Shot on iPhone

Newsflash: Privacy Laws on Kalatharir (officially known to humans as Au Microscopii b) are so strict that infants must wear blinders while strolling in a park. This, of course, leads to life-time tunnel-vision. Fortunately, the life-span on this harsh world equates to 15 human years. More than half of that time is spent looking for a mate. These beings continually derive methods to locate, copulate and propagate.

The following account is inspired by the cleverness of lusty Kalathararians.

It began innocently enough. California banned selfies after one too many people fell into an animal enclosure or off a cliff. Other states followed suit. Finally, the Federal Trade Commission was empowered to regulate all manner of personal communication devices. Cameras were banished from phones, smart assistants were prohibited on any device larger than a wristwatch and Tiktok was banned (again.) Video companies fell like rats from a Chipotle’s ceiling.

The cumulative effect of this over-regulation led to the rediscovery of an outdoor activity known as geocaching. Originally developed as a sort of treasure hunt where participants logged their success in finding buried loot, this new incarnation involved broadcasting coordinates to seemingly nondescript edifices. To those in the know, these buildings held clues to other, more interesting locations. The most popular venues were secret photography studios.

Of course, secret was a relative term. Street hustlers sold the whereabouts to bored teenagers with too much cash and free time. These privileged brats couldn’t stop bragging about their latest ‘roids (even though, if pressed, they would never be able to tell anyone the origin of the slang term.) Between complaints received by the FTC of lascivious prints littering little Johnny’s playgrounds and crackdowns on street hustling in general, geocaching awareness reached critical mass and acquiring photographs became the trendy pastime.

Obviously, nobody talked about the seedy underbelly of the studios themselves. Thieves, vagabonds and fugitives found their way to these sites where, for a hefty fee, goods might be fenced, a warm bed provided or new identities crafted. Purveyors of perversion opened pop-up stalls or rented private rooms behind which god only knows what transpired. The anonymity of these enterprises provided the perfect backdrop for the emergent epidemic: ‘roid rage.

Geocachers were lured to certain sites and offered enticing inducements to pose for certain types of photographs. Unfortunately, half of them were executed in the most gruesome fashion, while the other half, oblivious, took salacious pictures and lived to spread the word. The images were sold over the Internet, where they were downloaded to Fitbits and similar watches as clock faces.