by Chris Prioleau
I've been tracking down red sleeves for these people for over 11 years, damn near since the beginning. Been up and down this country from Tallahasse to Chickaloon, sea to shining sea. Pirates and dead beats as far as the eye can wander.
I was invited to go golfing with Reed Hastings – Mr. Netflix himself – once. Nice guy. You know the first thing he did? Soon as we was introduced he looked me dead in the eye, took my hand solid and firm like he was milking a cow, and said: “You're doing a hell of a job Mike.” My name's Mitch. It's okay though. I don't do this for him.
There was this kid a couple years ago, Haitian kid couldn't be more than twenty five, we caught him on 8th avenue New York City selling stolen discs at a stand outside an Olive Garden. He wasn't even trying to hide it, out in broad daylight with most of the discs still rubber banded to the sleeves and big ol' sign saying “$5 NETFLIX SURPLUS! COME SEE! COME SEE!” Dumbass said he had a deal with us going, something like he gets the extra DVDs that we don't need. Can you believe that? I chased that kid six blocks; and these weren't your typical Bumfuck, Iowa blocks neither. These were six Big Apple cattle and commerce blocks. So here I am shoving normal people, good renters, to the ground just to get ahold of this two-bit bootlegger and when I finally do collar him, guess what? He's laughing. Some little girl in Hell's Kitchen has to wait until Wednesday to watch The Incredibles because this scumbag has been taking envelopes from her mama's mailbox and here he is, laughing in her face, asking: “what's the big deal?” Christ.
It's them I do this for you know. The latchkeys, sticky faces and sad eyes, innocence hinged on the belief in a timely red envelope, brimming with the promise of joy and escape, like Santa's bag of treats.
In the future there'll be more like us, believe me, all you gotta do is turn on the TV. They'll try to lie to you, try to hide the inner workings of the great machine, but if you watch close enough you'll see us in the margins. We are the black boxes in your widescreen, making your picture safer.
You wanna know what I'm talking about? Just the other day President Obama himself (never met the guy but I've taken a look at his queue and it holds way too many foreign films for my liking) ambled onto your TV screen and, with the repose of a film star, told you that we were out of Iraq. Now I've never been one to not give the devil his due, the man was half way right. You are out of Iraq. You don't have to waste another half-second wondering if Auntie Sew-&-So is gonna get blown to high hell in front of some Karbalan palace of rubble. We, on the other hand, are still there. We are men without country, guardians of industry, and we're just the beginning.
Ships in just one business day.