Blast From the Past

[Ed’s Note: This is an old entry of mine from about a year or so back that I recovered at, of all places, the Hardcore Gaming 101 forums. I kind of like this one, so here it is!]

I’ve been having these dreams lately. The events are always different, yet the setting is constant and the characters are always the same people, but with larger or smaller roles in the story each night. These dreams are not even remotely nightmarish, yet they still bother me for whatever reason. Here are a few of the more memorable ones.

I’m back at my old high school. Despite my age (twenty-three), I’m a student enrolled here. My classmates are either blank-faced extras who exist simply to exist; to fill empty space, or former co-workers. None of the actual students I went to school with have ever appeared. I have a schedule that I have to follow, with classes to attend and assignments to work on. Due to my inconsistent dreaming, I don’t actually know what my classes are, where they are, or what I’m supposed to be doing. I tend to just follow a group of people into the nearest room and play things by ear.

We’re in an English class now. We’re all asked to hand in a piece of writing. I manage to make a paper copy of something from this site at the last second and give it to our teacher. Confident, I turn to one of my classmates and ask her how well she thinks she did. She laughs at me and points to the teacher. The teacher tells me that what I have is promising, and that I have lots of potential. She is lying to me. I can see over her shoulder and see in large, bold red ink:

THIS SUCKS
FAIL

Classes have let out for the day, so it’s time for me to get to work at my new job: homicide detective for the NYPD. Strangely, the case I’m trying to solve is the murder of my own partner. My investigating prowess seems like it could use some work; I ask one witness the same question five times. It works though, and now I have a new lead at a small diner across the street from an elementary school. The only thing I find here is the ghost of my former partner, who only winks at me.

I’m back in school. This time the class (which I later said to myself, “is a class I don’t go to very often, since I can never remember where it is”) is going to watch a film for the entire hour. The “film” is actually just a breaking news story about the death of my partner, followed by a book review of The Great Gatsby. I have no interest in this, and I also notice that the teacher has vanished. I take this opportunity to take my leave. On my way out, the girl I spoke to in my English class bumps into me. It seems that she’s being harassed by a fellow student: some dumb kid with bad fashion sense who seems to think that he’s God’s Gift to Women. He tries to put his hand on her shoulder. Instead, I, uncharacteristically, violently grab him by the wrist and tell him that, “if you don’t leave her alone, I’m going to fucking kill you, you dumb prick!” He puts on a tough guy act, calling me a bitch and a faggot and trying to shove me. I ignore him and escort the girl away.

I run into this kid three more times. Each time, he has a new henchman with him. This henchman then tries to goad me into a fight. Instead of using my fists or my feet, I fight them with my brain. What I mean by this is I used my sense of humor and my cynical and sardonic personality to screw with their heads. One attempts to stop me after classes let out, to which I tap on the cover of a recently acquired copy of the first season of Astro Boy (the 2006 relaunch). I tell him that “Astro Boy is more important. Sayonara!” My walking speed creates enough distance between myself and the kicks this kid tries to throw my way.

The second one I manage to avoid in the restroom. This restroom is not like a regular one: it’s two stories, with an elevator and emergency slide in each stall. Each stall also comes with an installed monitor and joystick, complete with a copy of an old (fictional) arcade title, Meteoroids. Students like to beat the high score in-between classes (scores are kept on a school-wide online leaderboard), hence why there are so many stalls. I’m not very good at this game, so I never leave the top 8,000 player list. The bully and his two bodyguards try looking for me in here. Thanks to my speed and my knowledge of the emergency slides, I can duck into different stalls, confusing them in this porcelain maze. I resolve to play Meteoroids again, and this time actually winning.

The third one actually manages to get his hands on me. He grabs me by my bicep, like he’s a cop trying to arrest me. With my free hand, I grab his face and apply the old pro wrestling submission hold, the Iron Claw. I give him my terms: you let go of me, I let go of you. He’s not a very smart kid, but he complies. I eventually come to face all four of them. I flamboyantly saunter to all four of them, flick them on the foreheads with my index finger and give them each a new name: all of them are “Dick.”

I finally leave the school, where I run into a student (co-worker). An small Asian lady in her early forties, she not only still goes to this school, but has somehow gained horrible posture, walking at nearly a ninety degree angle. Not realizing her handicap, she asks me if I would like a ride home. I politely refuse. Although, without a car, how was I going to get back to the police station?

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