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Gunfire shrieked past him from ten o’clock. Kermit Conrad targeted the offenders across the road. From a cratered trench, triangulating the distance, he tossed a grenade into the air like a graduation cap and watched it fall along the sky until it exploded right at the enemies’ feet. No survivors. Kermit himself had died six times by then so it was a welcomed massacre.

Before he could type a winquote, Kermit was stabbed in the back by an unseen combatant named ScaryGary2584, who repeatedly crouched and stood over his corpse’s open mouth to crudely mimic a sodomic act, then bunnyhopped away to redder pastures.

Sitting at his computer, Kermit roared and flailed in just the way his therapist advised not to. His one relaxing hour of gaming a day was ruined probably by some teenager in his parents’ basement. ScaryGary turned an innocent video game into shock therapy across the web. He represented the darkest shade of humanity, a monster whose moral correction must come at the hand of Kermit himself.

With a simple Google search of the moniker, he found ScaryGary’s online clan, linked to their Facebook fanpage, liked by a fifteen-year old “Gary Munroe,” living in neighboring Gateway County. As if possessed by a hateful spirit, Kermit removed himself from the keyboard and marched outside to his white van. The engine ignited and the dashboard whined, but only the crescent meter of the gas tank caught his tunnel vision—running on empty.

After paying $5.90 per gallon at the gas station, Kermit burned out of the parking lot and sped through the winding streets like his crosswired thoughts. His criminal record prevented him from purchasing a firearm, so he drove downtown to Dojo Nobunaga where he would procure a sanctioned weapon. Sensei Silverstein bowed to Kermit when he stomped into the lobby. He inquired about their selection of katanas for sale but they were not available to the public, she explained. “One must learn the art of wielding it first. Only then will you be worthy of ownership.” Kermit was offended by Sensei’s interference in his mission. He would have enjoyed arguing with her about it but there was no time. He bitterly submitted to her gauntlet.

Ignoring his plebeian rank, Kermit exploded through the many trials Sensei generated: weight training all day and beheading bamboo rods all night, sleeping not even for a second, propelled by the greater good he pursued. He achieved a master’s status in record time, thirteen months—for him, a single ten-thousand-hour day. When Silverstein presented the katana, Kermit bowed and graciously accepted the gift, hoping to return later and force her to commit seppuku with the blade she had borne.

Kermit did not bother to clear the collected twigs and leaves on the hood of his van, which flew off the windshield when he accelerated onto the highway. A car accident a mile ahead closed off two lanes and thus created a scramble for the remaining one. Traffic swerved across the asphalt like a demolition derby. Kermit honked and screamed until he swallowed his nicotine gum.

His mission could not wait for anarchy to fix itself. He turned away from the stream, onto the rumbling shoulder and even further, into the grassy dike along the highway. Respectfully, Kermit slowed down as he weaved past the metallic melodrama, then geared back up as he turned onto Exit 8, leading to the suburban wasteland hiding ScaryGary.

It took a few wrong turns to finally calculate his location, a one-story house at the end of 502nd Street. Kermit punched it over the curb, scraping along the sidewalk and sliding into enemy territory. The flower bed seemed like a decent parking spot.

He descended the van and huffed and puffed to the front door. Knocking on the gate triggered a shadow in the living room—Gary. The door swung open and there stood the boy himself, dead eyed from watching television in the dark, and next to him an attentive German Shepherd, dog tag “ScaryGary,” who sniffed the scabbard hanging from Kermit’s waist as the humans greeted each other. “Do you need to talk to my parents?” Gary asked. Kermit, come to think of it, had not devised an entry strategy and blankly mumbled until Gary perceived why an armed stranger might be on his property. He commanded his beast to “sic ‘em quick.” With a snarl, it obliged.

Training took over Kermit’s instincts. He released his katana and formed the Gogyo No Seigan stance. The dog saw no threat. It lunged at Kermit, to which he countered by swiping at the creature’s paws, but it hopscotched over each slice and stab while scoring bites on Kermit’s ankles, painting his socks red.

Another nip at his tendon dropped him to his knee, now face-to-snout with his foe, a vision that gave him the clarity to retreat from certain defeat. Kermit would rather log off than lose. He scampered away back to his van where he jerked open the rear doors and kidnapped himself into the steel carriage. He did not care if he were locked in or the creature locked out, as long as the wall kept them apart.

 

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