Aliens vs. Sex

By Tom Chick

I've got Aliens vs. Predator 2 installed on all the machines, Shoot Club is about to start, and I'm on my way out the door. Trevor's helping me put my coat on.

"Okay," I say, "You have my cell phone number if you need to reach me?" It's more a statement than a question.

"Yeah, yeah, you already gave it to me. Three times."

"Now I'll be having dinner at the Olive Garden until about 9."

"I know, you told me."

"And I'll be at the Fairway Pavilion until, well, until whenever."

"I know."

"You think you can handle everything?"

"I'm fine. Now go. Have fun. Hope you get lucky. We'll be fine here. We'll let you know how it goes."

I'm going to pick up Becky, this girl I kind of have a date with. We're going to hear a band called, I don't know, something-or-other, who happens to be playing the night I always have Shoot Club. Becky had described them as pop rock troubadours, which makes them sound like a troupe of musicians who play lame music and wear RenFaire hats. This didn't make me want to see them, but Becky said I'd love it.

But I'm not sure about the whole date thing. If we were going to hit it off, I'd probably have a better sense for it by now. We've done the 'have coffee' thing a couple of times. Going to see the band was something I stumbled across during a phone conversation. Before I knew it, I was offering to get us tickets.

I have a nagging suspicion that I'd rather be at Shoot Club, but I'm fighting it. 'This is a date,' I tell myself, 'It'll be fun. Who know what'll happen?' I look at myself in the rear view mirror and wiggle my eyebrows suggestively. But I haven't even had a chance to try Aliens vs. Predator 2 yet. I read the manual while it was installing and by the time it was done, I had to get ready to go. You know what it's like when you go out on your lunch break and get a game you really want to play? Then you have to sit at work the rest of the day glancing at the box, waiting to get home and install it. I hope tonight's not going to be like that. God, what have I come to? Here I am, at her apartment.

"Hey," Becky says at the door, "My sister's coming with us."

"Hey, what's your name again?" the sister asks.

Now I know I'd rather be at Shoot Club. This isn't a date. Her sister's coming. Becky might as well tell me she just wants to be friends and take me shopping for shoes with her.

I tell the sister my name, shaking her hand. She has a pretty powerful grip for a girl.

"You were right," the sister says to Becky, "He does."

"I do?"

"Yeah, kind of." She's studying me, sizing me up, looking right into my eyes.

"Mainly in the eyes," Becky says, "You look like this guy we used to know."

"Michael," the sister explains, "Not just the eyes. Look at his nose. His nostrils. He looks just like Michael."

They're looking at my nostrils. "Nice guy, I hope?" I ask.

"Michael?" the sister snorts, "No way, he was a fucking jerk. Pervert, too. I used to date him until he dumped me for that bitch Gloria. Hey, guess where I heard Gloria's working? Her dad's office. Don't you love it?"

The sister is in from out of town, staying at Becky's apartment for a few days. She has her own ticket to the pop rock troubadours, so she's going to come out with us. To dinner, too.

I'm studying the menu, even though we've already ordered. There's a stray menu at the table and since Becky and her sister are talking about their aunt's drinking problem, I figure the prudent thing to do is pretend to be interested in the menu.

I feel Becky's hand on my knee and I almost jump out of my skin. She smiles at me and says this must be so boring for me. Before I can politely lie and say 'not at all', she announces to her sister that I'm a writer.

"Oh yeah? What do you write about?" the sister asks.

"Mainly computer stuff," I say, "It's pretty boring. How's the fried cheese?" Maybe I can head this off at the pass.

"I know all about computer stuff," the sister says, "I just got a PowerBook. Do you write about those?"

"No, software mainly."

"You must have the Internet. The Internet is so cool. Do you have that?"

"Yes, I do. It is pretty neat."

"What kind of writing do you do?" Becky asks. I haven't told her yet that I write about games. It sounds more dramatic to just say I'm a writer and leave it at that. They can puzzle it out between themselves whether I'm working on a novel, covering the war in Afghanistan, or doing George Clooney interviews for Maxim.

"Yeah, have you written anything I might have seen?" the sister asks, then puts food in her mouth. The onus is now on me to reply while she's chewing. 'No' is only a single syllable and she's got a fair amount of food to chew, so I'll have to elaborate. I'm fucked.

"No, I write mainly for game magazines," I say.

The sister almost does a spit take. She starts talking, thinks better of it, swallows too quickly, and starts talking again.

"Hey, you know who else is a writer? That guy Hollis I went out with last summer. Remember him?" She talks about Hollis and a screenplay he's working on. My mind wanders to Shoot Club. I'm sitting here listening to Becky's sister talk about Hollis' screenplay -- it's an updated version of Gone with the Wind set in a high school -- when I could be playing Aliens vs. Predator 2.