This ficlet is dedicated with harmony to metrocard . Persistence is futile. And yet we persist. We are doomed to experience a fiery death.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
"Gabi?" Troy called out, closing the door of their modest one bedroom apartment in Palo Alto, California.
His girlfriend of seven years didn't respond, however he knew that she was home - the front blinds had been wide open, her bicycle was out the front and he could hear music coming from the dining area. He frowned upon listening a little more intently to the music - he was used to all sorts of eclectic music from Gabriella but this track wasn't something he recognised. It was somewhere between pop and dance.
"Gabi, whatcha doing?" He dropped his cardboard box filled with the projects belongings to the students of his fourth grade class at Duveneck Elementary, and kicked off his Vans.
She didn't respond. He'd called home briefly at lunch time, she'd been deeply engrossed in her research project. It was her biggest project yet at her time studying at medical school, and it was the most stressed he'd ever seen her over school. His genuis girlfriend was typically cool, calm and collected; throughout senior year and college it had been her soothing him as he stresed about his assignments and balancing work, study and his extra-curriculars.
He came into the dining room, spying her textbooks and notes spread across the wooden table as she sat in a pair of dark grey sweats and a pale pink tank top, huddled over her laptop. He didn't want to startle her so he purposely scuffled a little as he entered the room, and peered over her shoulder to see what she was up to.
And he blinked - spotting what appeared to be a horse - or was it a horse? Maybe it was a unicorn? Leaping across the screen and barelling into stars.
you doing?" Troy exclaimed.
At that instant, the unicorn slammed into the wall and Gabriella let out an expasperated groan. "Troy!" she exclaimed. "You distracted me!"
"I distracted you from what?"
he demanded as he slid into the seat next to her.
She was refocused on her screen. "It's a game. Wish 2 is beginning, shh."
"Wish 2? What the?"
She waved him away and concentrated on her screen as once again, the little unicorn began to prance throughout a rainbow filled sky.
Troy had played a lot of games in his lifetime, games from every console and every format available. Peering at the Flash game, he couldn't quie understand the appeal. She was using two fingers, one index finger on the Z key and one on the X key. She had no control over the speed of the uniforn, merely she was able to make him jump.
"Awww, you became a star!"
She glared at him. "That's a bad thing. It means I died."
"Oh. What the hell is that thing? It's a unicorn, right?"
"A robot unicorn."
He blinked. "Right."
"I get one more wish. It's hardly worthwhile," she said bitterly. "I'll just let it die and start afresh next round."
Troy was bewildered as she let the unicorn run off the cliff and into the ground.
"Um, dare I ask how long you've been playing this?"
"Um, not long. I think I started just after you called at lunch time. I took a break to make a sandwich and someone recommended it to me."
"Just after lunch?" Troy said incredulously. "Gabi, it's 4:30!"
She blinked, glancing at the corner of her laptop screen. "So it is. Wow. I mean, I wasn't playing the whole
time. I did go to the bathroom, and get myself a glass of water."
Troy rolled his eyes. "Gabi, I thought this project was really important?"
"It is. And I got a lot done this morning, I swear!" she turned back to her laptop screen which read down the bottom Press Z to chase your dreams again!
Her index finger was hovering over the Z.
"Gabriella... " he warned. "Do you remember when I had my big essay due final semester and I couldn't tear myself away from my X Box and you had your roommate drive you to Berkeley to drag me away from the TV and to the library?"
Gabriella pouted. "But... I'm doing so well! Just before you came home, I got 20,000 in one wish.
That means, in one round. I was so proud! I kept having trouble with this one bit and suddenly I worked out how to do it and next thing you know, I was at 20,000!"
"If you're going to procrastinate with a Flash game at least procrastinate with a decent flash game," he commented, rolling his eyes. "Does that song seriously play on loop the whole time?"
She nodded. "It's inspiring," she said earnestly.
"You've been brainwashed." He decided he simply had no choice but to intervene, and leaned over to pick up her laptop.
"Hey!" she protested.
"Do you have some article or something here printed you can read and work on?" he asked, gesturing to the mounds of paperwork.
She pouted but nodded. "Yes."
"Good. I'm going to take a quick shower because I feel all sticky - there was an incident with juice today - and you are going to get something
productive done. Then we're going to walk to Starbucks, get some fresh air and rest your eyes, then come back home and I'll cook dinner and you are going to study
up until dinner time. Got it?"
The pout remained on her lips but she nodded and said narkily, "Yes mom."
Troy smiled and stood up to move toward their bedroom.
"Troy?" she called after him.
"Do I at least get a good afternoon kiss?" Gabriella enquired with a small smile.
"Do you deserve one?"
He grinned and obliged her, stepping back toward her and leaning over, lips softly meeting lips in greeting. "Good afternoon."
"Very good afternoon," she murmured. "Now go, shower. I can practically smell my caramel machiato."
She watched after him and the moment he disappeared around the corner, she quietly reached out for her laptop.
"Put down the laptop!" Troy's voice wafted back into the room warningly.
Her bottom lip stuck out momentarily. "I hate you."
"Love you too."