Drowning in the bathroom wasn’t as much fun as watching their bladders explode when the toilet was removed. But, it was a close one.
O’Leon hated his avatars fractionally more than he hated his life although, admittedly, it was a tight race. Useless parasites that they were, always crying for happiness, fulfilment, and satisfaction; what right did they have, when his life was so deeply in the shitter? Where was his benefactor? Where was his protector? Where was his all-seeing overpower, watching out and providing for his every whim?
Like many, his life hadn’t quite turned out the way he’d have wanted. Much to his surprise, mediocre scores hadn’t gone on to convincingly demonstrate the failure of the public school system to grow innovative young minds like fresh flowers. Fights with his employers hadn’t been early signs of an entrepreneurial mind, desperate to break free from the shackles of wage-slavery. Being turned down at the pub was, surprisingly, not their loss. At the end of these countless challenges to his clear physical and intellectual superiority, O’Lean was left sitting here, in front of his computer on a Friday night, playing a game, furiously trying to ignore reality.
And so, Leon did what he did best – control. He tried to exert the control that he felt was lacking in his life. He tried to direct his ennui into these tiny digital characters, punishing them for the ease of their existence. He tortured them, he mutilated them, and he projected his life’s futility into their very souls. And, deep down, he envied them.
It must be made clear, this wasn’t any minor envy; this was envy the strength of which is rarely seen, a deep, dark, channel from which great and terrible things emerge. He envied them for their lack of free will, he envied them for their numerical constraints, and he envied them for, quite simply, being them. In a world where every decision of his had turned out to be the wrong one, the attractiveness of subsuming oneself to divine intervention couldn’t be denied.
And so, he played. And, in playing, he dreamed of a life as easy as his avatars, one where his choices were directed by a grander being, one who would take the burden of choice away and leave O’Leon with the pure simplicity of following orders, good or bad. One where free will was a meaningless construct and where pain and pleasure were deistically determined.
With a sinking heart, he paused.
“Make a choice.”
His hesitation was all she needed. Shoulders quietly folding, she opened the door to step into the great unknown.
He turned back to his monitor, the distraction over. On some level, he knew that he may have missed out on the single biggest event in his life but, in the absence of a higher power or grander direction, he couldn’t bring himself to care.
And so, he played.
Baird woke up, keys leaving an impression on his cheek; for a brief moment there was a blissful void. Then, reality came flooding in, reminding him of his damaged relationship and his dead-end job. Looking up, he saw his simoleon sitting at a computer, talking to himself, happiness meter falling.
With a sigh, Baird saved and turned off his computer.
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