"Do you have the time?"
"You got a watch."
"I do? I do! I er-uh need the -- what's it? -- correct time. To set it. Reset it."
"And you don't have a phone apparently."
"Obviously not, or else I'd, uh, you know use it."
"Yeah, whatever. It's about -- hey! Watch where you're going. Did you see that?"
"He barely touched you."
"Almost tackled me is more like it. Motherfucker, I think he rubbed something on me."
"No, I don't think so."
"Asshole probably wiped a booger on me. If it's a fetish I appreciate the sexual necessity, but fuck all."
"Yeah, yeah. It's 2:23."
"Don't mention it."
The stranger with the bad watch headed off, and I examined my coat for any signs of snot rape. Finding none I tried to remember why I was outside. Slush puppy: a 72 oz cup full of ice drowning in strawberry syrup. Maybe a dash of tequila to... my hand started tingling. I looked at it. My hand flickered like images from a fluttering film reel. Then the world around me did the same.
I once got so drunk that walking felt like tumbling head over heels without ever falling down. Teleportation has a similar sensation. Everything around you convulses in a nauseating spin. For a moment there's a peaceful blackness that seems to go on forever then another gut wrenching spasm brings everything back to normal. The effect is a stomach churning blink from one location to another.
So it was I blinked from the city streets to a closet sized room, a cell made of flat metal walls.
"Motherfucker." I said, afraid I recognized the room.
A serene female voice spoke, "Greetings contestant." -- confirming my suspicions.
I collect urban legends, and conspiracy theories. They add a certain spice to life making it seem as if dragons still exist in some secret wildlife preserve, or aliens brought us microwave popcorn to teach us about the origin of the universe; there are Bogeymen, the franchise begun in 1952, preaching bloody morality one dead teenager at a time; Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, but Oswald was possessed by the consciousness of a time traveling assassin sent back by Jackie Onassis to punish her husband for his many infidelities; the list goes on and on. I gather them all because some are true, though the realities aren't quite what the stories would have a person expect.
For instance, when someone tried to drug me and steal my kidney I found out bludgeoning the thief to death with the hotel telephone meant a sweet little girl in Spokane wasn't going to get a new kidney. But I digress. This is about The Game.
The first account of The Game dates to January 19th, 1924. Most people are familiar with it in some form or another: humans hunting humans for sport. There's nothing new about the concept just look at the Roman coliseum. However, the 1924 incident is different from gladiatorial combat because gladiators knew what they were getting into. The whole idea behind The Game is to watch so-called ordinary people being prey.
According to urban mythology, since 1924 The Game has evolved to such a degree of surreal terror I expected to die the minute my cell opened. Or at best shortly thereafter. Considering as much I realized there are a couple of people who would be glad to see me dead. Not wanting to give those cunts any joy, I resolved then and there to survive.
The serene voice spoke, "Please read the rules, and remember: try to have fun."
Words began to glow in one of the metal walls: Exit thru the door in front of you. Stay alive.
I can only imagine the amorphous panic running through a person who blinks into that claustrophobia inducing cell without any idea what's going on. The fear running through me wasn't nebulous. It applied to specific concerns such as the door opening allowing a velociraptor to come screaming in and gut me. There is an odd comfort in specificity.
I felt like I possessed a bit of an advantage. I knew the situation. Kind of.
The wall slid open without a sound. I saw jungle on the other side. Boldly, I slid an inch forward. Then another. As soon as I eventually exited the cell the door shut behind me.
I barely got a chance to glance at the metal cube before it flickered to parts unknown.
The rustle of leaves. I looked up. In a nearby tree a baboon perched, glaring at me. The monkey carried a sawed off double barrel shotgun, and wore a bandolier full of shells. However, the human scalps covering the baboon's loins made me the most worried.
The monkey grinned, a savage smile of vicious teeth, "You're quite lucky sir. I've already had a fuck today."
I replied, "Good to hear."
"Indeed. I intend then only to kill you."
COMING SOON! PART 2: NAPALM FACE PALM