Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jumping the Impossible Gap

Given the opportunity, there was always a one-in-twenty chance of utter failure which could result in possible death.

In the roleplaying game Melvin ran, however, that same opportunity usually allowed a one-in-twenty chance of success beyond any logic as well. That was the beauty of this game; a player could take just about any risk and have a chance at pulling it off. This particular moment was no different, as Vance prepared his stalwart barbarian, Fritz Axeson, to jump a forty foot gap over molten lava to retrieve the famed helm of Ruairi, lord over all dragons. The other three players -- Tom, Jesse and Noah – helped Vance as they could for this climactic moment in the game.

“Can I use ‘Inspire’ to give him a boost?” Jesse asked Melvin.

“He isn’t in earshot of you,” Melvin said.

“Not even if I do it really loudly?” Jesse asked, knowing the answer.

“I told you we shouldn’t have separated the group,” Tom muttered.

“Hold on,” Noah interjected. “Maybe he’ll get a better chance if he set up a bunch of explosives to go off just as he’s about to jump. We just have to calculate the physics and his chance of survival—“

“Noah, no,” Melvin said.

“I got this,” Vance said. He added “If only life was more like this.”

“Speaking of,” Jesse said, “How’re things going with Rose?”

Vance paused in place. Before the others took notice, though, he resumed to reach for his drink.

“Oh, you know,” Vance said. “Just the usual wild nights together. Who could resist my good looks, after all?”

“When are you going to ask her out, Vance?” Jesse asked.

“He knows better than to bother trying,” Tom said. “Though he has a better chance of succeeding with her than trying to make this jump.”

“I have plenty good chance,” Vance said.

“You have to roll a fifteen or better,” Tom said. “Otherwise, you’ll just fall to your death. Not that I care, mind you, but God help you if you roll a one. Last time you did that, it wiped out the whole party, and Mel takes every opportunity he can to screw us all over.”

“He’s right,” Melvin said with a smirk. “Where’s the fun if I don’t give you all a little challenge?”

“It’d be with us and our still living characters,” Noah noted, munching on a slice of pizza.

Melvin leaned back in his seat. “Feel free to run your own game then.”

“Maybe I will,” Noah said.

“I’m telling you, Vance,” Jesse said, “that you should at least try going for Rose. What’s the worst that can happen?”

Vance shifted in his seat. “And what do you suggest, Jesse? Just stroll on up and say to her ‘Hey Rose, you’re hot. We should go out,’ or something? I know my odds. It isn’t going to happen. My track record makes that clear. Tom’s right, it’s not worth it.”

“Tom also thinks you should get on with the rolling already,” Tom added. “I doubt you’re about to break your track record of rolling your worst when it’s most needed, in any case. No need to drag this out any more than necessary.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Vance grumbled. “I’ll just make my roll then—“

“Wait a minute,” Melvin said. “First, I want you to roll for making the running start.”

“What?!” Jesse yelled. “Why?”

“Oh, it’s very treacherous ground,” Melvin explained. “He has to make sure not to trip. Don’t worry, he just has to roll a five or more. I’m pretty sure even he can do that.”

“Want my lucky die?” Noah asked Vance. Vance shook his head, and Al went back to eating his pizza. Everyone watched as Vance threw his red twenty-sided die to tumble on the table. It stopped just in front of Tom.

“Ah shit,” Tom said. “You just had to roll a one, didn’t you? Let me guess – he stepped on some trap where rocks fall and everyone dies.”

“Tempting,” Melvin said, “but no. I’m feeling nice right now. Because of your roll, the ground crumbles beneath your feet. You now have a minus five penalty to your jump.”

“You might have well just killed him,” Tom said. “He wouldn’t be able to roll a natural twenty to save his life.”

“You should have taken my lucky die,” Noah noted.

“Oh well,” Vance said. “It was worth a try.” Vance scooped up his die and carelessly tossed it back onto the table before picking up a player’s manual. “Maybe I should consider a rogue for my next character…”

“Wait,” Jesse said. “Look!”

Jesse fingered at the die that Vance just rolled. The others leaned closer to look for themselves. Melvin pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose as he peered down at the die.

“Well whaddaya know,” Melvin said. “Looks like you just did the impossible.”

“Ho-ly shit,” Tom said. “Why didn’t you roll that twenty when we were up against that dragon in the last game session?”

“Who cares?” Noah said. “He did it. He got the helmet, the game is over, we won.”

Jesse jumped up and hugged Vance, with Noah and even Tom getting up to do the same.

“Hey now,” Melvin said. “You all still have to get him and that helmet back out, and—“

“Yeah, yeah,” said Tom. “My guy has rope on him, we’ll be with him soon enough.

Vance tried to stop smiling with little success. He stared at the red twenty-sided die sitting on the table in disbelief. He moves to pick the die up, but then stops, and looks at his phone on the table nearby. Vance momentarily looks at the others, busy situating themselves back in their seats, before picking up his phone and beginning to walk out the door.

“Hey,” Melvin said to Vance. “Where are you going?”

“Don’t worry,” Vance said. “I’ll be right back.”

As Vance steps outside the room, he starts calling someone.

“Hello. Rose? This is Vance. I was just wondering if you were busy this Tuesday…”

The Smurf Confessional

I have a smurfing problem. Can you guess what that smurf is?

Pretty funny, wouldn’t smurf say? I wasn’t always smurfed with this smurf. Smurf, I don’t think I ever even watched a single smurf of whatever that cartoon was called. I started replacing smurfs I said with… well, you know, about three smurfs ago. Smurfingly, it all began on a dark and smurfy night, at home, with my wife.

The rain smurfed heavily on the roof. My wife, someone I cannot even smurf by name now, had her head smurfed upon my shoulder as we gazed upon the flames crackling in the smurfy fireplace. The two of us had our problems, but at that smurf moment, we were at smurf. To me, there was smurfolutely nothing in the world that could break our smurf for each other. Oh how smurf I was to think that.

“Smurf?” she asked.

“Yes?” I smurfed. She proceeded to smurf me the question that would smurf me the rest of my life.

“Would you still love me if I told you that you were going to be a father?”

At first, the question seemed smurfingly stupid. Of course I would still smurf her. We were married, after all, and I would always stay smurf to my vows. There was no smurf too big for us to handle. We were adults, after all, and could handle any situation smurfed our way. This sort of question was one of those silly smurfotheticals that women just like to throw out there, to put their minds at smurf when their lacking confidence often cannot. It was the sort of thing I wouldn’t have expected out of my smurfiful wife, though. She wasn’t one to smurf with those sort of games. I smiled smurfingly to her and almost carelessly said yes to her, and then I paused. She asked me if something was wrong, but I did not smurf. Why had she asked that smurfingly simple question?

I smurfed for a moment, and a smurfitude of thoughts raced through my mind. Perhaps she genuinely lacked the smurf-confidence that I would still love her. But that didn’t make much smurf to me. In all my life, I’ve never known her to be anything but the smurfest of women, and she had certainly dealt with far worse smurf. I remember when she was nearly smurfed by those two smurfs outside the park. That was actually how I met her, having smurfed them away. I became her knight in smurfing armor that day. It never ceased to amaze me just how smurf that time really was, because she was, in fact, a very capable woman who could otherwise take care of hersmurf. I am still convinced to this day that the smurf I met her was nothing short of smurfendipity. Since that first day, she was always the one to smurf me out of danger or my own smurfidity. I fell in love with her that day I saved her, and smurfed as quick as I could to persuade her to marry me. I won’t smurf, it took a lot of persuading. She eventually smurfed though, and we married in a smurf chapel, after which, we… well, I’m sure you can guess, but you would be wrong. We were so tired, we both just fell into the deepest smurf either of us likely had our entire lives. The thought had crossed my mind just then, a thought I am smurfed I never considered before. The two of us didn’t simply abstain that smurfical night. We abstained every night I was with her, before and after the smurfiest day of my life.

I was not upset that we never took that smurfimate step. Do not misunderstand me – it was a step I smurfretely wanted to take with her. The night I met her, though, made that step smurfficult for her, and it was not something I wanted to smurf her to do, not even the least bit. I remained patient, keeping my smurf thoughts entirely to myself. She meant too much to me to smurfodize my relationship with her over, and she was the perfect woman any smurf could ask for. She may have smurfed her time with plenty of other men, but I was always the one she came home to nearly every smurf night.

Nearly ever smurf night.

I stared into her smurf-colored eyes with realization. She turned her eyes away from mine and towards the smurf wall to the side. The initial smurf paralyzed me at first, a calm in the eye before the smurf. The winds of emotion soon swept over my smurfed self: anger, pain, confusion, sadness, envy, and even a little smurfiness. All the memories I had with her smurfed heavily upon me, and I nearly shooked into pieces as the waves of broken trust battered against me. I never sank, though, nor lashed or smurfed a hand against her. Instead, I simply smurfed up from where I was, walked towards the door, and with my back to her, said only one word.


I did not see her the rest of that smurfy night, as I had walked out the door and smurfed down the long road. I did not stop, even when my feet were smurfed. The sun rose from the smurf sky, and a police car stopped by me. I turned to the officer, assuming he thought smurfing on the road was worth an investigation. I prepared myself to explain to him that I was simply releasing my smurf from a long and difficult night, and that I would be more than happy to return home. He smurfed no interest in investigating what I presumed, only asking me for my name. When I provided him my name, he asked me to get in the car with him, his face deeply smurfed. He drove me back to my home, where other police cars smurfed around the house. The officer brought me inside my own home, and with efficient smurfness, asked me to identify the body on the bathroom floor.

I started to smurf.