For 24 sweet minutes I was the God, the Everlasting Father, the Ishvara, the Yahweh, the true Ek Onkar of the Bubble Bobble universe. To be accurate, I was playing Puzzle Bobble, a portal into a small, deranged pocket of the Bubble Bobble universe. Like I was the star of some kind of Aboriginal creation myth, I destroyed thousands of dinosaurs trapped in conveniently color coded bubbles from my holy wooden bar stool with a relentless fury. I'm sure in an alternative dimension where I don't exist, those dinosaurs would have made great sources of fossil fuel in the future. But not in this dimension - I was bursting those bubbles! It's true, that night the bubbles I fired from my pointer struck their targets with an uncanny accuracy. Had this been World War I, I probably could have shot the Red Baron's plane down in one shot from the ground.
It was no ordinary confluence of events that brought me to that Puzzle Bubble unit that night. My friends had all ditched me for their girlfriends or work. Lame, right? So, luckily, I had nothing to do but focus on Puzzle Bobble. Each bubble provided to me seemed like it was imbued with some kind of cosmic significance. Whenever I was in a bad situation, the bubbles threatening to crush me, maybe through bad luck or maybe because I had (believe it or not!) misfired, the right sequence of bubbles would always come to my pointer, saving me from the brink of utter calamity. With extreme skill, I would reverse my fortunes and defeat the difficult puzzles the Bubble Bobble universe had thrust upon me without mercy. I was blessed, or so I thought.
Earlier that night in that same arcade I had gotten my fortune told to me by a mechanical Chinaman fortune teller. After making some wisecracks at my expense about how a beautiful lady would wine and dine me (he jokingly revealed that it would be a waitress at a restaurant), my fortune printed out of the machine. Here's what it said:
You are a strong believer in fate. (No doubt). You feel that you have no control over your destiny. (The river carries me where it wishes). Fortunately you are destined to be very happy indeed. (My Puzzle Bobble experience seemed to be confirming this). You've had some trouble mostly caused by the inconsideration of others. (This instantly made me think of that bully Spud McKenzie that is always picking on me). But fate will be kind to you and you can expect your life to run on a smoother pattern. (May this endless stream of favorable bubbles never end, for we shall eternally worship and praise the cosmic forces of the Bubble Bobble universe).
It seemed to confirm to me that I was blessed that night.
Anyway, there I was, stage 22, and I was still on my 1st quarter! But then, as if on cue, the dreaded Spud McKenzie walked into the arcade with the end of a sucker sticking out of his mouth. A metal chain dangled from his neck, clinking against the zippers of his leather jacket as he made his way towards me. I sighed quietly to myself and prepared myself for his unwelcomed presence.
"What'cha doin', dork face?," he asked me, waving his orange sucker at me to emphasize his crude insult.
"Beat it Spud, I'm busy. And what's with all of those holes in your blue jeans? Your mommy can't buy you a new pair?" I quipped.
Spud didn't laugh. He never laughed. No, instead, he gave me one of his trademark sinister grins. The freckles on his face seemed to swarm in anger. He put the sucker back in his mouth.
"You're a real funny guy, huh? Just you wait, buddy, just you wait," he threatened me as he walked away.
My mind flooded with positive thoughts. That's it? I guess tonight really was my lucky night. Spud wasn't really going to do anything. He was always full of hot air, trying to look like a big bully. It was kind of sad, actually. But now wasn't the time for philosophical musings on a bully. I was on stage 24! I had never made it this far before without using at least 4 quarters. I was on a date with destiny and it looked like I was about to get past first base and make my way towards home plate, if you know what I mean.
That was, until Hottie Phearson started leaning over the controls and smiling at me. Spud had sent her here as revenge, I knew it. He knew that I always acted like a complete doofus around Hottie.
"How ya doin' sweetie?" she asked me with that irresistible drawl she had, making my mind a slave to her every syllable.
The scent of her perfume made my heart melt, dripping along my insides and settling in the pit of my stomach, where my digestive juices ate away at it. Her pouty red lips and ginormous breasts were like a light bulb to a moth in the dark. My eyes could not resist her attractions, but I had to wrestle my sight away from them to what was more important, back to the effervescently glowing screen of the Puzzle Bobble unit.
"Fine," I whispered nervously, trying to ignore the intense glare of her hazelnut eyes.
But it was too late. The bubbles were piling up now, mere seconds away from crushing me. The bubbles shook in anticipation. My fate was sealed. I mashed the arcade unit's one button madly and twisted the joystick in every possible direction. I almost saw a glimmer of hope, but it was taken away from me by receiving the wrong bubble in my pointer. With little time to prepare myself for the end, the bubbles descended upon my pointer and I was defeated.
"No!" I screamed, my face red and veins bulging.
Hottie laughed and left me to go back to her friends, leaving me alone with the Game Over screen. I hate Hottie for doing that to me. But she's soooooo hot....