Sandra couldn’t sit still and do this. She squirmed in her barcalounger. She scooted to the edge of the seat. She put her feet on the coffee table and wedged herself against the back rest. She stood in front of the chair, on the seat of the chair; she perched her butt on the arm of the chair. She jumped up and down.
Holding the controller her arms swung up and down; back and forth as she guided the little red-hatted plumber past all manner of hazards, collecting coins and mushrooms along the way.
The music droned incessantly: Doot, doot, doot, da doot, de doot, and she longed to mute the sound, but there were clues there in the changes of the tempo and the pitch. She could not afford to miss them. She’d been stuck on this level for days but she was close now. She had collected 96 coins and she only needed 100 to advance – only four more to go.
The little man leapt to the top of a pipe and tossed a spread of fireballs at a plumber-eating flower that had sprouted from a nearby pot. She killed it and waited to see if it would reward her with coins but, sadly, it did not. Still four left to find. She looked to the top of the screen and saw that she still had three hearts, getting low but this was not the time to fall back into a defensive shell. She had to keep pressing forward.
The plumber squatted atop the pipe and the music changed as he dropped into an underground cavern. The music changed again, ominous, forbidding, and scary; there was something dangerous ahead so she gave up her scurrying pace in favor of moving more slowly ahead. Without warning, a pack of ghosts swooped down from above to attack but they were only ghosts, not worth wasting ammunition on when they were so easily avoided. She ducked below them and watched them disappear out the left side of the screen.
She continued forward collecting a coin that the ghosts had dropped when they strafed her advance. Three to go.
Oh no – a three headed armour-plated-fire-spitting dinosaur, or maybe he’s a dragon, appears out of nowhere. Sandra tosses a few fireballs with no effect. Quickly, press the ‘B’ and change weapons from fireballs to wrenches and lob three of them in rapid succession. They all hit the same head and it withers; dropping a coin to the ground. She collects it. Two more coins to go.
This is good. Throw in three more wrenches, only two connect; the third sails harmlessly past the dinosaur that immediately starts shooting fire at the little plumber. Deftly he dodges the flames and when the monster pauses to catch his breath the next wrench flies true. The second head crumbles and another coin falls.
Sandra darts in to recover the coin while the dinosaur nurses his wounds. One coin and one head remain. Sandra can almost taste victory as she throws a quick burst of three wrenches at her adversary. They all three connect but don’t seem to hurt the dragon at all. Shit, now what? She feints right and zigs left to avoid a burst of fire.
‘B’ button – change from wrenches back to fireballs. No good.
‘B’ button – change to boomerangs. Throw – dodge, throw – dodge, throw – dodge, still no good.
‘B’ button – what to use? What to use? She selects the shield and boldly steps in front of the dinosaur. He spews fire and Sandra raises her shield. This will either work or she will perish. It works and the monster’s own fire comes back at him. He’s wounded but not dead.
He swings his tail in anger and connects. The little plumber flies across the cavern and hits the wall. Damn, she didn’t know he could do that – one heart left, one coin remaining to be collected, one dino head left and he’s been wounded. Press ‘B’ and put her shield away in favour of a plunger. She dodges the next fireball and charges before he can spit another. She leaps directly at the menacing maw of the advancing reptile and shoves the plunger in his face sealing his mouth shut just as he is about to unleash another deadly fireball. The fireball has no means of escape and the monster’s head dissolves in a puff of smoke. The coveted 100th coin drops to the ground and the little plumber gathers it up.
Victory music and flashing lights ensue. Sandra pumps her fist and saves the game. She is done for the night and glances at the clock. Can that be right? Almost 3:00AM, really? Shit time to start grading those term papers. I’ve got to pay more attention to the time when I get sucked into these games!
Prompts are inspiration. All stories stem from inspiration. Thanks to all the prompt providers who provide that kick in the pants we sometimes need. We who avail ourselves of the inspiration you provide do not say thanks often enough!