Runaway Parade

Game Night


August 16, 2012

When Kim got back to the dorm, Chloe was sitting on Kim’s bed because from Kim’s bed it was easier to see the TV. A black and white film was playing on mute. The noise music emanating from the stereo was deafening. Kim secretly hated this music and hated when Chloe sat on her bed, but Chloe would turn everything off and return to her own bed eventually so she decided that it was best to let it go.

“What’s up?” Chloe shouted.

“Nothing!” Kim yelled. “Can we turn this down?”



“Oh,” said Chloe, hopping off the bed. She scurried over to the stereo and reduced the noise to a lower decibel. She turned around to face Kim.

“Well, did you bring it?” Kim asked.

Chloe’s purse was on Kim’s desk. Chloe grabbed it and plunged her hand inside, pulling out a copy of Goldeneye for Nintendo 64.

“Oh yeah,” she said, “I brought it.”

“Hell yes,” said Kim. She pushed her wheeled suitcase onto the floor of their tiny dorm room. She ripped the zipper open and unearthed her system, which hadn’t been played for years.

“Let’s go,” said Chloe. The two of them ran upstairs to plug it into the TV in the lounge. They hadn’t talked much over winter break and couldn’t wait to start killing each other. They were in the middle of chasing one another with huge guns when the beams from Jeff and Alice’s vintage Benz swung around the walls of the lounge.

“Jeff and Alice are back,” said Kim. She pointed her gun at Chloe’s head and fired round after round mercilessly.

“Great,” Chloe said.

“I missed Jeff but not Alice,” Kim admitted.

“I missed Alice but not Jeff.”

“Alice is no fun.”

“You have a boner for Jeff,” said Chloe.

“Do not!” Kim protested. She killed Chloe. “Hot damn!”

“Asshole,” muttered Chloe.

“You are really out of practice,” Kim remarked.

“Whatever,” Chloe said, pressing the pause button. “Just because I didn’t spend like, ten thousand hours of my childhood...” She trailed off and shook her head in annoyance. Kim waited for her to say something.

“Well, what?” Kim demanded.

“Nothing,” Chloe said. She got up to grab a bag of Doritos that had been languishing in the kitchen cabinet for a month. She rolled her eyes when she noticed Kim checking herself out in the reflection of the TV screen. Chloe ripped open the bag of Doritos and tossed them on the coffee table.

“Want some?” she asked.

“I’m not hungry,” said Kim, who stretched her long legs over the length of the couch and took another drag of her cigarette, which had been wedged in an ashtray for the duration of the game. Chloe sat down and grabbed a handful of chips. She munched a few and let the rest settle in her lap on top of her skirt. She noticed Kim’s eyes flash down at the chips and knew that Kim was thinking that she was being a slob. Whatever. She unpaused the game and the two of them went at it all over again.
Jeff and Alice could be heard dragging their gigantic suitcases upstairs. They were high-maintenance and always over-packed. Their plodding footsteps and harried murmurs indicated that they had been fighting or were about to.

“What are you guys playing?” asked Jeff when he entered the lounge. Alice was slamming her shit around in her room.

“Jeff!” she yelled, “You forgot to turn off the light in my room! I told you to remember to turn it off after we finished packing up the car!”

“We’re playing Goldeneye,” Kim told Jeff.

“Oooh, I want to play, too,” Jeff said. He sat next to Kim and grabbed a controller.

“Wait, Kim and I aren’t done playing!” said Chloe. Kim shot Chloe in the head again. Pixilated blood poured down Chloe’s half of the screen.

“Ba-na-NA-NA!” the game sang. Jeff and Kim thought this was the funniest thing in the world. Chloe glared at them. Kim exited the game and started a new one for three people. Jeff decided to be Xenia.

“She has huge boobs,” he explained. Alice stormed into the room.

“Jeff, you’re ignoring me!” she whined. “Didn’t you hear what I said? The light in my room has been on for a month. A month!”

Jeff hit the pause button and threw up his hands. “Well, what do you want me to do about it?” he cried.

“Is there any beer in the fridge?” Kim asked.

“There’s some in my room,” said Jeff. “Alice, go get the beer from my room.”

Alice’s face fell. “Jeff...” she sighed, her voice rising an octave. Her skirt was too short and she was wearing knee-highs and flats. She looked young and sounded young. She stared at Jeff and Jeff stared back.

“I’ll just get the beer,” Chloe said. She got up from her chair and snuck out of the room, padding down the dark hallway.

“Bring the whole case,” Jeff called, breaking away from Alice’s gaze. He picked up his controller and unpaused the game. The James Bond theme music resumed.

“What are you doing?” Chloe yelled from Jeff’s room. Jeff made Xenia kill Bond, who was Chloe. Jeff and Kim laughed hysterically. Chloe ran back into the room with Jeff’s case of Rolling Rock.

“That’s not fair! That’s not funny!” she said.

“Don’t get so sensitive,” said Jeff. “It’s just Goldeneye.”

“I want to play, too,” said Alice. She was still pouting. She stood still and waited.

“Well, grab a goddamn controller!” Jeff finally said.

“Here, Alice,” said Chloe, who leapt up to grab Alice the red controller. It was the only one left. Alice took it and stared at it like it was a strange foreign object. She looked at the red controller and then at the clear controller, which was in Kim’s hands.

“I want to use the clear controller,” said Alice.

“I’m using the clear controller,” said Kim. “I always use the clear controller.”

“Alice, you’re acting like a brat,” said Jeff.

“Kim, just give her the clear controller,” Chloe pleaded.

“I’m using it!” Kim protested.

“Jeff, I want to sit next to you,” said Alice.

“Alice, just go sit next to Chloe!” Jeff said. Kim stared up at Alice and made no effort to move.

“Jesus Christ, can we just play the game?” Chloe yelled.

“Fine,” said Alice. She threw her weight into the chair next to Chloe. She glared at Kim, who didn’t notice because Kim was busy having so much fun chasing Jeff around the bunker with a KF-7 Soviet.

Jeff killed Kim. Kim killed Chloe. Chloe killed Alice, and Alice killed nobody because she sucked at video games. Jeff was the best and Kim was the second best. Kim and Jeff each got the Golden Gun and shot one another at the same time. They both died instantly. It was hilarious. Jeff was re-born and found the Golden Gun again. In the distance of the bunker he could see Alice and proceeded to kill her with a single shot. Meanwhile, Chloe and Kim engaged in a duel with lesser guns and Kim killed Chloe yet again. Then Jeff killed Kim and they howled with laughter once more while Alice and Chloe pouted in their chairs.

“Let’s play again,” said Kim.

“Yeah, let’s,” said Jeff, who leaned closer to the TV.

“I don’t want to play again,” said Alice. She threw down her controller.

“Don’t throw my shit around!” Kim yelled.

“Stop yelling!” said Chloe.

“You’re yelling, too!” Jeff shouted.

“Everybody just shut up!” screamed Alice. She stormed out of the lounge and stomped down the hall to her room. She slammed the door. Nobody said a word. The game continued making video game music and the evening was ruined.

“You guys are both jerks,” Chloe said.

“I’d better talk to her,” Jeff said, ignoring Chloe and abandoning his controller on the coffee table. Kim looked up at him sadly as he grabbed another Rolling Rock and hauled himself out of his chair. He went after Alice, cracking into his beer as he disappeared down the hall. He opened Alice’s door. Light flooded the hall for a moment and then everything was dark again when the door closed. Behind the door, Alice and Jeff started fighting again. Kim scoffed.

“I can’t believe we live with them,” she said. “What a joke.”

“It was your idea.”

“Well, sorry!” Kim snapped.

Chloe looked hurt and looked down at her lap. She started eating the Doritos she’d abandoned while playing Goldeneye with Kim, Jeff, and Alice. She looked hurt and Kim felt bad even though she was annoyed with Chloe for siding with Alice and being no fun when it came to video games.

“Do you want to play again?” Kim asked.

“Not at all,” Chloe said, brushing fluorescent orange crumbs off of her skirt. She got out of the chair and turned the TV and the system off. Kim flung her controller into the spot on the couch where Jeff had been sitting.

“Well, what are we going to do now?” Kim demanded.

“I really don’t know,” Chloe said.

“Why is everybody being all weird?” Kim said. “It’s just a stupid game.”

They both stared at the floor. In her room, Alice was yelling at Jeff that she loved him. She was begging him to not be angry with her.

“Why didn’t you return my phone call over break?” Chloe finally ventured.

Kim shrugged. “Sorry,” she said.

“Are you?”

Kim looked up at Chloe. She looked sad. “Yes!” she said. “Yes, of course I am! It was Christmas, you know?”

Chloe sighed. She looked down at the Nintento 64 and absentmindedly pushed the “reset” button with her big toe over and over again.

“Yeah, I know,” she said.

Outside it was freezing. Wind pushed against the building. In the distance, cars were making the droning, sad-sounding noises that cars make while they are driving down an off-ramp when it is late and cold. Alice and Jeff continued to have their huge blow-out fight down the hall. Chloe yawned.

“Well,” she said, “I guess it’s another semester of putting up with your shit.”

“Shut up,” Kim said, and they both went downstairs. They brushed their teeth together and read in their beds for a while. A record that they both liked turned on the little Fisher Price record player they’d found at a thrift store in their college town. When the record was finished, they turned their desk lamps off and lay in bed listening to Alice and Jeff have make-up sex.

“They have the most fucked-up relationship,” Kim said.

“I know it,” said Chloe.

“I don’t know why they stay together,” Kim muttered, tossing herself into a more comfortable sleeping position. She fluffed her pillows aggressively before throwing her head down on top of them. She was facing the wall and didn’t want to talk anymore. Chloe sighed and stared at the ceiling.

“Who knows,” she said.

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