After the altercation with Nico, I had a fairly rough night. I couldn’t get my mind off it, and it wouldn’t let me sleep. It was just one of those nights that makes a person feel like pulling the hairs out of his head. When I did sleep, it was that earlier dream of Leonard and Phil and all the blood and all the kids garbed as sharks on pogo-sticks and skateboards that incessantly interloped through my rest. It was the blood. I woke through the whole night checking my arms for stabs and the broken chin from that cop tackling me over and over. I had that same dream three times that night, and the scary thing is that it never changed. The main flow of it was stone. Sure, some people said some different things and maybe a couple more of the shark guys lasted, but, still, the blood and the friends had been spilled coldly on the ground.
When first light broke, it was probably the first time I was ever truly thankful for the morning coming. I never saw myself having so much gratitude for the sun rising. It gave me the means of some distraction because I started to get all the power up and the lights on. I still couldn’t help thinking of Leonard because he desperately wanted what I had here, and I knew I could help, but he wouldn’t have that. That would mean he had to rely on somebody other than himself, and he didn’t like bearing those things even if, like with a person like me, it would never be truly pressed on him. It wasn’t my main thoughts though. I had to do more important things than work through these issues in my mind, like washing the latrines. Thoughts may be thoughts, but that is all they are, elements that make people human and that can be tossed off with little or no bearing most of the time, but the health of my customers was important because I can’t have them sick. I also like thinking that they aren’t afraid of the latrines and may even wash their hands, as the signs on the doors as you head back into the arcade say, so that my machines are clean. Of course this leads me to cleaning the machines which gets me on a long list of tasks so that my arcade can be acceptable. But most of all it got my mind off of the other two, which was important for me; I just needed a break from the stress.
“Knock, Knock, Knock.”
Somebody seemed to have arrived early, which was unexpected. It was the kid I met the day before, Mike. “Thank you, Frank, sir,” he said very politely as he entered. “Just Frank, please,” I responded; I couldn’t stand being called “sir” because it made me feel old, but he must come from a good family. No, not a rich one, which is what many people mean when they say “good family,” but a truly good natured family that held manners where they should be. It was something I liked about my little friend. “Umm, Frank,” he inquired timidly, “can you help me with this game?” “Of course,” I said. He was really nice and had good charisma. It was something in his eyes.
He pulled me over to a classic game: Donkey Kong. After he slid in the quarter, he played a bit as I looked on. Then he lost. Not making top score, he seemed disappointed. “Look’ ere. You have to grab stuff like the umbrellas and purses to get really good scores,” I said in my best attempt to assist him, “and don’t go for the stuff in obviously dangerous situations.” He nodded and went back to the game as I cleaned.
Twenty minutes later the herds started to come in. I noticed a small congregation about the Donkey Kong machine. I could only guess what it was, so I walked over to it. Mike was still riding on the quarter he put in twenty minutes before, and he had racked up some serious points. All the tweens and teens were amazed that this kid could pull this off; they looked at him with some kind of regality or majesty. I probably did too. He was heading strong. I had to go off to keep an eye out; I don’t like people having problems or a lack of fun at my place.
“Hey, Lee,” I called to one of my top gamers, “how’s it going?” “Smooth,” he said casually as he ruined his friend in Street Fighter. He had a knack for putting by complete thoughts, emotions, and, in some situations, commands with only one word. Not many have that, but he did, and he had it well. “Gah, you smackledorfed me,” cried Ben, “Why did you have to put the dang blindfold over me?” He was nuts as usual, and, as usual, it involved a kid that everyone called “Spat.” “Uh, Lee paid me,” Spat said. I decided to leave them alone; they had become entertainment outside of the games for people who didn’t feel like playing a game at that time. A quieter and smarter kid, who had for a long time been called Fobbio, played a game, too. “Enjoy it!” I said as sternly as possible, but he saw through the sarcasm and responded with some, “Why? Who comes here for fun?”
Well, it was another normal day with all the regulars. I decided that I should change the pace a bit. I mentioned to Nico and Leonard that I wanted to make my elite gaming staff, the Sharks. It would make for something interesting, hopefully not a brawl. I grabbed the intercom for fun, “Helloooo, folks, today I have got a surprise for you. We are going to make the elite Onett gaming force: the Sharks. You guys will select the best guys out there. Get the top five, and get them quick. I have to pick up my bike in Twoson.” Conversation happened after that.
About a half an hour later five kids walked up to me. These were the Sharks. Ben, Spat, Lee, Fobbio, and Mike, who really got me more than Fobbio making it, were the ones selected. I would have chosen these four personally, but I didn’t want to steal democracy from the young kids. “I have an idea,” Mike said, “All these Onett gamers are to be called Sharks, but the ones that they elect as the top gamers get to go to the other towns and stuff. I want all of us to be Sharks; we should have that kind of unifying mindset.” The other four nodded in agreement, so I allowed it.
“Closing early, sorry, have to get my bike,” I announced. They cleared out quickly, and I shut down.
Again, I got to walk through that passageway between Onett and Twoson. It is really a beau spot. Virgin land, it is called, untouched by man and its technology. Nothing about it is synthetic. It just lets things be. Nothing is forced; nothing is restrained. It is just Mother letting herself relax and show what she is capable of. It makes me question why mankind seeks to advance technology when all this beauty is here already. Just give and receive what is needed, remove the avarice of man. How can something more powerful than this be attained by any means of technology. We may be able to store a lot in the quickly growing computer, but think of all the stories that this tree or this flower or that brook hold. How can such a thing be mimicked, and why attempt to?
With a bitter-sweet emotion, I parted with the woods and entered into Twoson. I like calm things, like those woods, and Onett is pretty calm, but Twoson is so laid back that it makes Onett look like Tokyo. It also has a very handy and accessible bicycle shop. It makes me glad I live so close to it. I was going to go into the bike shop, but two beastly sized men charged me, captured me, and took me into an alley.
“Where are you taking me?” I asked with a little fright. “We know you is Frank Fly. We ain’t screwed that up. We has to do this for our boss, Nico. You see, he has to talk to you he says if we sees you in Twoson. He told us to make sure to get you, even if we had to abduck you. He also says be ready.” “Nico?” I said with confusion.
At the end of the alley, they opened a door and hurled me into a tight room that was dimly lit. After wiping the dirt off my shirt I looked up; Nico was sitting at a desk, and he was irate. He made no attempt to hide or amplify his emotions on his face; he was irate. “What the hell are you doing in Twoson?” he barked.
“I was just picking up a bike that I-.”
“Yeah, sure, a bike. You expect me to buy that load? I am not an idiot. I know why you came here, you interloper. I told you to stay out of the business with Leonard.”
“I had no business or intentions with him today, or even on my mind!”
“Yeah, sure, the bike, huh? What did I tell you? I told you to stay out of this. I am the only one to help Leonard, got that? You betta. I ain’t so nice next time I catch you. Get this swine out of my sight, boys.” His cronies tossed me back into the alley. “He’ll whack ya; watch out,” said one of them.
I got up and dusted myself again, and looked at my watch: 5:30. I was too late. The bike shop was probably closed up. When I got to the front, I peered inside; all the lights were off and the door locked, not like I should have tried to break in anyway. I would have to risk coming back into Twoson Tomorrow for the bike. They don’t deliver, it isn’t pizza. That, or I could send somebody in my steed. I would just write a note or letter and send on of the Sharks down. I can trust most of them to bring it back.
This was a far rougher day in Twoson than I ever wanted or dreamt of. This was supposed to be tacit little Twoson. Since when did it have an underground crime ring? I think history was made because Nico’s crony said the word “whack” as in killing a person instead of hitting a golf ball. This was no average day by any means. It was like aliens had landed in Twoson. I just wanted to get back to the arcade for dinner and then sleep. After days like this, food and sleep always sound very enjoyable. I started my path back home, walking to the woods.
What noise was that? I looked all around as I entered the woods. “Psst,” there it was again, and then I saw and eye twinkle from the direction which it came from. It was Leonard. “How are you, Frank,” Leonard asked. “Pretty good, but I got to run,” I said. I made haste to the woods.
“Wait,” Leonard plead desperately as he ran up to me and stepped in front of me, “I may need… I may need your help. Your help though, Nico can’t do this.”
“Are you sure?” I asked, “He’ll rip me a new one if you have me do it.” I heard footsteps behind me.
“Yeah, listen now,” he said and then began loquaciously, “I need a draw for Threed. The darn circuses are garnering all the attention that I need. I figure that you can develop something. Any ideas off the top of your head?” The footsteps grew louder and fleeter.
“How about, My top five Sharks against your top five, once you get it started of course,” I offered. The footsteps started to manifest my ears.
“Yeah, sounds good.”
The footsteps stopped. I turned. Nico and his cronies stood their umbruously. Nico stepped forward and glared at me, “I told you to stand down, Frank. You crossed the line.” He pulled out a pistol.