Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Refersday

"Come one, come all, to a shocking event of electricizastic deals at Lucas Cars! This Thursday will become known as Refersday! Refer a friend to our dealership and you'll both, that's right, you'll both receive a fantasmagratic gift!" screamed Lucas, owner of Lucas cars, on Jack's little television. Jack turned to his friend Jill.

"Didn't you just buy a car from them?" Jack asked.

"Yeah," Jill said. "They're super helpful."

"Maybe we should see what this gift is. I've been meaning to get a new car since my last one was stolen. I got some fat insurance money burning a hole in my bank account."

Jill drove Jack over to Lucas Cars. Jack found a cheap Jupiter brand car, a late-model Grand Earl and negotiated a great price with Lucas himself. Over the course of the morning he forgot all about the Refersday prize, until Lucas returned from filing the loan papers with two jewelry boxes.

"And you, miss, referred Jack here?" Lucas asked. "I remember that you were in here last week. How's the Hunda Citizen?"

"It's great."

"Good, good," Lucas said. "And here are your Refersday prizes!" He handed them each a jewelry box.

Jack opened his to reveal a big, fat man's ring with an enormous emerald in the center. Jill's contained a petite woman's ring with a no less honking ruby in the setting.

"Holy shit!" Lucas said. He frowned at Lucas.

"Are these real?"

"Yes!" Lucas said, grinning. "Are you shocked? You look shocked. I said that you'd be shocked in the commercial, didn't I?"

Jill nodded. She'd never handled an object worth as much as this ring if it were a ruby of even moderate quality.

"Thank you for coming in and call me if you have any problems with the car!" Lucas said.

Jack and Jill stood out by his new-to-him Grand Earl. They tried putting on the rings. They fit perfectly on the first try.

"How did he know my ring size?" Jack asked aloud.

"I don't know. They pride themselves on customer service, but I can't imagine a situation where they found out our ring size without it bordering on customer stalking," Jill said.

"I'll take it, I guess. I'll probably sell it. Even a crappy emerald of this size has got to be worth my down payment!"

"Yeah. I might get it appraised after lunch. I have a date with my husband."

"Cool," Jack said. They parted ways and Jack went home. He'd read all the way through to the routine maintenance section of the Grand Earl's owner's manual when he picked up his phone and stared at it. It rang a second later. It was Jill.

"Weird. I just picked up my phone to stare at it when you called. How's the ring?"

"Terrible. My husband and I went to the jeweler to get it appraised. I couldn't get it off. The jeweler couldn't get it off. We tried oil and soap and some weird lube that they have called Cosmoglide. It's stuck."

"Strange," Jack said. The idea of having a ring stuck on his finger make him panic, so he tried to pull his off. It wouldn't budge. It kept knocking against his knuckle while he began to hyperventilate.

"I can't get mine off, either. I'm flipping out!"

"I am too! And I never flip out about rings getting stuck on my fingers!"

Jack heard the click of a lighter in the phone and tasted cigarette smoke.

"Are you smoking?"

"Yes, to calm down."

"I can smell it," Jack said.

"What?"

"Menthols, right?"

"You know that I smoke menthols, though," Jill said.

Jack recalled a story from his childhood about telesthesia, the ability to sense things telepathically.

"Hang on," Jack said, and went into the kitchen and poured himself a shot of whisky. He threw it into his mouth and let the alcohol burn his tongue for a minute before swallowing it.

"Oh, yuck, I taste whisky!" Jill said in the phone.

"What brand?" Jack asked, thinking about the label.

"Ole Wilson's," Jill said, "but I don't know why I said that.

"Because I was thinking about Ole Wilson's. Lucas gave us cursed rings!"

"Cursed, how? This is amazing!"

"Amazing except we can't get them off! There are all sorts of reasons that it's good that people can't read each other's minds. Some of us have inappropriate thoughts," Jack said.

Jill paused. "Oh, god, you really think about doing that with me?"

"See?!" Jack said. "Wait. Oh man. You're one to judge, Miss Pot calling me black."

"You're right, these are cursed," Jill said, both of them sharing a moment of intense embarrassment that was amplified by feeling it for two people.

"That bastard Lucas is responsible!"

They met at Lucas' car shop, which was on fire. A small crowd of other people, each wearing a ring with a huge gemstone, milled around as the flames consumed the building. The stench of burning tires filled the air as the showroom became a crematorium for the cars within. The paint burned off to reveal their grey steel skeletons.

"Did the rest of you get cursed rings for Refersday?" Jack asked.

"Yep," said one of the bystanders. "Ruined my marriage within an hour. My wife referred me."

"You think that's bad," said another, "one of my coworkers referred me. All I can say is that somebody should've told me about the smell. I would've done something. Now I can never show my face in the office again."

"Or your smell," said another guy, hanging his head.

"Listen, I'll go public with those dioramas that you've built in your basement out of GI Joes. It ain't illegal but it should be!" the first coworker said.

"Has anybody been able to get them off?" Jack asked. Everyone shook their heads.

The fire department arrived and did nothing for the flames. Jack noticed that several of the firefighters wore Refersday rings on their hands.

"There's only one thing to do," Jack said to the crowd.

The town became world famous for its annual festival, where amazing feats of telepathy were performed.

The Moral: the first person to use the phrase "sounds like somebody has a case of the Refersdays" will have their mind exploded with mind bombs.

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