Friday, June 01, 2007

Free-Write Fridays

Alright. Keep in mind this is my first try...and while Melissa's suggestion was exactly what I was looking for, my mother's suggestions were either humiliatingly useless because I already used it for real, or intensely grotesque (can any one say "Psychic Stick?"), so, having been rattled by that one, I'm going to attempt my first Free Write Friday. Maybe some day I will come up with a prize for if I pick your suggestion. Like, I'll help you load an old softlines rack into your Saturn. That sounds like a good prize for this week.

This week's winning suggestion comes from Melissa:

Short story, an older man, is afraid (I'll let your creativity come up with a reason why!) of his Nintendo Funbox.

Melissa wins the aforementioned help loading a softlines rack into a Saturn Vue.


June 2007

It sat there, this little white rectangular wedge, and it perturbed him to no end. It wasn't that he was afraid of technology; not by a long shot. Even at 70, Pat McGinley was no stranger to the modern world. In an era when his grandkids were teaching his own kids how to work their PCs, he was upgrading hardware and software for the software at City Hall. He was an alderman, had been for years, and had noticed in the last two decades that as his peers moved to Florida, into homes or died out, they were replaced by younger people, not unlike he had replaced some old town elder, been on the cutting edge. He was the first on his block to own a color television, and he continued the trend long after his beloved Margaret died of cancer; he was the first to throw out his old analog television for a brand new Sony Hi-def.

No, it wasn't the technology that scared him. Nor was it the price; had he not shelled out over $2000 for the new Xbox 360 just a year before, buying one each for his children and one for himself so the grandkids had something to do when they visited? The week before, he had debated dropping a considerably larger sum on the PS3, but the man at the counter had advised him to wait.

"Come back when we launch the Nintendo," the loud youth with a buzz cut had said. "That's the one you want. I mean, the PS3 is impressive, and the graphics are a sight better than the old PS2, and even tweaked a bit over the 360, but the gameplay hasn't changed since the days of the N64, really."

"Or the Sega Saturn," Pat added, wanting to show that here was no meer old codger; here was a man who knew what it was like. His guilty pleasures had always included an engrossing foray into video gaming since the days of the Atari. Even now, his favorite thing to do after Church on a Sunday was to rip through a couple levels of Grand Theft Auto to blow off some steam.

"But the Wii," continued the clerk at the electronics counter, "is going to revolutionize the way games are played." He went on to explain the innovative new controllers, the ever present online connection, the ability to play your existing Gamecube library (Pat's granddaughter Abby loved Mario Party 6), the capability to download and play games from every Nintendo and Sega system since the NES. This pushed Pat over the brink; his Genesis had broken and he dearly missed Toejam and Earl. He thanked the man and found himself waiting overnight in front of a retailer just to buy this small, innovative device, purchased extra remotes and enough nunchuck attachments, a Wii points card and four classic controllers. He told himself he would not buy them for his grandchildren, yet. They hadn't yet gotten a full year out of the last system he gave them; no, this would be something for him, a novelty to entice his grandchildren, to make them plead, "Mommy, Daddy...let's go to Grandpa's, please?"

He had connected it, he had iserted the provided free game, and had started to play it when something started to nag at him. The people depicted on the screen, the way they were mere triangles stacked on top of each other, with bland, angular features; it wasn't the drop in quality that bothered him. He had seen the video game evolve from Pong to Gears of War and everything in between, but the people in the Wii Sports game started haunting his nightmares more than Mr. Blinky, Bowser or Covenant Death Squads ever could. He woke up in cold sweats, fearing the triangular wrath of his bowling avatar. He just couldn't get the hang of it. His golf skills, which he hadn't used on a real golf course since the release of the Sega Dreamcast, couldn't transfer to the Wii. In high school he had once bowled back-to-back 300 games, but with the remote in his hand he couldn't break 40. It consumed his days. It began to consume his nights.

When his family found him, passed out and dehydrated after four days without having seen hide nor hair of him, they took him to the home, or Florida, or buried him, and into his house moved another family, brash, young, lives stretching out ahead of them...a man and a woman and their six year old girl, all of whom could bowl perfect back-to-back 300 games with a remote in their hand.


Alright, that felt good. Not gonna lie. Take that, Nintendo!, somebody buy me a Wii.

Also...I updated my cycling blog for the first time in forever. It's a puny update, really...but puny is exactly how I feel about cycling right now.


Melissa said...

Elliot, that was awesome, thank you!

You can come over to my house sometime and play the Nintendo Funbox.

Molly said...

I'm depressed. I guess that's an endorsement of sorts... you evoked an emotional response. I'm still thinking a sex change operation would be more fun. I'll start working now on my weekly suggestion and I promise I won't make it psychic stick worthy.