An app said I misspelled my last name and suggested Malkovich was correct.
Was I at the character selection screen of some dystopian video game? Did the game know me better than I know myself?
No, I was using Grammarly.
A snake-like line has formed outside of a bee’s nest. A bee with muscles the size of acorns blocks the entrance with a towering golden scepter. Bees, exhausted from overwork, bumble about and trip over each other while jostling to join the line. Our busy Billy, also known as Worker 769, makes his appearance at the front.
“Worker 769, show me your pollen”, said the bulky bee.
“Uhhh the dog ate my pollen”, said Billy.
“You expect me to believe that? Come on, pal, we all know you were playing video games again instead of serving her majesty. You have no sense of responsibility. What purpose do you serve?” The bulky bee jabbed Billy with the scepter, pushing him out of the line.
Billy felt as if he had been stung and wanted to sting back, but he resisted.
“You know what? I don’t need this. I don’t need this colony. I’m going to start something of my own.”
He rubbed the dust off of his abdomen and prepared for take off. “And you’re lucky I don’t dump all of your precious honey into the nearby harbour as I leave. Humph!”
Billy buzzed away in search of greener pastures and better days.
Outside, for a time, lighting lit up the sky like fireworks exploding on the fourth of July. Inside, I could hear rain slapping the fire escape, as if the droplets had some burning rage issues. Suddenly, a loud rumbling sound roared down the street, shaking all my dishes in the kitchen. Was this terrifying thunder or an oversized dump truck carrying delicious ice cream? Who knows! I’m knee-deep in this new game.
Sam woke up with sparkling diamonds in his eyes, but he didn’t have implants in his skull. No, he had seen the cover of Bonesaw II: The Razor’s Edge on the kitchen counter when he trudged down in search of cereal sustenance. Sam’s smile grew so wide that it seemed to consume his eyes, like a particularly hungry laughing emoji.
Sam thrust his fingers forward in a way that screamed “Gimme, gimme, gimme!” Touching the case would get him one step closer to playing the game the press dubbed “a hair-pulling, scream-inducing and controller-bashing nightmare.” He scooped up the game and lifted it in the air; the light fixture above deifying the base object in his mere mortal hands.
His high-minded dream descended to earth: Sam lowered his hand and untangled his tightened fingers. It was a piece of cake! Sam dried his tears with his cream-covered fingers and munched on cake while sitting alone in the corner of the kitchen.
She says she plays video games.
I couldn’t be bothered to pick up a controller, so I typed this post instead.
Or do you sleep all day and wallow in self-pity?
But I turned on my video games, and the clouds went away.
Meena: “I heard you like video games.”
Jake: “I love video games! Playing them is my favourite hobby.”
Meena: “What kinds do you play?”
Jake: “I only play games made before 1991.”
Meena raised one eyebrow and tilted her head.
Jake scratched his head.
Meena: “I’ve heard there are some classic games made before 1990. But have you even considered trying some newer games?”
Jake: “I… uh…”
Jake screwed up his face. His lips mouthed words, yet he now uttered nothing intelligible.
Meena went home. She slammed the door behind her so hard that a porcelain vase, which was close to the door, shook and fell to the ground, shattering into hundreds of tiny pieces. While Meena fell asleep at home, Jake was still standing there; his bubbling lips still trying to form words.