A shopping center designed for overweight nearsighted video game nerds? Two-out-of-three ain't bad!
"My nipples are pulsating with tenderness." Those words paced through my mind as I approached the GameStop, the balmy early September weather the only thing keeping them lubricated underneath my heaving polo shirt. Flushed with giddy anxiety, I took several deep breaths in order to calm my nerves. Was this finally happening? Was I going to be able to reserve Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze on this very day? Checking my wallet, I confirmed what I already knew: The five dollars I stole from that panhandler's hat was still tucked safely between the expired condom and Bazooka Joe comic strip. I would gladly see his children succumb to malnutrition before depriving myself of the minimum dollar requirement for a GameStop reservation.
Walking inside, the cool blast of centralized air instantly chilled me to the bone, reminding me of the life-or-death task that awaited. If I couldn't reserve Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, I would probably kill myself. No, I would definitely kill myself. The rage I would feel would have to be turned inwards, as my strict vegetarianism meant taking another's life was forbidden. Would they already be out of reservations for Tropical Freeze? Nintendo can only produce so many games in that first week, what with petroleum prices reaching sky-high levels. Maybe they would just stop shipping them with the plastic cases? Sacrilege! I needed that game case. A video game on a shelf without a spine is no video game at all. This is something that I force my burned copy of Donkey Kong Country Barrel Maze to live with every day of its inanimate existence. It knows it does wrong.
Approaching the counter, my hands trembling and consciousness on the verge of being lost, the slightly disinterested employee took notice of me and realigned himself for the interaction to come. He didn't want to be there, something that we can all relate to in our day jobs from time-to-time, but I had no sympathy. Did he not know he was being greeted by royalty? I'm Hyle "Slush" Russell, of the DK Vine Russells! He should not only know what I'm there for, but he should already be asking me pertinent questions like if I thought Sqy the flying squirrel was going to return in Tropical Freeze. Imbecile. Aren't these moments covered in the employee training video? Would Gabe from Penny Arcade get this treatment? Of course not. That pisser has his own convention. He DEMANDED respect from his subjects. I've been far too passive in ruling my fiefdom. I've long since needed to put a crown on my cock and force the peasants to pay tribute to my glistening, veiny bulge of manhood on a daily basis. "Hail, for good King Slush the II is about to unload a steaming helping of fandom wankery all over our young, unweathered faces!" That's most surely what they'd say if I masturbated on them.
Realizing that my demeanor had gone from nervous to psychotic without even beginning the conversation, I was eager to complete the transaction and nurse myself back to socially-acceptable levels of normalcy with a few dozen citalopram tablets waiting in my car. This piece of shit (this goddamn aborted fetus), on the other hand, wanted me to abstain from mental health by continuing the outrageous behavior he had initially exhibited towards me. "What can I do for you, today?" he asked with his jowls-to-be swaying back and forth underneath his soft jaw. How I pitied him. What kind of slovenly existence he must live, unable to put down the Frito Lay products from his bearded neck for longer than an hour. I could still see the powdered cheese product dangling from his six days worth of facial hair. He didn't recognize me, despite my voice being one-half of a weekly podcast dedicated to the 1994 iteration of Donkey Kong. He called himself a video game fan? He was a phony, a mere snack food mule designed to indoctrinate and fatten up the true gamers: Ultra sexy and fit Donkey Kong Universe fans. I've got a thick white duke I'd like to give to some of them...
And the next wank and the next and ANOTHER wank!
"Yes, I'd like to reserve the new Donkey Kong Country game. Tropical Freeze, I believe it's called." My voice quivered, trying desperately to hide my nervous fear that the game had already been booked up and to cover my newfound desire to slit this pig's ample throat. I fucking hated this physical abortion. I adored Donkey Kong Country. I was a man between conflicting emotion.
"Okay... let's see, which system is that for?"
The sweat was pouring over my brow. He didn't even know rudimentary facts about the game. SIMPLE BAR TRIVIA. No, this lump of fattened veal probably spent his evenings drinking alone, a noxious combination of Monster energy drinks and Pabst Blue Ribbon to lubricate his throat muscles for the deluge of fried animal rinds to come. Was it up to me to put him out of his misery? Was that why Submarine Commander Jesus enlisted me in the Christian Navy when I was baptised at the age of six months? I believe again, Jesus.
"The... Wii U." The bile at the back of my throat meant that the words were finding difficulty breaking through their mucusy barrier.
"Oh, I see it now. In December. Okay, how much would you like to put down today?"
"Fi-five. Five dollars."
The acrobat make me do bad things. Birds peck the eyes of the guilty. The acrobat make me do bad things. Birds peck the eyes of the guilty! The acrobat make me do bad things!
"Are there any other games you'd like to reserve today? Here, let me print you off a list."
O-other games? Was he JOKING? Who did he think he was? WHAT KIND OF CLOWN DID HE THINK HE WAS? Heath Nicholson in Superman III?
Shameful confession: I've never actually seen a Green Lantern movie.
"AND WHO ARE YOU TO SAY I'M TOO GOOD FOR POWER RANGERS MEGAFORCE?"
With his handy green highlighter (little did he know that yellow and pink were the only acceptable highlighter colors... or maybe he did know and this was all a joint Obama/NSA plot to break me and my fastidious writing utensil logic), he began marking off games that he thought I would enjoy for the Nintendo 3DS. Scribblenauts Unmasked. Sonic Lost World. Batman Ark Origins Blackgate (where Batman puts two of every criminal on his Bat Ark). Legend of Zelda Link Between Worlds. Mario Party.
MARIO. PARTY. MARIO??!!?? PARTY!!!!!!?!!!!
Any personal ethics I might have once subscribed to were canceled and returned to sender. I was no longer in control of my actions, and I think God Himself would approve if he weren't such a poncey cloud jockey. The warmed and spoiled poisoned yogurt I carried in my pocket in case Nintendo ever announced a sequel to Jungle Beat had already been opened, my finger adorned with a generous dollop. Yes, little piglet. Lap it up. Suckle my index finger like you would your mother's teat if it were socially acceptable for you to still do so. Mmm. Taste that yogurt. I know, I know. Yogurt is a strange and confusing concept for you if it isn't "frozen", but this is Oikos Greek. John Stamos made this yogurt just for you.
I waited with the piglet as the poison coursed through his veins, the life slowly being sapped from his body (if you could call complete ignorance about Tropical Freeze "a life"). I knew, with security cameras on me, that I would have to skip town and that I would never be able to pick up the game that I had just reserved. No matter. I was out five dollars, but I've been known to sell my body for the Donkey Kong Universe before. Now I would just have to find another GameStop... or a Toys 'R Us... or a Best Buy... in a new quiet town in America for me to reserve the game. If you work there, be prepared for me. I'm coming. WHAT FATE AWAITS YOU UPON THE DAY OF RESERVATION?
"He 100% has a body at his feet." - Andrey Summers
Written by Hyle Russell, the artist formerly known as Charlie O'Connell.