Shoot Club: Quit or Continue
TomChick - Columns - Comments - 06/02/04

By Tom Chick

June 2, 2004

The cursor is hovering over the dialogue box, half way between quit and continue. "See, I really can quit any time," Trevor is telling me.

***

The Meierton Center was about three hours away. Trevor was standing out front with his bags when I pulled up. He looked rested, fit. He was clean shaven and his hair was cut short. He was wearing a button down shirt. I remember at the time thinking how odd it was to see him without a too-tight T-shirt straining against his middle.

"Hey, dude," he said to me through the passenger door window.

"Hey!" I got out and went around. Should we shake hands or hug? I hadn't seen him in a long time, so I didn't really know what sort of greeting was appropriate. My arms went out to embrace him just as he thrust his hand forward to shake, so I put my hand down to take his, but them his arms were going out to embrace me. We ended up doing a weird flapping jig that turned into one of those confused handshakes with a half hug disguised as repeated back pats. The awkward hetero affection combo.

I put his bags in the back of the car and we pulled out onto the freeway.

"So you look good," I told him.

"Thanks, I feel good. I've been exercising some."

"Hey, that's great."

"Plus, I kind of had a girlfriend in there."

"Cool. Are you still going to see her, you know, after?"

"She gets out in another week. I don't know. I mean, we didn't, you know. But we hung out a lot."

"What was she in for?" Oops. Should I have asked that? You don't ask an alcoholic what his favorite beer was.

"Her thing was Bejeweled." Trevor didn't seem to mind answering.

"I've heard of that."

"Yeah, it's pretty bad apparently. One of the worst gateway games. It gets, like, housewives and stuff. I never tried it."

"So what was it like?"

"I just told you. I never tried it."

"No, what was it like there? Being in there?"

"You mean not playing any computer games?"

"Yeah."

"Not as hard as you'd think. It's a controlled environment, so you don't have it around you. I mean you have computers, but they uninstall Solitaire and Minesweeper. The web browsers have a special Flash Shockwave blocker. On the TVs, all the RCA cable jacks and S-video inputs are filled in with krazy glue. Can you believe that? You can't even have cell phones for the first week."

"Wow."

"Yeah. One guy tried to smuggle in one of those Coleco football games. He'd play in his room at night, but there's no volume control on those things. You could hear it all the way down the hall. I tell you, that was hard to listen to. I could tell when he made a touchdown. I'd lay there at night and make up game commentary in my head. But he got busted and he was outta there. So how much longer till we get there?"

"About two and a half hours."

"Remember when we drove five hours to see Rush?" Trevor said, his eyes lighting up as he looks out at the road, "This is like that."

"You're excited to get home?" I said.

"Yeah, oh yeah. How is everyone?"

"Aw, they're fine."

"So you guys are still, you know?"

I look at him. He's watching me.

"What, Shoot Club?"

"Yeah, you guys are still doing that?"

"Well, yeah. I mean, it's not the same without you, but--"

"Oh, well maybe I should come?"

"To Shoot Club?" I asked.

"Yeah, I mean just to hang out."

"Oh, well--"

"If you'd rather I didn't--"

"No, it's not that--"

"I just--"

"What?"

"No, go ahead," he said.

"I just, you know, do you think that would be okay?" I half ask.

"Yeah. I mean, I think so. Yeah."

"We'd love to have you, but well... There's going to be games there."

He looked out the side window at the trees and signs shooting past us. Then he abruptly turned back to me with a strange smile. "Maybe when I'm ready. You know?"

I didn't know, but I said I did. "Yeah, I know."

We stopped at an Arby's on the way. We went to his brother's house to get Trevor's car and Zelda, his cat. We stayed for dinner, even though we'd just had Beef n' Cheddars. Afterwards, we picked up Eric and went to see Day After Tomorrow (I had already seen Troy, Eric had already seen Shrek 2, and we all knew better than to go to Van Helsing). Then we went to my house and watched my new Master and Commander DVD. Trevor didn't mention any of the new games on the shelf, but once when I came out of the kitchen and Eric was in the bathroom, I saw Trevor straining to see what games were laying out by the Xbox. When he saw me, he pretended his neck was sore and that he had been stretching it.

After Trevor left, Eric and I played Rallisport Challenge until 3AM even though he had to be at work at 8 the next morning.



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