Nov. 25, 2009

Chapter 19: Laugh Track

Sen says, "Huh."

Gully says, "That... I don't know..."

Stan says, "And, what is your evidence that they're trying to get bought, again?"

I say, "Well, uhh..."

Sen says, "I like it!"

We all look at Sen.

Sen says, "I mean, sure, it's a sinning snowball, but it can't hurt."

Stan says, "It fails to involve murder."

Sen says, "And, it fails to involve murder!"

Stan says, "I meant that as an objection."

Sen says, "... Regardless. It's not illegal, and we don't have any better options."

I say, "Uhh... yeah." Having someone defend your idea for you is a lot like being forced to watch your life the day after it happens... I'd imagine. It sounds mostly right, but it still feels wrong, because you can no longer control it.

Stan says, "There must be a better option..."

Though me watching myself would involve a lot more yelling than me watching Sen. "What the Hell, Rose? Why are you such a dolt? Did you grow up on moron mountain? You should definitely give more thought to hermicitude."

Sen says, "The other option is that we live with our lost identities, and basically start over. Or go all technophobic and call computers 'the Devil' and the Internet 'Satan's water slide.'"

Hehe... hermicitude. "Hermicitude, by the makers of hermicide. Have a hermit problem? We've got your hermit solution.""

Gully says, "Uhh... Maybe I should remind you of my 'me and the Internet are best buds' speech from earlier?"

Sen says, "No, you should not."

"I used to have to talk to people every day, and it was all, 'ugh, no way, yuck,' but with new Hermicitude, I haven't talked to a person in weeks. Thanks, Hermicitude!"

Gully says, "So... Rose's idea, then."

"May cause upset stomach, big head, or chronic use of the phrase, 'fucktastic.' Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during their lifetimes should not take Hermicitude unless they also like unhappiness.'"

Stan says, "I suppose I have no better plan..." He sighs.

Sen says, "All right! Well, I think the meetups tonight are 'B-movie Wednesdays,' a few 'bowling's, 'Cut Down Trees!', and 'Meetup Meetup.'"

Gully says, "Heh... but you're not sure, eh? Haven't quite memorized everything yet?"

Sen narrows her eyes. She pulls her laptop out of the bag sitting between her and Stan. She says, "I'm pretty sure, but just to appease you, Gully, I'll check."

Gully says, "Anyways, don't those all meet... at night?"

Sen says, "Yes, though I won't have times for a couple of minutes."

Gully says, "And... it's still before noon."

Stan says, "Your ability to tell time is astonishing."

Gully says, "So... what should we do?"

Sen says, "Aha! Yeah, I was totally right. Thank God I downloaded all of this back when I still had an account. 'B-movie Wednesdays' meets at 8; bowlings start from 7-ish to 9-ish, 'Cut Down Trees!' 10:37, oddly, and 'Meetup Meetup' at 8."

Gully says, "We've got, like, 7 hours just until bowling. That's a shit ton of sitting in the car talking about what a shit ton of time it is time."

Sen says, "Good point."

There is a pause.

Sen says, "Anyone up for some laser tag?"

Really? Lasertag?

Stan says, "R... really?"

Sen says, "I keep seeing meetups for it, and I just haven't played in years."

"Hey, everybody, let's pretend it's the future, and we're all shooting at each other, and to make it realistic, let's say we're fighting over this here fence, and instead of, you know, us being able to cross the fence, let's be really mimic real life and say that we can't! Boy, reality is bizarre!"

Stan says, "I play... somewhat more frequently than that."

Sen says, "So, you know a good place?"

Stan says, "I know several. Obviously."

"Me? No, I'm not a loser? I'm an all star. I'm the fucking mayor of the all stars."

Sen says, "You know a good place close by?"

Stan says, "I know several. Obviously."

"There was an election. Everyone was all, 'boy, all the candidates sure have stupid pants, except this one girl, total laser tag arena owner, and I don't mean the saying, <>. No, she's literally a laser tag arena owner,' just like that, everyone was saying it. I won by a landslide."

Sen says, "Ugh. Fine. Okay, you choose one... assuming the kids in back are interested?" She looks back at us.

I'm not a kid.

Gully says, "Uhh... sure. Seven hours of laser tag. Why not?"

Sen says, "Rose?"

You've got to be kidding me.

I say, "Uhh... yeah, okay."

Sen says, "Awesome. Once you've narrowed it down, Stan, let me know where to go."

"Well, see, as the fucking mayor, all I mostly do is have sex. But, I did pass this one law that anytime anyone has sex, they have to also be shooting fake laser guns at each other. Nothing too controversial, a law that was basically begging to be written."

Stan mumbles.

"Anyway, I'm thinking of passing another law, one that makes it mandatory for you and I to have sex." WINKY!

***

Apparently, believe it or not, right next to Concurrence Bowls? Concurrence Laser Tags. (Either owned by the same person, or owned by another person with the same rare genetic naming-things disease.)

The four of us walk in, me in the back, in case I have an opportunity to make my escape (if I could just get to the highway, I'd be able to hitch a ride, get as far away from this laser taggery as possible, maybe find another city, with another Internet, and start afresh.

The entrance is a small room, with two doors on the left (and between them a sign that reads, "DaNgEr ZoNe!!!" [YARLY :(]), another two doors on the right (with a sign between them that reads, "SPACE CASTLE!"), and a counter up front, manned by a guy in a tan shirt, wearing a bowler hat, with a few curly strands of black hair coming out around the sides.

The guy says, "Hey there! You guys ready for some laser tag?!" His voice... sounds familiar.

Gully stops right in front of me, and I ram into him, and he barely catches himself before dominoing us all to the ground.

He says, "uhh..." He just stands for a bit. He says, "Umm, sorry, Rose."

Sen and Stan have kept walking, and they're at the counter now, and Stan says, "Yeah, Thomas, we'll take two games to start." He looks back at Gully and me, and he says, "And, we'll need a tutorial."

Thomas (...?) says, "Oh, hey Stan. Sure. Space Castle?"

Gully hasn't started moving. He turns around, his eyes wide. He mouths, "Thomas?"

Why-- oh, shit.

Stan says, "You know me so well."

Thomas smiles at him. He says, "Should I put it on your tab, or...?"

Stan is doing one of those subtle, under the counter, "Get over here!" waves. Gully is still facing me, so he doesn't notice. I mouth, "THOMAS?!"

Stan turns back and says, "Tab'll be fine, Thomas. Thanks."

Thomas starts typing at his computer. Gully starts laughing hysterically.

Stan turns around again. He gives us a narrow-eyed, tight-lipped, "I will kill you over the course of five torturous years" glare, either that or a "I want waffles" glare... honestly, all of his glares kind of look the same.

Of course, imminent death or no, when Gully starts laughing, I can't help myself. He's all, "HO HO HO ho ho!!!" and it sounds like Santa Claus got infected by some kind of alien voice lowerizer virus, and it is just so strange, and I burst out laughing too.

Of course, my laughter is kinda high pitched, so it sounds like a dog and a cat fighting. Or having annoyingly loud upstairs-neighbor sex. Or starting the world's worst band.

Stan says something that I can't hear. Then, he walks back to us. He whispers, "What the Hell are you two on about?"

We're laughing, so...

Stan says, "Guys! Do not embarrass me!"

This was not the optimal strategy. Gully starts laughing more loudly, "HO HO HO HO HO!!!" which does nothing to help me stop laughing.

Stan growls. He calls back, "Just one more second, Thomas."

Thomas says, "What's so funny over there, kids?"

Stan says, "Oh, nothing. These people have... brain... missing... itis."

Thomas says, "Ha! I hear you, buddy."

There is a pause: "HO HO HO ho ho!" "Hee hee! Hee hee!"

Thomas says, "So, who all am I signing up here today?"

Stan says, "That's Sen."

Sen says, "Hi!"

Stan says, "And these two are Gully and Rose."

Thomas says, "Great. Sen, G-... Wait, Gully?!"

Impossibly, Gully starts laughing even harder: "HO HO HO HO HO!!!"

Thomas says, "Holy hot shit cakes, man!"

Sen says, "You guys... know each other?"

Thomas says, "I had to stare at this guy's ass for three miles on a runaway job a few weeks ago."

Sen says, "A runaway...?"

Thomas says, "Good thing I didn't have a gf at the time, man. Ass like yours? She'd a'been jealous!"

Gully, finally starting to recover, says, "Oh, man."

Thomas says, "Ha!"

Gully says, "You would not stop talking about laser tag. I can't believe you work here!"

Thomas says, "Man, what better place to work? Usually empty around this time, so I often play with any folks who happen to come in." He laughs, "Of course, at this point, I can usually kick just about any non-pro in the genitals."

He laughs some more. Gully has completely gotten over his laughing, so I have too. My vision's all blurry from laugh-tears, so when Stan, Gully, and I start walking up to the counter, I bump into Gully again, which almost sends us back into laugh nation.

Thomas says, "So, how're things going there, Gul-meister?"

From next to me, I see the mirth drain from Gully's face. He says, "Uhh... actually, not so well."

Thomas blinks twice in rapid succession. Why is it that people are always surprised when you tell them you're doing anything but "well" or "all right" or "good" or whathaveyou? Is that some kind of statement about our society?

Gully says, "Uhh... thing is, Meetup.com banned us."

Some history teacher years down the road says, "Where the United States went down, and write this down, everybody" ("write down" is just linguistic vestiges, of course. Nobody's known how to write for years.) "... is that people would often ask how the other was doing, but nobody wanted a real answer." A lot of murmuring from the students, "Oh! Ah! Right!" And then the professor, "So, when the Turduckens came, who as you know feed on small talk, they basically took over the country in a matter of minutes."

Thomas says, "They... they what?!"

"Now, everyone take a moment to say your 'please's and 'thank you's to our local Turducken Frcklbork. Please, Frcklbork. Thank you, Frcklbork."

Sen says, "And, not only that, but they got all the other Internet giants to ban us too."

All of the students follow suit. "How are you, Frcklbork." "I'm doing well, Frcklbork." "Isn't the weather marvelous today, Frcklbork."

Thomas says, "Fuck balls! Are you seriousing me?!"

The Turducken, hiding in a blanket in the corner of the room, gurgles and glows.

Nov. 26, 2009 →

Comments

  1. (Untitled)

    Written:
    Dec. 02, 2009, 06:58am
    By:
    Poppy

    like being forced to watch your life the day after it happens... I'd imagine. It sounds mostly right, but it still feels wrong, because you can no longer control it.

    This is an amazing analogy. Seriously, very awesome.

    Also, if a turducken is made with a tofurkey instead of a turkey, would it be called... a tofucken? Pointless profanity ftw!

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