I Pre-ordered an X-BOX, and That's When the Bad Things Happened.

Have you been to Gaming Gigabuys lately, the software superstore? I noticed that all of the X-box promotional material had suddenly disappeared and that they finally had a big stack of Playstation 2's sitting in an oblong pyramid at the front of the store, glowering at me. Kinda funny, since they had inventory problems for so long.

Anyways, I was there because I wanted to pre-order an X-box. I'm really excited about Amped, the snowboarding game. I strolled up to the counter where I noticed that the entire wall behind the sales guy had been covered with PS2 posters. Even the sales dude didn't seem like himself -- he had a dark electric blue tie on and his eyes shifted back and forth frantically. He had a scar and a fresh band-aid on his forehead.

"I'd like to pre-order an X-box!" I announced. "I'm really hyped up about that new snowboarding game."

"Sure!" he said, voice quavering. He placed a copy of SSX onto the counter and slid a bright blue PS2 box toward me. "The PS2 is on sale for $299.99!" he continued.

"But I don't want a PS2," I replied. "I want to pre-order an X-Box."

His scar quivered. "You don't understand," he told me, leaning forward. "We have PS2s. We have a whole pile of gleaming, fresh, new PS2s that you can take home right now." Suddenly he grabbed my collar. "DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT WE HAD TO DO TO GET THOSE PS2S!?"

"I want an X-Box," I said, pulling out my credit card. "How does it work? Should I give you ten dollars down?"

He didn't reply. He just backed away, slowly, and then pulled a phone from the wall, not taking his eyes off of me for an instant. It was a black phone with a blue stripe on it. It didn't have any buttons or dials, just a single red light that blinked when he lifted the reciever. "Uh hunh," he said into the phone. "Yes," he said. "Right now," he nodded. "Arigato."

"I had to ... uh ... call the managers..." he explained, sweating as he gently replaced the reciever. "Wait here." This was all pretty exciting for me. I was smiling and holding out my Visa card. But the salesperson looked as though he didn't want to touch me.

I heard the electric whine of a golf cart in the mall, and within moments it pulled to a stop in front of the Gaming Gigabuys entrance. An elderly Japanese man in white overalls and a blue baseball cap drove it, and turned to look at me through hollow, running eyes. He nodded, sadly, his jaw drooping with age. From the back of the cart three tall younger Japanese gentlemen stepped off, one carrying a shiny metal briefcase. They wore dark pin-stripped suits. Two of them approached me while the third stepped in behind me. "You want ... the X-box?" they asked. I nodded excitedly.

They guided me into a back room, small and dark, with a single wooden table lit from above by a bare low-watt light bulb. I assumed I was there to fill out some X-box pre-ordering paperwork. Instead, one of the men opened the briefcase and pulled out a PS2. His friend reached inside and withdrew a crowbar. The third guy shut the door behind me -- I'm not sure where he'd acquired the baseball bat he was suddenly holding, but I was dimly aware of a sharp crack to the back of my head, and a shiny black dress shoe stepping on my fingers. The details from there are a little fuzzy, though at one point I remember the kicking didn't stop until I acknowledged that Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was voted the best console game of this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo by a panel of independant judges. I find myself more aware than ever before that the PS2's 300MHz CPU is capable of 6.2 GigaFLOPS per second, during which time it can push 66 million Polygons to the screen. Did you know that the Playstation has 32 megabytes of memory? I didn't either, until that guy started heating up the needle-nosed pliers with a blowtorch. Half an hour later I was on my way home.

What's in the sack? Oh geez, I'm not sure. I know from this receipt in my pocket that I bought two PS2s and six games for each, so I assume they're in there. I also think it's filled with sushi. That's just a guess -- you know, judging by the smell and consistency -- but frankly I'm afraid to look.

Victim Pic Small

Want to play some SSX? Please? I think they might still be watching.

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