Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.
Another uneventful weekend had come and gone. It was Monday afternoon and Theodore had just woken up about an hour before. After leaving his brother's apartment, he arrived at the college ready to play video games. He hadn't seen any of the people who he tried to consider to be friends since the Friday before. It wasn't that he actually cared about the people, but he missed playing multiplayer games and it always made him feel better about his station in life to socialize in that manner, even though none of those people actually cared about him when he didn't have a game controller in his hand. But he had no real desire to socialize outside of video games, for he wouldn't know what to do with another person anyway if there wasn't a television screen there to break the awkward pauses in conversation.
By the time he got to the building, Theodore's shoulder felt as though it was about to break under the weight of his bag in which he carried his game console, several games, and controllers. He also had his handheld Nintendo DS in case all of the televisions were already in use. He hadn't brought any text books with him, as he had no intention of going to class today and they would only add extra weight. Yes, today was a typical Monday, just like any other. Once inside the building, Theodore pressed the button for the elevator. He didn't want to take the stairs, even though the elevator was taking forever. Why strain himself to use the stairs when there was a perfectly good elevator right there to do the work for him, he thought. Besides, they could wait an extra minute for him to get there with his games.
Finally the elevator door opened and Theodore was pleased to see that it was empty. There was nothing better than being alone in an elevator, he thought, for he hated to be in such confined spaces with other people, even for just a few seconds. He pressed the button for the second floor and watched as the door closed. When the door opened again, he walked out of the elevator. He was surprised by the fact that it was so quiet upstairs. Usually he could hear people yelling and carrying on from the elevator. But not today. The place sounded almost dead.
Theodore turned the corner and was horrified by what he saw. There was nothing there. Everything was gone. The televisions, the couches, the ping pong table, even the microwave. All of it, gone. He just stood there and stared for what could have been several seconds or several minutes. Everything he had ever known. It was all gone. Nothing remained. Now what was he supposed to do, he thought. He tried to justify what he was seeing. Maybe they were just replacing the stuff with better, newer stuff and everything would be back to normal soon. Maybe they were getting big flat screen TVs for playing games on. And new, unstained furniture.
From a distance, he saw a guy he knew, Dave, appear from an adjoining hallway. As he approached, Theodore walked toward him trying to get his attention. "Hey! Dave!" He yelled. "Do you know what's going on here?"
"Yeah, they're taking down the lounge." Dave replied nonchalantly.
"What do you mean they're taking down the lounge?" Theodore asked in disbelief. Maybe he was hearing things wrong.
"They're getting rid of it," Dave shrugged. "They've had signs up for like the last year saying they were getting rid of it. They started construction over the weekend. Like for offices and stuff."
"What?" Theodore asked. He sounded a little choked up. "I didn't think they were serious!"
"Well, it's gone now," Dave replied.
"Are they going to have a different lounge for gaming?" Theodore asked. Surely they couldn't just get rid of it all together. They must have just moved it, Theodore tried to rationalize.
"No, not that I'm aware of," Dave said as he looked down at his watch.
"That sucks, now I have nowhere to go!" Theodore replied. "What am I supposed to do now?"
"Yeah I don't know," Dave replied. "Well I have to get to class now. See you around or whatever." Dave just walked away and turned the corner. A few moments later, Theodore heard Dave's footsteps descending the stairs. Theodore couldn't believe it. Now where was he supposed to play video games? He thought for a few minutes and turned around to head back downstairs. He headed outside to the center courtyard of the campus and sat down on a bench. He might not be able to play multiplayer games on a television right now, but at least he had his Nintendo DS to play wherever he wanted to play. He dug through his bag to find his DS and turned it on.
"Space Invaders Extreme" a woman's voice from the handheld gaming system said after he pressed the stylus to the screen. He had always been a fan of the classic Space Invaders, but Space Invaders Extreme on the DS made it even better.
"All right!" Theodore said trying to sound positive, even though he was by his self and no one was around to listen to him. "Now I get to kill aliens!" After playing arcade mode for about an hour or so, he decided to see if anyone was online to test his skills against other players in multiplayer mode. He sat staring at the screen waiting for about twenty minutes, but he didn't get any opponents. It seemed that no one in the entire world wanted to play against him. Now there wasn't any reason for him to be here with the lounge gone. He supposed that he could go to class today, but he didn't really feel like it.
As Theodore sat on the bench alone, waiting for someone to want to play against him, a thought that seemed to haunt him whenever he felt most lonely creeped into his mind. What was he doing with his life? He looked around the court yard. Everyone there was either talking to each other or studying, while he was sitting alone hoping for someone he never met to challenge him to a match of Space Invaders. He was wasting his life sitting here playing video games all day. What was he going to do, sponge off his parents and brother for the rest of his life?
Today was going to be the day that Theodore turned his life around. No more sitting around as life passed him by. No more relying on his family for everything. He had to turn his life around before it was too late. He was only 19, so maybe he still had a chance, but he had to make a drastic change right away.
Theodore turned off his Nintendo DS and packed up his bag. If he hurried, he could still get to his Psychology class and only be a few minutes late. If he started studying hard now and didn't miss any more days of class, there was still a chance he could pass most of his classes. And then maybe he would apply for a job at GameStop or Best Buy later in the week. Today would be the first day of the rest of his life, one step at a time.
Go Back to Part 1
- Game Over - A Short Story - Part 1
Theodore is a lonely, shy, awkward college kid who spends most of his time in the gamer's lounge at school instead of going to classes.
© 2018 Jennifer Wilber
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on June 08, 2018:
Well told. I enjoyed that story. I hope Theodore keeps his resolve to become the person he wants to be and create the fulfilling life he wants to live. I'd be interested in a story in which the newly motivated Theodore and the college girl in the long black coat meet and interact.
Nicholas Conner from Monroe, MI on June 07, 2018:
Well written. I have a friend much like the protagonist in your story.
Jennifer Wilber (author) from Cleveland, Ohio on June 06, 2018:
Frank Atanacio from Shelton on June 06, 2018:
Again I find this story fascinating descriptive and still intense..it actually reads like a well written tale...Frank..