Every player on every server has a nameless nemesis. Toby struggles with his.
By Toby McCasker on May 14, 2014 at 5:54 pm
“Hey, it’s that guy again.” She’s pointing. “He has killed you like, one million times.” She thinks she’s hilarious and breaks into a powerful Cheshire Cat grin. “One million times,” she whispers. I think she’s exaggerating for the sake of comedy but she won’t hear of it, and dances around the lounge room making it rain one million times. A lesser man would have crumbled by now. But I am no ordinary man. I am a man stalked by other men; by that guy, again.
It’s true, he has killed me a few times. OK, a lot.
“One million times,” she calls out from the bedroom, now listening to A-ha’s greatest hits (one song).
And it is sort of true, yes, that I have not managed to kill him once. Once I was close, and the feeling that surged through me in that moment was like no other mass dichotomy of human feelings. It was at once elation and triumph, then disappointment and despair. I tried to recall another time in my misspent life when I felt that complexly. My thoughts were loud.
“When we have sex,” she squawks over the chorus of Take On Me, high-fiving herself.
It is sort of true, yes, sex is good. Good when it’s happening, sad when it is over.
“It’s over really fast,” she cackles. She’s turned A-ha off and is now on the phone to one of her girlfriends. I think I will stop including her in this article. While I look inwardly for life’s answers, That Guy Again kills me. Again. From behind. Never saw him coming, if it indeed it is a ‘he.’ I wonder what kind of person is playing this ghost of my demise.
I am used to silencing the cacophony of young teens, though no tell-tall signs of virginal confusion issue from That Person Again’s deathly composure. It could be anyone. What if it’s some 12-year-old? I am filled with more shame than usual. The kind of shame that waits to crush you under its oceanic rage as you wake from a weekend unfit to recount. I’m counting, though. Counting the seconds it just took for That Person Again to find me and destroy me after spawning just then. Single digits.
I convince myself they’re cheating. They must be. It seems impossible this can be happening. How can the same person be everywhere I am, and always faster on the draw? Aha, I get it now. I’m obviously important, as I am on the internet. The world can see me, and it envies what it sees. People… know me. That Person Again must have taken umbrage with my amazing life and has set about hunting me relentlessly in this great game of existential FPS.
The match is over and I suck a great deal. Everything inside hurts. The next match starts. The solar winds now blow in my face. I am seemingly everywhere That Person Again is, and they are always that fraction too slow. It just sort of happens, like when you’re out boozing and you end up synchronising with another guy’s trips to the bathroom. It is unusual happenstance and it is a fickle mistress, though this time the tables I flipped have now turned.
“You’re not strong enough to flip a table,” she sings from the other room.