This is one of the short stories I submitted for Ad Astra's Sci/Fi Idol contest. Entries had to be 500 words or less, so here's one of the ones I came up with. The idea came from looking at the sticker on the side of every DVD package, and wondering what the Security Device might be.
Security Device Enclosed
By: Timothy Carter
Joey snickered when he saw the warning label on his stolen DVDs: Security Device Enclosed. Woo, scary! What would it be, a note telling him he’d been naughty?
Joey sat down on his couch, picked up his switchblade and cut into the DVD’s plastic wrap. Suddenly, a scrawny teenage boy in a pink V-Mall uniform appeared out of nowhere before him.
“You are in possession of stolen electronic goods,” said the teen, whose nametag identified him as Linus. “Please return them to V-Mall immediately.”
“Where’d you come from?” Joey wanted to know.
“I’m the security device,” Linus said. “They digitized and hid me inside the plastic seal. It’s my job to stay with this unit until the time of purchase, or when the seal is broken by a thief like yourself.”
“That’s kinda freaky,” Joey said. “You get hazard pay for that?”
“I’m a V-Mall employee,” Linus said. “So no.”
“That sucks,” Joey said. “But it’s not my problem. Get lost, kid.”
“I won’t leave without the merchandise,” Linus said, extending an expectant hand. “Please hand them over immediately.”
“And what if I don’t?” Joey said.
“I will take it,” Linus said.
“Hah!” said Joey, planting his foot on Linus’ chest and then shoving him across the room.
“Ow,” Linus said as he rebounded off the wall and landed in a pile of DVDs. “That’s it! You are in for it now, sir.”
“What’re you gonna do?” Joey said. “Ask me nicely again?”
“I am armed,” Linus said, and he produced a small box cutter. Joey laughed, then brandished his switchblade.
“Mine’s bigger’n yours,” Joey said. “Your move, geek.”
Linus smiled. Then he snatched up five DVDs.
Five brand new, stolen DVDs.
“Put those down!” Joey said as realization set in. He was too late; Linus cut through the plastic wraps, and then there were five more pimply teens in pink uniforms in the apartment.
And Linus had another fistful of DVDs in his hands.
“Oh, crap,” Joey cried as the teens charged, box-cutters slashing.
Two hours later, Joey found himself before V-Mall’s head of security. The uniformed teens stood around Joey, looking smug.
“For your crimes,” the security chief said, “you will have to work off the cost of your stolen goods.”
“I gotta work for V-Mall?” said Joey, his face and clothing sporting hundreds of tiny cuts.
“It’s worse than that,” said Linus. “You have to become one of us.”
The security chief pointed a gun-like device at Joey and fired.
“Nooooo!!!” Joey screamed as his entire body was reduced to ones and zeroes.
The next thing he knew he was trapped behind a layer of plastic. Three words were emblazoned on the wrap before him. They read, “Security Device Enclosed.”