If you had one thing in this world done for you, what would it be?

That's easy. To stop.

That's a cop-out answer. Specification is the name of the game.

This is a game? This is another game?

No, I'm only asking you a question. What do you want? To stop what?

To stop everything. Running.

This voice in my head snickers again. He- or maybe she, I've given up on names- makes no effort to hide his amusement. "But what's the fun in that?" He states. His voice creeps quietly, before ringing out. A surround sound of tones and yells and screams and whispers. Just for me.

I'm done.

"I'm finished talking."


Cop-out is one of his favorite words. Don't want to do this? Cop-out. Don't want to do that? Cop-out. Cop-out. Cop-out.

I shift on my feet a bit. The blinding white and blue light has dissipated, leaving only an island landscape. Hills everywhere, the grass marked white with arrows. There are balloons or some sort of trampolines at parts of the area- horribly out of place.

Plastered upon this "course" are coins. Gold, floating, coins- I can't explain them. I can't explain anything. I'm powerless.

No, I really am powerless as I feel a surge of whatever forces me through this land, a sort of empty energy. I feel like I'm a puppet riding on a rollercoaster. I'm fixated safely on a rail, but I'm still swinging from left to right.

A series of artificial beeps begin, attempting to alert me to whatever's ahead. I know what's ahead- I've been through this plenty of times before.




I feel my legs suddenly warm and vibrate. This isn't really happening, I assure myself. I'm not doing any of this. That was partly true.

My whole body yanks forward, as I accelerate to top speed.





And rising.

This is my namesake, after all.

The voice has gone completely silent now. No, he's all business now, guiding me through a incomprehensible, blurry mess of turns and gold. Yes, the coins. I run through them and I suppose they do something. I feel nothing.

Except the confidence of whoever's controlling me growing by the minute. Visuals have become a smear of blue, green, and what I figure are signs supposedly pointing of the voice persona in the right direction, though I can't make out what they're supposed to represent, because I can barely see them.



That fucking basta

Hello? Oh, what up man?

Nothing much, you know, the usual. Killing time before my girl comes over and we go out to the mall tonight. Figure I'll buy a game or two or trade in some old ones. ….Haha, yeah, I know how that is. Listen, I'll call you back in a couple minutes, I've got to go use the bathroom and that kind of shit. Yeah, man, I'll see you.














Yeah, back. Yeah, I'm looking at the Auburn game right now. The Nevada game should be good tonight, though… Yeah, I agree. 'Bama is nothing without Ingram. Aww, crap! He dropped it!





Nah, man, I like Chizik, but his playcalling is really bad. He just ran it with a minute to go. Did he get the first? Oh, I didn't know. Clock is supposed to stop, though.

False start? Who was that on? ….Oh man, fucking bullshit. SEC refs at their finest. Yeah, they're running the ball with less than a minute.








Yeah, I did see that trailer. Wait, they're throwing- he caught it! First down. They need to spike it. Three seconds.

Fuck, what are you doing?!


Did you see that shit, man? One second and then you spiked it. This game is over. You think he's gonna pull a Flutie?

Naw, man, game over. Terrible playcalling.



Yeah, man, I'll call you back soon.

What did I do with the remote? Oh, here we go.

Rd hit pause. Bastard!

I shoot out like a slingshot out of my stasis. I'm irritated, and if I could open my mouth to say anything other than "Woah!" or "Gnarly!" I would have cursed this man out long ago. Instead, I can only sit as a passenger. Hoping he gets bored- and he does.

He lets go of me, releases his connection, and leaves me alone. It feels good to have me back.

Then I realize I'm going way too fa-


Still rolling across the path, arms crossed, legs splayed out, a rotating visual of dirt the color of skin and grass and sky and dirt and grass and sky over and over again. Finally settle limp against one of the trampolines layering the course.

I can feel, now, and it doesn't feel good. I can feel the rocks scraping past my fur and into my skin. I can feel the dirt, and my chin pound against it- and it suddenly tightening and feeling out of shape. I can feel the wind, whipping against me and somehow worsening my cuts and scrapes and broken bones. I can feel the sand seeping through my gritted teeth, and the tears streaming down my face, and the sheer fucking pain of it all, and feeling a scream, not as much in my mouth or my vocal cords but my chest.

It feels good. It feels good to feel. No controlling, no screaming through the landscape barely knowing where you are, no back-and-forth's with an invisible joker. Through this pain and throbbing in my head and the aching in my body, I almost wish it would stay like this.

I wish I could stay alone. I wish I could stay like this.

I lie there, bones broken, blood and tear-caked, grinning. It can't get worse. I've gone to rock bottom, and now that I've gotten rid of the weight pressing me there, I have nowhere to go but up.

"You want to trade this in?"

The young man shrugs, long, spindly fingers tapping upon the jewel case, pondering.

"Actually, I'm not sure. I kind of like this game."

"You don't have to trade it in if you don't want to," the cashier states, although he's quite obviously focusing on something else.

The man stands there some more.

"You're right," he says at last. "I guess that's kind of a cop-out, but I'm not finished."

With that, he takes his case off the table and departs the store.