Super Ball Madness

Takeshi walked by all the games where kids were waving their hands around brightly lit screens, playing drums, playing guitars, or just jumping around like mad. Even though this arcade kept the old games in the back, it was a lot more than could be said about others. What was Japan doing with its youth?
Takeshi liked it in the back, anyway. Past all the madness through the arcade and outside of it, all the people jumping and bustling, he could enjoy his favorite game: Super Ball Madness.
Super Ball Madness was a simpler, pixilated game, where the player only used a single joystick to move the screen around to make the ball get to the goal. He put a 100 yen coin in the slot and suddenly he felt he had control over his life, his marriage, his mortgage payments…
“Jiisan!” yelled a large voice coming from his hip. The shock from the volume of the child’s voice made him wiggle his joystick too much. He just barely missed the goal when his timer ran out.
“What? What do you want? You made me lose, you know! You going to pay for that?” He shook his finger at the Game Over screen.
“Why would you want to play that game, jiisan? It’s old!”
“What’s wrong with old?”
“It looks like pachinko. I bet you like to play pachinko.”
“Sometimes. But what would you know about it?”
“Mama says the men who play pachinko are all deadbeats who can’t go home and face their wives and families.”
Takeshi felt his eye twitch. Parents never taught their kids anything these days. If he talked like that to an elder when he was a kid, he would have been taken aside and beaten. Takeshi reached out and grabbed the kid’s head in an armlock. The kid screamed and tried to run but Takeshi already had him in a vice grip with his knuckles digging into the kid’s hair. “What do you know, you brat!”
“Sir!” It was a woman. She had too much red lipstick on. “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
Takeshi let the kid go running off and crying. “Look, I was just playing this game and…”
“We’re getting rid of that game next week, anyway. Please leave and don’t come back.”
Takeshi looked back at the screen. The timer ran out and he hadn’t put his initials on the screen. He could see his initials in 9 spots but with one blank spot at the bottom.
“I’m going. I’m going.” He shoved his hands in his pockets and went to the end of the block to play pachinko.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XI

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