If someone told me I'd be fighting an internet mogul in a downtown Baltimore warehouse at crazy o'clock in the morning, if someone had told me that just a couple weeks ago,I'd have called him crazy. I'm a lowly game tester. No, It's not all "Call of Battle" and "God of Istanbul" all day, p0wning n00bs and taking names. It's mostly bug finding in flash games that never see the light of FaceBlog. I do get to hang out with other gamers, however, and I got other hobbies. I write, I do comedy. I had a sweet life, and then she walked in.
Her luscious raven hair bounced on her shoulder as she walked into my office, tickling the tops of her heaving boobies, confined by a tight black Shibuyu Temptress t-shirt. A hot anime fan. I knew I was in trouble. Her cherry-red lips parted to allow her husky voice to utter "So I hear you're Scott Gajewski."
"So says the name plate I printed myself," I quipped, leaning back ever so suavely and leaning back from my session of "Angry Birds 2: The Retweeting".
"What can I do for you?"
"Not me, Mr. Gajewski, my company. We need a tester. A writer. A comic. And we need someone to do it for cheap."
"So you've heard of me," I replied, leaning back in my chair smugly. Did she see my chair almost fall over? No. Totally not. Just play it smooth, naughty Scotty. "But why would I want to work for you?"
"Complete creative control, Mr. Gajewski. You'll write a game, design the levels, add the dialogue. You'll put hundreds of hours into this, and it's gonna be good. We like your stuff, Mr. Gajewski, and we want to see it come to life."
"Tell me more"
"Meet me in the Inner Harbor, in front of the Hard Rock Cafe at 5:15 am. Don't be late. My name is Lenka."
When I showed up, the city was quiet compared to my thoughts. The water lapping on the filthy harbor shore was louder than a distant siren. I heard the limo pull up, and saw her her open the door. She stalked out of her carriage like a stalking cat, wearing a leather trenchcoat, and stood facing the water.
"Come quickly," she beckoned, summoning me with one calm, smooth arm motion. I felt compelled to run toward her. She started talking quickly as we drove quickly. "Have you ever heard of Pig Flying Adventure", Mr. Gajewski?"
"Of course I have! It's the most downloaded iDong game this year! Was that you guys's?"
"How about 'Restaurant Rush'? "Vegetable Ninja'?"
"That was you guys' too? Well, if you're so successful, can't you get interns to work for you? Why do you want me?"
"We like your vision, Scott. We see more advanced flash game: fantasy themes, whimsical but clever sense of humor, coherent plot." The limo pulled up to the building. The plot necessitated a short ride.
"Spend 20 hours a week here and give us something. You'll have your foot in the door at a real game campany. Is that something you'd want?"
"Yeah. Sure, I'm in."
"Excellent." she opened the car door. "This is where you'll be working," she said, handing me a business card. She led me into what looked like an abandoned warehouse. She led me past rows of cubicles where a couple dozen workers stared diligently at computers, clicking and typing away. "This is where you'll be working" she said, gesturing me to a corner desk where a beautiful computer sat, quietly humming as its LED lights shone placidly. "A 10-page summary of your game is due in 4 hours. We want a self-directed storyline, several levels of difficulty, and sample dialogue. Sodas and energy drinks are in the fridge. Good luck."
"Ohhhkay then." I didn't have the presence of mind to argue. I mean, What if this sucks? I guess I can quit any time. This could be the opportunity of a lifetime. Well, whatever. I set to work on an idea that had been bouncing around my brain for a while. It had kind of choose your own adventure aspect to it, but levels were easily adaptable. Sometimes the best artist is the biggest fan. The hours flew by. I made sketches, wrote a plot, outlined levels, and had an awesome presentation done. I printed it out with the printer on my desk, and with the print out came a note
Please deposit on the desk behind you.
We will see you tomorrow at 5 am
It then listed an address. Behind me, indeed, was a desk, completely bade except for an elegant wooden inbox and a red swingline stapler. I looked around. Not a soul was walking or even looking up. All my coworkers (coworkers?) in their little cubicles were solemnly working at their computers, eyes trained ahead. Oh well. I stapled my opus and placed it in the inbox. I put on my coat and left.
After my regular shift at my real job, I went to my second job. Everyday, Lenka greeted me with my assignment, and every day, I would pass the other drones and finish my room with vigor and enthusiasm. On my 5th day, I walked in, and the lights were off. I noticed the light switches to the immediate left of the door, and let go of the doors to flip the switch. I flipped them to no avail as the door slammed shut behind me. Great. I tried to open the door. Locked. Should have seen this coming. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I found that the only light came from an office, a holdout from the warehouse days of this building. "Help!" I called out. The office door opened, and a figure walked down the stairs. "Oh, I'll help you," he said.
As he descended the stairs, two other figures slunk out of the shadows, and wordlessly ran down the stairs. In the silence, I could just hear the pitter-patter of jack-booted feet running toward me down an industrial staircase. Before I could piece together the connection between my presence and the existence of the malefactors, they had my arms pinned behind my back and were attempting to handcuff me. I kicked, I thrashed, I planted my feet right into the chest of the assailant on my left. with an "oomf," he fell to the ground, as I toppled on top of him. I snapped my body forward, flipping my second assailant down to the ground, and ran. I leaped up the stairs, taking them three at a time, like a man possessed. I saw the third figure on the stairs. He lunged at me. I dodged, and he fell behind me. I kept running. Maybe there was a key in the office. I got into the office, and slammed the door. No lock. I shoved a desk up against the door. I looked for a weapon. A pounding at the door! Shit. My best bet was a fire ax, left next to the fire extinguisher. I grabbed it. The man appeared at the office window. I saw only his gun, and ducked out of the way, behind the desk. Two shots. glass shattered. I stood, raising my weapon toward my assailant. Never bring an ax to a gun fight. I charged him, pinning him to the wall. His gun pointed safely away from my body. I shook him until he dropped it. Then I moved my hands toward his skinny neck. fuck if I was gonna lift my grip on this guy to swing my ax. My hands tightened. His eyes bulged. "help me" he squeaked through a flattened larynx. I looked him in the eyes.
"Zeke Motherburg!" I screamed. I backed away. I was choking the now-rogue creator of FaceBlog. But why?
to be continued