Short Stories

The Man Who Owned Mars

From the reddit writing prompt: As a joke you saw a website that said “Purchase half of Mars now for cheap!” You paid the $49.99 and received a deed. 10 years later the earth is In shambles and everyone is shipping off to Mars. Luckily you own half of it.

I read a news story a long time ago about a guy who bought Google. It was just some random guy who happened to be in the right place at the right time and the lucky bastard bought the Google domain for some ridiculously cheap amount. I was amazed when I read it, thinking that this guy was surely a millionaire now, that he’d sold the domain back for some ridiculous amount of money that no normal person would ever see. When I found out that he sold it back for basically nothing, I thought he was the biggest idiot I’d ever heard of in my life. What a waste.

Well, that story was still floating around in my mind ten years ago when I stumbled upon a website that was selling pieces of Mars. Not the candy bar. The actual fucking planet. I thought it was a pretty good joke when I first saw it, and even shared it with some friends to let them see how absurd it was. That’s what I told myself, anyway. Looking back, I think I knew from the start that there was something odd about the site. It didn’t feel like a joke. It felt like the real thing.

Along came the quarantine of 2020. I was home alone and I was bored, so I decided to get a little drunk. What the hell else did we have to do? A few hours in, I start thinking about that website again. It had just never really left my mind. I called my buddy Joe.

“I think this is legit,” I said. “I mean, I’ve been looking this over and I really think they’re selling Mars right now.”

“You’re a fucking idiot,” he said. “You can’t buy a planet! There are laws and shit about that.”

“No, I think they found a loophole. It really looks legit. And they’re even doing a special right now. $49.99 for half the planet.”

“Dude,” Joe said, his exasperated voice kicking in. He got that with me a lot. “Do not buy Mars. Don’t buy anything from these people. It’s a scam. You’re gonna be pissed at yourself tomorrow if you do this!” He hung up on me, and I mentally told him to go fuck himself. He was wrong.

Turns out, Joe was right about one thing, at least. I was pissed at myself the next day. I was pissed at myself for the next month. They even sent me an invoice and a deed to my new land on Mars. It was absurd, and I was so embarrassed that I never told anybody about it.

But, as the quarantine dragged on longer, and things started getting worse, it fell from my mind. I wasn’t worried about the $50 I wasted on some fake website buying Mars. I was worried about finding a job, staying safe, and standing in line for food.

Then the war started between the US and China over who started the virus. Everything just kept getting worse for the planet. And for me.

Until a month ago when a nerdy little man knocked on my door in the middle of the day. People hadn’t knocked on each other’s doors in ten years, what the hell was he doing?

“What do you want?”

“Are you Brian Thomas?”


“We need to talk to you. I’m from NASA. We, uh… we need to buy Mars back from you.”

We’ve been in negotiations ever since. Despite my best efforts, I find myself thinking back to that guy who bought Google. How he had the chance to be financially set for life and passed on it. I think about it a lot, and I’m finally starting to understand why he did it. Why he did the right thing and didn’t capitalize on some oversight. I get it, and I truly respect his decision.

But fuck that guy. I’M GETTIN PAID, Y’ALL!!!!!!

It’s a pretty silly little story, but it made me laugh when I wrote it. As always, I gladly welcome any feedback of where I went wrong and what I could do better. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. You’re awesome!

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