(we are in an FLGS – ‘G for Geek’ - it is festooned with tinsel and baubles, fake boughs of holly and sprigs of mistletoe; there is quite a crowd of browsing punters drifting, in a slow-current, around the stacks and shelving. Through the large, plate-glass window, one can see a grey-lit street outside with a gentle dusting of snow settling in to the gutters and on to the cobbles. A customer (be-scarved and be-bobblehat-ted) trudges in to view, glances at the window display, pauses and then changes direction to enter the shop)
Doorbell: *dink* (there is a scratch and then the chorus of ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham! Plays loudly)
Customer: (looking up at the door jamb) Oh shit on it!
Cashier: (smiling from behind an edition of Spielbox with a promotional Eric Lang ‘Frizz-Wig and Pointy Beard’ mask stapled to the front ) Oh dear, Sir! What seems to be the trouble? (he tenderly strokes the soft, downy beard)
Customer: (pointing at the bell apparatus) Your bloody door just Whamageddon-ed me!
Cashier: (chortling) Well sorry about that, ho ho ho, Sir; just trying to maintain the ‘Exmuss Atmoss’ and so on.
Customer: (unravelling his scarf, removing his gloves and muttering) I’d managed to make it through three weeks –
Cashier: (cheerily) Well, it’s all just game, isn’t it Sir? A jolly jape a bit like that one where if you think about ‘the game’ then you’re knocked out of ‘the game’!
Customer: (looking up) What?! Sweet Jesu you’ve done it again! (throws his gloves on to the counter)
Cashier: (crestfallen) Oh my stars, Sir; I am most dreadfully sorry.
Customer: sighing() Well, ok; never mind about all that as I couldn’t help but notice, as I was walking by the premises –
Another Customer: (calling out across the room) At least he didn’t mention the chicken game!
(everyone else in the room turns to that customer and their mouths drop open)
All: Oh for Fuck’s Sake!
Another Customer: (blushing) oh, er, um –
Cashier: (trying to change the subject) Well, what – in the window – can I help you with?
Customer: Yes indeed. Can you tell me more about The Christmas Game, please?
Cashier: Certainly, Sir! It’s a Euro-game take on all the tropes and clichés of this most special time of the year: it mixes traditional customs, historical facts and all of the usual fictions and made up stuff we associate with the Festive Season.
Customer: Fictions? Such as?
Cashier: You know: ‘Krampus’, ‘The Grinch’ and – of course – ‘Father Christmas’
(a small child accompanied by her Mother by the Haßa display bursts in to tears)
Child: (wailing) Mummy – that horrible man just said Santa isn’t real!
Mother: (scowling at the Cashier) Don’t listen to him, dear! (they hurry, quickly, from the shop)
Doorbell: *dink* (‘Last Christmas’ starts up again, followed by the door slamming)
Customer: (tutting loudly) Christ on a fucking bike!
Cashier: (mortified) Um –
Customer: What have you got to say for yourself, eh?!
Cashier: (burbling) Er, um, eek
Customer: Well? Speak up!
Cashier: (embarrassed) I wish the ground would swallow me up, Sir - (pauses, briefly) - like it does with that girl at the end of the movie ‘Drag Me To Hell’, Sir.
A Further Customer: (holding a DVD copy of ‘The Complete Sam Raimi) What the actual fuck?! (throws the box-set down and storms out)
Cashier: (picks up the promotional mask and puts it on) Oh dear, Sir. Oh very dear.
Customer: (softening) Actually, that last one was very niche; I’m not sure you can be blamed for the unfortunate serendipity there.
Cashier: You’re very kind, Sir.
Customer: At least all Hell didn’t break loose! (chuckles)
Cashier: Indeed no, Sir – unlike at the end of Seafall, eh?
JUMP CUT TO SPINNING NEWSPAPER. IT COMES TO REST WITH THE HEADLINE: “GAME STORE RIOT RESULTS IN SHOPPING ARCADE FIRE AND MULTIPLE ARRESTS”.
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer, Agricola fanboy and jealous admirer of Carl Chudyk.
- [+] Dice rolls