If you ever forget what it’s like to feel alive, just wake up one morning after getting no sleep and then drink a lot of coffee. That uncomfortable feeling, the one that feels like you have to pee and poop and also something else you’re not sure exactly yet, and it feels like everyone else is also feeling that same feeling, that is what it’s like to feel alive.
Hi, my name is krapz. It’s 4AM, and I live in the year 2004. I just found out, only a couple of hours ago, that George Washington was reelected.
“do u mean george bush,” says ReIgnitioN on CS 1.6. Then he says, “i am recording a frag vid right now,” and if it’s anything like his other videos, it’ll probably be edited together with that Sandstorm song. ReIgnitioN has a lot of respect in the community for having the most headshots in his frag vids.
“yes i mean george w bush fuck him,” i say and get killed by ReIgnitioN.
“thats going in the frag vid,” he says.
“im so mad,” I say, “where r u john kerry when the country really needs u”
“im owning,” says ReIgnitioN. Next round, I spawn terrorist side, De_Dust.
“this noob is hacking,” says 666.butane, whose k/d ratio is the top of the server.
“u talking to me?” ReIgnitioN says.
“roflcopter i see u using wallhacks,” ReIgnitioN says.
“fucking noobs always in this server,” 666.butane says.
“ur the top player in a 24/7 de_dust server go kill yourself.” ReIgnitioN kills 666.butane. “say hello to all my fans noob hahaha”
“john kerry lost because he is a waffle eating rich boy from massachusetts,” 666.butane says before leaving the server.
The next week, after so much interesting stuff had happened, I notice a homeless person in the subway and think about how ReIgnitioN told me on IRC just later that night that most homeless people you see on the streets begging for change are just holograms he uses to afford all of his of his expensive computer equipment. “its been an old trick used since ronald reagan,” I remember him telling me, “i have nearly half a million homeless on the streets of america working constantly and once a month they dispense the money into envelopes sent through the usps and straight into my mailbox”
“are you trying to tell me you get nearly half a million envelopes sent to your address once a month?” I thought he must have been playing me for an idiot, imagining him as that one kid you always saw with a toy gun like it’s some kind of over the top foreshadowing (e.g., like how I dreamt every night for the past month, before ReIgnitioN told me about this on IRC, that he would tell me about this on IRC, but I’ve heard that everyone has precognitive dreams, right?).
“do u ever get precognitive dreams?” I asked ReIgnitioN.
“like the queen song that if u reverse tells you to smoke marijuana?”
“no but have u seen that one for stairway to heaven?”
“yeah that scared the crap out of me,” he said.
Then, 666.butane joined the IRC channel and used a script to spam so much ascii art in the chat that it managed to crash my client.
I searched his name on Google and found his team’s forum page, which was private, but google had a cached page of his profile where I could see his profile pic. It was a real picture of his face against a pale background with fluorescent lighting, like it was his college ID or something, and a couple of excerpts of his posts.
“… dudes called kraps and ReIgnitioN were on again,” one excerpt contained.
“Whoa,” I thought, “he’s been talking about us? This is so weird.”
I made a new email address and signed up for an account on the forum, reusing the name of another forum user on their team.
I told ReIgnitioN about all of this but he didn’t seem very interested.
“he looks so much like william hung lol,” he kept noting.
I didn’t hold out much hope for being accepted into the forum, but the next day I was sent my confirmation email and logged in. Except now everything on the forum was removed. No posts or users were left, except for me and the administrator.
“what why,” ReIgnitioN said, “wtf”
“idk i’m sure it was a coincidence,” I said.
We both agreed that the world was most likely not a giant conspiracy theory.
In the subway, I start to feel upset about things like, for example, people in general, this nation in general, our political system in general, myself in general. I see an advertisement for divorce. “When a diamond isn’t forever,” it says.
“No,” I think, “I cannot.”
Now, you may ask what exactly upset me about this advertisement. That is a good question. I am not exactly sure. I’m not a supporter of monogamy or anything. But that doesn’t mean I’m into polygamy either. I mean, just do you, is what I believe, you know. I totally think we should legalize gay marriage and everything too. But something, I don’t know what, really set me off about this advertisement.
I use a key to try to pry off the plastic covering over the advertisement. I start to feel drowsy and my keys fall from my hands. They jingle on the floor like two dancers. Someone touches my shoulder like a cheating spouse would. I look around and to not my surprise, it’s a cop. Typical. Of course. As you would expect, I guess.
He says, “What do you think you’re doing?” but before I can respond I’m in the backseat of his car. At least, I think it’s his car, and I’m saying, “I know you’re a cop, (but do I? Keep reading.) and you must hear the same thing over and over again, and maybe I need to start taking medication, but I still feel I’m in the right at least to some degree. Maybe I shouldn’t have done what I did but I still believe in what I said earlier.”
“What did you say earlier?” he asks me.
“Uhm.” I don’t remember. Uhm. Uhm. Uhm. I remember the cop saying “What do you think you’re doing?” Then, uhm. Uhm.
“Uhm, I said, “Well, I guess you’re going to arrest me now,” and then I said, “Don’t touch me. I am a minor. You’re molesting me. Stop,” but, uhm.” I look at him through the rearview mirror. This isn’t a cop car. “Is this not a cop car?”
“No, It’s not.”
“Are you a car?… I feel funny. Where am I?”
“You seem disoriented,” he says.
“You’re disoriented,” I say.
This is a cute car, and it’s going down a highway, like bugs on a stick. My hands are tied together. They feel funny touching each other like this. I remember the bank. The bank teller told me that they pay all of my ATM fees.
“Yes, sir,” she said.
“Wow, that’s just great. That just made my day,” I said.
“Get out,” the cop tells me.
Then, all of a sudden, I am in a prison cell. I am surrounded by what appears to be an infinite number of homeless people, but maybe only five.
“Holograms,” I think.
I hold onto one of them. “ReIgnitioN,” I whisper, “I need your help. I think I’m being kidnapped.”
“Get off of me,” the hologram says.
“I’m doomed,” I think out loud, “I’m so doomed. This shit is really fucked up now. I don’t even know what’s going on anymore.”
There’s a small room and there is a table in front of me and in front of the table is a person. He asks me questions.
He says, “We know you have ties with this person. Where did you meet?”
“Look at this picture,” he tells me.
It’s the same picture from 666.butane’s profile.
“I saw this,” I say.
“Do you know who the person in this picture is?”
“His real name is Jun-young Ho. You talked to him online, correct?”
“Jun young hoe,” I say.
“He is your friend?”
“Yes,” I say, smiling, “Like friends.”
“What can you tell me about him?”
I look around the room. Things aren’t real.
“Are you real?” I ask the man.
“Yes,” he says, “I’m very real.”
“Wow,” I say.
How long has it been? A week? A month? Maybe a year? When is this catastrophe going to end? Maybe ReIgnitioN is out there looking for me.
Am I alone now? No, there is someone here. Say hello. No. Don’t.
I want to be alone. There are too many people. They all want a piece of me.
Things are dawning. I have a hold of myself.
I can hear them out there.
I can hear them doing it.
I can hear their dogs barking at the mailmen.
I can hear their fathers mowing the lawns.
I can hear their feet scuffling in the subways.
Just silent scuffling.