"

"Well apparently, they define acquaintance as anyone you've ever talked to in life. Because we were able to look down on those windbag twins we shared an island with way back when."

"Pfft, like we'd ever consider those losers our friends." Mike Jr. sneered.

"But yeah, I'm sure we could also use it to see Dad again, but we didn't bother testing it out."

"Fascinating…" Katherine aimed her exhaled smoke away from the table, pausing for a bit before she abruptly stood up. "Er, why don't you two get started on doing the dishes and putting away the leftovers? I, uh… have to do something."

"I call dish duty!" Mike Jr. leapt out of his chair.

"Oh no, you don't! You're probably just gonna eat everyone else's scraps like the slob you are!" Josephine barked back.

"Well for a slob, I sure look pretty damn good."

Later that night, once both of her children were soundly asleep, Katherine snuck into her son's room, where the AngelTech box was still on top of the TV. A snoring, shirtless Mike Jr. lay skewed across the top of his bed, his lowered pants bunched around his ankles and a lewd magazine conveniently placed over his manhood. All the while those two lesbians from earlier could still be seen making love on the TV screen. Katherine gagged and did a double-take at the sight, quickly snatching up the cable box and slinking into her own master suite.

Setting the box next to her own TV, Katherine flinched a bit as the two devices immediately connected, a few seconds of white noise and static quickly giving way to a rather depressing scene. Inside a darkened prison cell was a thin man with a bleached blonde buzz-cut and teal eyes, clad in an orange jumpsuit that was even brighter than the other two features. He was barely visible under the moon as it shone through his skylight, curled up on his bench-like bed, appearing to be asleep, but not looking comfortable in the slightest.

"Wait, wha? Beloved, th-they… they arrested you?" Katherine's eyes widened as she put a hand over her mouth, not caring that she was leaning in too close to the screen. "B-But how… wh-what did you even do to deserve…?"

A long pause was in order.

"You know what? I don't even care!" she said at last. "All that matters is that I will do whatever it takes to bust you out of there… even if it means moving heaven and earth!"

© 2022 Cameron Lockhart

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Added on September 13, 2022
Last Updated on September 13, 2022
Tags: antihero, afterlife, action, humor, family, drama, comedy, redemption


Cameron Lockhart
Cameron Lockhart

Charleston, SC

I've loved writing ever since I could properly hold a pencil, and I currently strive to become a published author someday. In 2021, I earned a BA in Creative Writing; I primarily focused on prose and .. more..