Eden Ashley

NIN,TEN,DO

He wears his baseball cap, K and U letters embroidered on the front part. I wonder what they stand for. He plays his Nintendo on the subway. He puffs his cheeks when he gets upset, or maybe he’s just extremely concentrated, I can’t tell. He also scrapes his hands; they’re must be numb out of the radiation. I can’t stop looking, and the fact he doesn’t notice me makes me look even more. The other point is, we are not alone here. When I’m looking away, I suddenly see another guy, only this time he’s watching me. Not in a good way, but in a “stop staring at this freak, you freak” kind of way. I keep looking.

“The next stop is 14th St”. The train stops, and the Nintendo guy goes off without taking his eyes off the screen. The other guy looks at me again, now in a “who are you gonna stare at now?” kind of way. Well, I’m not. I’m shutting my eyes and think about the Nintendo guy. Does he still play the game on his way home? What his home looks like? Will he keep playing the game even after he gets home? I wonder if someone’s waiting for him there.

“Hi, Google.” He’s home. Nintendo is blinking, begging for help. He walks into his bedroom and charges it. He lays it down on the center of his bed; A single bed, with only one pillow and a stuffed R2D2 toy. There is a wooden frame on his dresser with a picture of him with Princess Leia. He looks happier than ever, even though she isn’t the real one. He walks back facing the kitchen and asks Google what’s in the fridge? A subtle robotic female voice answers: “Cheese sticks, mayonnaise, ketchup, chocolate milk, and strawberry jam.” He puffs his cheeks again and takes a popcorn bag off the shelf. “Google, set a timer for 2 minutes and 35 seconds”. The popcorn bag is spinning around inside the lit up microwave. He waits in front of it. He likes to hear them pop. pop. pop. Popopopopopop. Streams of butter caress his nose, but it’s not enough, so he takes the bag out and grades even more butter on top. It melts like his own hands, whenever he plays the Nintendo for three hours in a row. Five candle flames are gnawing at their wicks while he sits in his comfy chair. “Google, play ‘The Fifth Element.” The TV is quickly on; the room smells of vanilla and fake berries. He’s in front of the TV now, with a popcorn bowl on his laps. This is ‘The Fifth Element’ night, every Monday. Five plus two equals seven. Saturday is seven. Saturdays are Leia’s favorite. They are watching her movies during the day, and saving a galaxy far, far away, at night.

It’s been only five minutes since the movie began and the power went off. Everything stopped but the candles. No other lights, not a single sound, his female Google is currently dead. The street lights are still on, but he doesn’t bother to fix his own; he just gets up and goes straight to bed. When he can’t see Princess Leia anymore, he goes back to the living room and takes one candle with him, the rusty strawberry one. Back to his room, he notices his Nintendo and grins. He gets in bed and lies beside his stuffed R2D2 toy. He turns his Nintendo on and presses ‘continue’; the countdown begins: ten, nine, eight, nine, ten, nine, ten…

The screen froze, the light is still blinking. Frozen screen, nine, ten, blinking, nine, ten, screen, nine, ten, Leia, blinking, blinking, screen, nine, ten, nine, ten…

Still blinking. Nine, ten, nine ten, Nin,ten,do. “The next stop is Essex St.” The train moves so fast till the streetlights seem to be blinking too. My eyes hurt. I look around, but nobody looks back. I’m not sure what I’ve been doing this whole time. I don’t remember people getting off or on the train. How did I end up listening to Taylor Swift? I look away and see some other guy with another Nintendo, an older version. This is odd. He doesn’t wear a cap, and his cheeks aren’t puffy at all. He is just a guy with a Nintendo. He is nothing like the real Nintendo guy. I still wonder what he’s been doing. Does he still play the game on his way home? What his home look like? Will he keep playing the game even after he gets home? I wonder if someone’s waiting for him there.

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