Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fifth Entry: Remember

July 4

Happy 4th of July!

Okay, so it’s not so happy. I don’t think a lot of people in the mall even know what day it is, especially the people living in tents in the park, or on cots in the shopping areas. I guess days of the calendar don’t matter so much when you don’t know if you’re going to survive to see tomorrow.

Okay, so that was melodramatic, but that is how I’m feeling today. I have today off, and there’s nothing for me to do. I could walk around the park, but it looks like a refugee camp out there… which I guess it is now. I wonder what we’re going to do with those people when winter comes? It doesn’t snow here or anything, but it still gets cold and rainy.

I could also go wander around the shopping areas, but that’s just as depressing since the only stores that are “open” are the ones handing out supplies. Being a scavenger now, I don’t need to stand in those lines anymore since I’m allowed to take my share directly from our hauls (the theory is that since we’re risking our lives top get the stuff, we should be allowed first dibs at it).

I could go hang out at the store with Bud Nelson, my old boss. I think the council still believes that this will all blow over at some point and the mall will reopen, so they have not really done much as far as taking over stores and residences. I guess they don’t want to piss off the people who pay rent. I’m not complaining, since it means I get to keep my apartment, but I have to wonder if there will still be an Insert Coin home office left if this all ends.
Bud has been living in the store since everything started. He didn’t have a place in Mallville, but a lot of outsiders who were employees in various stores have been living in them, I guess it’s better than a tent in the park. Bud occasionally comes up to use my shower, but he’s a very different guy now. He had a family out there; they were away on a family trip when this started. He’s not heard from the since then.

I don’t really like days off anymore. With the internet gone (as far as I know anyway, the Mallville server was shut down a while back), no new games, books, or comics coming out, no tv or radio, there’s little to do but sit and think. I cannot even listen to any modern music now, because it starts me wondering if they are still alive out there somewhere. I’ve been listening to a lot of classical… at least I know those guys are dead.

So, with nothing else to occupy me, and no desire to think about the present, I have been thinking of better times. I’ve been thinking of Sharon… I guess I am coming to accept that she might be dead by now. Why wouldn’t she come back if she could?

I keep looking at the picture of her and I from the anime convention. She’s dressed as Integra Hellsing, and I’m dressed as Mr. Kimura. She’s got a cigarette in her mouth, and is looking all serious, while I have my head at a weird angle with my mouth hanging wide open. I’m frankly too fat to be Mr. Kimura, but Sharon thought it was good, especially the father hat, she said that totally made the costume.

I’ve asked the pictured Sharon, the her from before the world went to hell, to tell me where she is, but it persists in not answering. The only thing it is telling me is memories.

I remember hanging out at Insert Coin with her when we were supposed to be working. We’d talk, play with the collectible toys, play games on the demo kiosks, flirt ( in our own sort of way). Our conversations would cover everything from politics to just general geekery.

The last time we just hung out and wasted company time before all this shit went down seems like yesterday, but it also seems like a whole different life. I was sitting on the counter idly making a Master Chief action figure fight a Trashman action figure while Sharon was playing a used copy of Smash Bros. Brawl on the Wii kiosk.

“Why don’t you come play with me?” she asked.

“Because the store is open, and people might see.” I replied, making Trashman hit Master Chief upside the head with his shovel.

She didn’t even look away from the screen, she just said, ”The game, loser.”

“Exactly. You’ll just kick my ass.”

“ I’ll play as Peach, she sucks.”

“And you’ll still win, making it all the more humiliating.”

She made a sort of “pssh” sound, and then said,”Coward.”

Seeking to change the subject, I said, “So who do you think would win in a fight, the Baskin Robbins spoon or Mr. Peanut?”

“Spoon?”
“Yeah, a few years back they did an ad campaign with a talking pink spoon.”

“Okay, I remember that. Mr. Peanut would win.”

“Why?”

“Well, first off, he has arms and legs, and the spoon doesn’t. Second, the spoon is dead, which is why you don’t see it in commercials anymore; I don’t think Mr. Peanut would have much of a fight with a dead spoon.

“Okay, but back then, before the spoon died.”

The screen of the Wii display flashed brightly as she performed a final smash in the game,” Well, see point one, and point three. Three, Mr. Peanut has a sword concealed in his cane.”

“No he doesn’t.”

“It’s true…. Why are we having this conversation?” she asked, finally looking away from the screen, as the game declared her the winner.

“You pick a topic.”

“Okay, ummmm…. What’s your favourite RPG?”

“Console or PC?”

“Either”

“Umm, Legend of Zelda. The one of Super Nintendo, A Link to The Past.”

She put down the wiimote, turned to look at me, and pushed her glasses up to rest higher on her nose,” Seriously?”

“Yeah, what’s wrong with that?”

“Well, it’s not a role playing game first of all.”

I put the action figures down, and dropped off the counter onto my feet,” Sure it is. You level up, you save a princess.”

“You gain powers in Mega Man, and save a princess is Mario, but those are not RPGs. I could have accepted Earthbound, but not Zelda.”

“Alright then, what is your favorite RPG?”

“Hmmm… Persona 3.”

“Even over Morrowind, or Final Fantasy?”

“You know I hate Final Fantasy. Yes, even over Morrowind.”

“What about Persona 4?”

“It had a totally different feel, didn’t it? I liked P3”

“Regular, or FES?”

“FES as a standalone or the American release with both FES and the director’s cut of P3?”

“Director’s cut”

“Definitely FES then.”

“You just liked that emo looking kid.”

She gasped, grabbed the nearest item to her (luckily it was just a plush Weighted Companion Cube), and threw it at me. “Whatever! You had the hots for Mitsuru.”

“Actually I liked Chihiro best… you know I have a thing for glasses.”

That stopped her. Whenever I would make any implication that I liked her, she would clam up. I don’t know if it was because she doesn’t like me I that way, or if it just embarrassed her. In the couple of years I’ve known her, she never once mentioned dating. I don’t know if she even likes guys really.

Liked guys would be more appropriate, I guess. I’ve been thinking like this since that run to Tyranno Mart. I’ve been out twice more since then, both times to T Mart, but neither eventful (Maria took out a couple zeds on the way out last time, but Wally made her stop before we all lost our hearing). Seeing what is out there beyond the view of Mallville’s roof has made it all more real to me.

It’s not like it’s a sea of the undead like they always show in the movies (it may be like that in the big cities, but not here thankfully), but I feel different about it all… more empty. It’s hard to accept that I may never have another Big Mac or Slurpee. That no there are no more jars of Beefy Cheese coming on trucks to refill the display at Tyranno Mart once we empty it.

It’s hard to accept that I’ll never have another stupid pointless conversation with Sharon. We’ll never debate again whether or not Spike Speigel can kick Vash the Stampede’s ass, or if Jimmy Kudo could have caught Kira without getting killed.

I am in a mall surrounded by a couple thousand people, and I am alone, and the world is dead, but it just doesn’t know it.

Sharon is gone, the only person I feel any connection to, the only person that really matters to me when I get down to it. The only person that makes me tear up to just think of them being gone forever.

Oh God, no.

2 comments:

Tommy C said...

If the net is down, then how is our hero posting these blogs?
Oh and Spike would mop the floor with Ash.

Nicole Howard said...

@ Tommy C, I'm not sure he is "posting" them, if you go back to the 1st post you will read that he is "writing" not typing & he also says that if you find this you already know about the undead & how it began. Believe it or not before blogs we used to write out "journals" in notebooks & the like!! (I must be getting old)