Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Greatest Pinball Game in the World

by Leile One

The first thing to do is to get away from the desk. Fax any faxes that need faxing; blast out a few boring emails. Now you really do deserve a break. Tell the temp you’ll be back in a few, and put on your coat. The game room is a mere few blocks down the street, but remember that maneuvering your way out of an office situation is a delicate process. The last thing you want to do is arouse the suspicion of a snoopy supervisor...that power-tie down the hall can smell Pinball Fever on an employee like a bloodhound detects crime.

Once on the street, you can breathe a little easier. Light a smoke or enjoy a stick of gum. Have an excuse prepared for anyone you may bump into from the office. “Just on my way to grab a cup of joe,” or, “Sandwich time!” should work adequately. After all, it isn’t entirely untrue. What you seek in your affair with the pinball table is merely a mental and physical revitalization, a fuel with which to keep lit the fire that enables you to complete the day’s dull list of tasks.

Almost there. Your pulse quickens slightly, mouth tasting of rusted metal. You’ve got aspirations to reach multiball mode on ball one, and the skills to make it happen. That’s because you do not fuck around, and because you and the machine itself have reached an understanding. It’s a symbiotic relationship: the game wants you to rack up major points because you are its favorite customer. Of course, you can never be certain of this, but it’s a feeling you get in your heart and you’ve come to trust it. Therefore, when the machine directs you to shoot for the flashing arrows on the left and right after 75 bumper taps, you lovingly obey its command and do it in three flipper flips or less. When Leile One is on his game, the ball’s destinations are anything but random.

This is it. You exchange one dollar for four golden tokens, not redeemable for cash value after this transaction. Who needs cash when you’ve got the satisfaction of beating your personal best score? You stroll towards the apparatus, staring it down with a gleam in your eye that says, “Me and you, buddy. Me and you.” A disclaimer near the token-slot stresses that this game is intended “FOR AMUSEMENT ONLY”, yet I’m sure its manufacturer sensed that for some, it could be spiritually more useful than that. Sopranos the TV show? Haven’t really fucked with it. Sopranos the Pinball Game – now there’s something special...

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