29. Oceans

You said offhandedly that you wanted an ocean, so on a lark I looked into it. I figured it would be a great surprise for your birthday, one that might cause you to make that squeaky sound of delight when I unveiled it. I love that sound you make.

Anyway, it turns out that oceans are readily available and reasonably priced. Who knew? You can pick up an ocean for about five grand. Mind you, that’s for a small ocean; we’re talking maybe 5 million square miles of surface area with an average depth of around 9,000 feet. If you want to get into something more in line with, say, the Indian Ocean (28.5 million square miles, average depth 13,000 feet), you’re talking 7 grand. This is the optimal ocean size to go for if you want maximum volume for the buck. Bigger than that and the prices spike quite sharply. If you want to get into Atlantic Ocean territory (41 million square miles, average depth 12,000 feet), you’re talking about 19 grand. And the Pacific? Ha! At 64 million square miles and an average depth of 13,000 feet, buying a comparable ocean would set you back 85 grand.

So yeah, I was obviously looking at the Indian Ocean range. The store I had decided to buy from (Flora’s Ocean Emporium) had three in stock. One was pre-owned but refurbished and certified. It was the largest and also the cheapest, but I wanted a new ocean for you. So that was out. Of the remaining two, one had a lot of reef action with beautiful formations and fish, so I opted for it even though it was the smallest of the three (a mere 26 million square miles and average depth of 12,000 feet), and wasn’t the cheapest.

That was where the problem came up.

“And how were you wishing to transport and store your ocean, sir?” asked the saleswoman.

I hadn’t thought of that. Seems silly that I hadn’t, but there you go. As it turns out, ocean storage and maintenance can get pretty hairy. We’re talking extra-dimensional spaces, entropy dampeners, gravity simulators, some kind of portal technology that I’d never even heard of, and some other things that I’d also never heard of. All of which obviously requires quite a bit of power. Like, enough power to power New York City for fifty years. Per millisecond.

The bottom line? Maintaining and storing an ocean costs about 18 billion dollars per month.

“Well, that torpedoes that birthday plan,” I said dejectedly, shoving my hands in my pockets.

“There is. . . an alternative payment option,” the saleswoman said.


“For a one-time fee, we will permanently house and maintain your ocean for as long as you own it. In addition, we will establish an island paradise resort at a latitude equivalent of your choosing. Staffed by robots, the resort will be available to you year-round as a vacation get-away. In addition, the purchase price of the ocean itself is waived.”

She paused, waiting for her words to fully sink in. Then she said, “Are you interested?”

“You bet,” I replied. “What’s the fee?”

“Your appendix.”

They had the facilities to remove my appendix on site, and could perform the out-patient procedure in a few minutes. I did ask what they wanted my appendix for, but they said answering the question would nullify the agreement, so I let it go. They used some sort of funky laser/teleporter thing for the operation. It left a little mark, but that’s about it. I didn’t feel a thing. Four seconds under the device, and I was one appendix lighter.

So anyway, that’s how I got you this Pacific-class ocean (62 million square miles, average depth 12,500 feet) for your birthday, along with the ultimate vacation spot for the rest of our lives. It’s also how I got the small scar you asked about. But I got to hear you make the squeaky sound.

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