Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Story, Part II

I'm in lab. Again. Same as before.

To pass the time this time around, I decided to add another incomplete exceprt for my short story, "Achilles." This time, you'll actually figure out part of what the title means. Enjoy!

Megan had nearly forgotten about Peter's party. Though good friends since high school, they had not seen each other very often those last few months. Megan's tendon was healing, and Peters was visiting universities around the country. Her invitation to the party was almost accidental. She crossed paths with Peter at the shopping mall near his place.

"Peter!" she said.

He stopped in front of a t-shirt logo shop and turned around. Megan limped toward him.

"Hey, Megan," he said.

They usually hugged when greeting, but this time he didn't move, so she hugged him. They talked about the universities that Peter had visited. Megan thought it would be impolite to talk about her heel, and she didn't, apart from a brief mention about coming to the mall to try out her "sea legs." This had nothing to do with why she was really there-- or rather, it was as good an excuse as any. It was conversation at any event, even if it didn't compare to the beaches of Point Grey.

"Yo, Peter!" said someone else.

"Oh, Jim!" Peter said.

Jim emerged from behind Megan, standing at their side.

"Jim, this is my friend, Megan."

"Hi," she said.

"Hi. Jim." he said. They shook hands, and after some small talk, he then asked, "So, you looking forward to the party?"

And that's how she was invited. This was thursday morning. The party was friday night. A couple of hours after sunset, the guests arrived bearing gifts: nachos, vegetable platters with dip, fried wanton, some cases of beer. Megan had only remembered the party early that evening, just before she was about to go to sleep at her friend Mel's apartment. By the time she arrived at Peter's houce, most of the guests had already come. Still, there was enough room in the driveway for her to park her car. She knocked on the door once, and then again when Peter didn't answer. Finally, he opened the door.

"Megan!" he said. He was clearly surprised to see her.

"Hi," she said.

"Come on in!"

She handed him a shrimp cocktail on her way in through the door.

"Hope no-one's allergic," she said.

"Wow, thank you!" he said, admiring the platter.

She was pleased. She had stopped at a grocery market to buy the platter, even though she was already late. It wouldn't have been worth it if he didn't like it. She liked feeling like she still knew him after all. He set the platter on the kitchen table with all the other snacks the guests had brought. None of the guests were downstairs, and loud noises eminated from the floor above.

"We're just upstairs, watching the game," Peter said as Megan untied her shoes. "I'll see you up there, unless you need a hand?"

"I'm fine."

Peter walked up the stairs. Megan slipped her right shoe off first, careful not to bend her foot upward the way she always did when she took her shoes off before the accident. As she slipped off the other shoe, she heard Peter upstairs.

"Hey guys, my friend Megan is. . ."

His voice, and the sound of the TV, faded. Peter must have closed the door, she thought. Why would he do that? She made her way carefully up the stairs and through the door to the media room.



"Megan, how are--?"

"Come on in--"

"Sit down--"

"Have a seat--"

"--how are you--?"

"Nice to meet you!"

Peter's friends, about ten in total, greeted her in unison, the moment she entered. They sat on a half-ring of sofas surrounding the TV, watching a hockey game. The couches were packed, save for a big, conspicuous gap between Peter and Jim from the mall.

"Hi everyone," she said.

"Have a seat!" Jim said, pointing to the empty spot on the couch. "We made room."

She moved to her seat quickly, trying not to block anyone's view of the TV. The room was dark, and she nearly tripped over a guest's leg.

"Oh no! Are you okay? I'm sorry!" the guest said.

"Yeah, I'm fine, I'm fine."

She say down.

"You like hockey?" Jim asked.

"Enough, I guess," she said.

"Canucks verses Oilers. Third period, score's--AWW!"

"AWW!" the others said.

"Reeeee-jected," Peter said.

"Aw shit!" JIm said. "So close. So close."

"How the hell does he get away with this all of a sudden?" another guest, a girl, said.


"Not sucking, that's what!" the girl said.

"He doesn't suck," someone else said.

"He so sucks!"

"He's not the best."

"They've had him all season, he hasn't done shit all."

"Well, he did do shit all th-- OH!"

"OOHH!" they all said.

Megan's spot wasn't as big as it looked, and she was uncomfortaable between Jim and Peter. She actually didn't enjoy hockey at all. It was boring to her, and she started to wonder if she should have just crashed at Mel's place after all. It was another one of those times when she went without sleep for days, and the fatigue was starting to hit her. The room seemed to spin a little as the game wore on, and it was harder for her to keep her eyes open and focused.

The light came on suddenly. The game was over. Megan lifted her head from the couch. Everyone was standing.

"Don't get up, Megan!" Peter said.

He stood at the entranceway of the media room.

"Where are you going?" Megan asked.

"We're playing werewolf downstairs," he said. "But don't get up. SOme of the guys are gonna stay up here and play Halo."

Jim and the girl were connecting a game console to the TV.

"Do you play Halo, Megan?" Jim asked.

Megan didn't like how curious Jim was. She turn to the door, but Peter was already gone. The girl placed a contoller in Megan's ahnd, and the five other guests who stayed upstairs all took seats on the couch as the game began.

"Like Halo?" Jim asked again.

"Never played it," she said.

"You've never played Halo deathmatch?" the girl said. "You're missing out!"

"I'm more of a Metal Gear person myself," Megan said. "So how do I start?"

The girl took Megan's controller, pressed a few buttons, and handed it back to Megan.

"Just use the d-pad to type in your name," the girl said. "Whatever you want."

After a momeent of thought, and longer fiddling with the buttons, she entered the name of her player: Achilles. No-one asked whether this had anything to do with her foot. Within that very minute, the game began. Achilles and his partner, thrilla_in_vanilla-- who together made up team O'Doyle-- stood side by side on a beach near an otherworldly ocean. Their enemies, the Lesbian Seagulls, lay hidden in the wastes beyond. Guns in hand, they moved forward along the beach, the thrilla in long strides and impossible leaps, Achilles more cautiously. When thrilla was well ahead, he begun to shine a bright orange. He was under attack. He tried to dodge, but was down quickly.

"Leeessssbian Seagullllllll!" cried their enemies. They would be coming for Achilles next.

Achilles strode to a rock formation and-- after Megan asked which button made her guy crouch-- hid behind it. She waited, long enough for the trilla to return.

"Megan, where are you?" the girl who handed her the contoller asked.

"You're on my team, right?"

"Of course I am."

Megan, who briefly considered pointing out that the Lesbian Seagulls were both guys, instead simply mentioned that she couldn't ay anything that would compromise her to her enemies, who were within earshot.

"Well, I need some fucking help," the girl said.

Achilles rose and marched toward the plastered-on sun to the west(she assumed) following the faint sound of gunfire. Then, after much taunting between the players, he appeared. He was distant atff first, and Achilles could not tell if he even was a seagull, let alone lesbian. Quickly, and while still distant, the figure opened fire, hitting Achilles three times with a bath of orange glow. There was a rapid beeping sound that had to be Achilles' warning system. In a panic, he ducked-- this act, while accidental, helped him evade another stream of deadly energy from the opponent's gun. He circled while still crouched, searching for his enemy, eventually spotting the villain on a quick, straight approach. Megan could now clearly read his floating nametag, King_Dubya. She pressed a button, and before she was even sure the gun had fired, the king was slain.

"Aww!" one of the guys cried.

"O'Doyle Rules!" the girl said.

"Nice shot, Megan!" Jim said. It was the first time he had commented on anyone's markmanship that evening.

"Come on Megan, say it!" the girl said.

"O'Doyle Rules!"

Still unsure of how she had done what she had done, Megan vowed nonetheless that Achilles would vanquish the other foe on team Lesbian Segull-- Jim. Even if this wasn't his nametag, she knew by elimination that he must be the only other player in the game.

Unfortunately, killing Jim proved difficult. He was a talented player, and despite her best efforts, he always managed to escape Achille's clutches. The game went on for more than an hour, and Megan's joy og glory had faded. The hour was not without its conquests-- Achilles had slain the king three more times, to the cheers of her compatriots-- but those conquests were hollow next to the greater prize. The combat was exhausting, and Megan, by the shaking of her hands and the shortness of her nerves, could feel hunger coming on. But she could not yield.

Peter came upstairs to see how she was doing.

"Fuck me!" Megan said, throwing the contoller onto her lapjust a Peter entered.

"Jesus, chill out!" he team-mate said.

"Sorry..." said Megan.

"Hey Megan," Peter said. "You sound pissed."

Megan sighed.

"Yeah, I'm just kickin' everyone's ass is all," Jim said. "You'd be pissed too if you had to go up against someone this talented."

"You, talented?" Peter said.

"Hells yeah," Jim said.

"How you doin', Meg?" Peter said.

"She's kickin' ass too!" Jim said, overjoyed.

Megan lenaed her head back briefly, eyes closed. She didn't seem pleased with Jim's compliment.

"Are you hungry?" Peter asked of Megan.

"A little, but I can wait," she said. "How's the shrimp?"

"Good," he said. "We're all eating up down there. You should join us. It's no problem if she leaves, right?"

"No, we're just between games," Jim said.

"In a few minutes," Meagn said. "I still gotta kick Jim's Lesbian Seagull ass here."

"Really?" Peter said. "Okay, uh... Can I borrow Jim for a minute?"

Jim looked up.

"What is it?"

Jim stood up and followed Peter into an adjacent room, while the others waited for him to return. Their conversation was inaudible at first, but Megan, facing away from the two on the couch, was gradually able to hear.

"Look, I have..."

"I know you have, man."

"I have been...I've been trying all night."

"Why say that?"


"That you're kicking ass?"

"'Cause I am!"


"It's not like her hands are hurt, man."


"Besides, she's kicking ass too. I meant that. I mean, for a beginner."

"But you know how competitive she is, right? Right?"

"Of course I do. So what?"

"Look, she won't tell this to anyone, but... look, I really think she needs to get some rest."

The conversation was inaudible from that point.

1 comment:

Naomi said...

Ohh far more details.

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