(I walked with earbuds on)

“Hold me if I’m dying and vice-versa, OK?” — Castle Shikigami 2

I.

I walked with earbuds on 
my first three years here 
but now I’m involved in the community,
I make cufflinks out of 20 gauge shotgun shells 
in the backroom of the Abel Sisters’ boutique.
I patron traveling salesmen selling exotic taquitos 
and they never cut me off.
I accelerate the game clock 
to live entirely off of Christmas presents.

II.

I am not allergic to anything that lives 
in Arkansas’s row crops, and hardwood forests. 
I disregarded sharp chipped 
tooths and cavities. My birthday 
is on my wristband, stop asking.

III.

When I played Medal of Honor: Frontline, the dead bodies 
of my allies always disappeared. 
The Playstation 2 is weak, I was storming Normandy. 
Priorities had to be made 
and the bodies were just going to be bodies.

IV.

I would rather be at the cafe near Intensive Care, 
everyone is young-ish like me: 
the on-call surgeons,
the mothers of the teenagers 
who chugged bottles of hydrogen peroxide. 
We duck our heads behind our laptops 
and pretend we can pick up the Wi-Fi.

V.

What should a non-player character do with himself,
how should he walk by the player, 
talk to the player, after he’s shuffled off 
his last useful piece of dialogue?

I miss everyone I love,
sure, but how can I make 
someone stick around town 
after they’ve beaten its boss battle?

VI.

No, I have not been in a different country 
in the past six months.

I never asked to travel, all I ever asked for 
was a view of Helena that I chose 
and roommates who attracted interesting junk mail.

VIII.

How many bodies did you watch 
disappear tonight? 
How long did you have to wait?

IX.

Trust me, I took you here for a reason.
This is the best gun store in town. 
He’ll sell us guns all day 
until we unload a round in his chest.

Credit: Persona 3 Concept Art

This piece was previously published in the Spring 2016 issue of FRiGG.

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