Sunday, March 18, 2007

673 days, 5 hours, 33 minutes, 56 seconds

With a now-blinding headache (possibly from staring into the computer screen, trying to meet it halfway), the new computer, and boxes all over the living room, this entire apartment has become a war zone.

673 days, 7 hours, 21 minutes, 34 seconds

She's got stomach cramps, one of the glucophage side effects she was warned about. So maybe the two pills are working, whereas one did almost nothing. She chews two Tums, just in case it's heartburn. But she's seldom been so happy to be sick. Except, of course, when she recalls those childhood migraines that manifested themselves as stomach aches. How quickly the body remembers pain. How easily she could become that child again. It'll pass in a week or two. Then she'll grow up all over, maybe this time with fonder memories. You can't relive the past, you can just rewrite it.

673 days, 7 hours, 52 minutes, 47 seconds

180 countries destroyed! Hate level 8! She's discovered, when Bush glides along that top line and the sound effects turn into machine guns, she could trap him behind Cheney's face and just keep firing.

Suddenly she has the memory of Monkey in the Middle. A game she detested. Especially when you're the shortest kid in the class and at the end of the line when the photographer takes pictures each year. She hated having her picture taken. But that lineup was just so the photographer didn't have to keep raising and lowering his tripod, her parents said. The school and the teacher made no distinction. And she was the first in line in the photograph from her ballet school. You can't have everything.

As soon as she starts thinking about all this, her aim slips. Even Bush as Monkey no longer entices her.

673 days, 9 hours, 26 minutes, 20 seconds

Downstairs, her husband's setting up his new computer, the first Vista in his office, or their household. She pongs Bush until her mouse-arm hurts. Those two Cheney heads on the sides – she remembers now, they're called Flippers. She thinks of Dolphins. Of the friendly dolphin in an area promoted as swimming with dolphins, who spooked and attacked a swimmer. She remembers her husband, when he first moved to Windows, learning mouse clicks then drag and drop by playing Monopoly with his boss as stand-in opponent. He kept winning and winning and winning. Boasting about his winning.

673 days, 10 hours, 23 minutes, 48 seconds

She knew about R2-D2 and his new stamp, knew the post office was setting up 400 R2-D2 mailboxes around the country, as a matter of fact she logged onto the post office website to see if they were selling Star Wars merchandise yet (great idea for a Christmas present, though this is only March). Then to find this animated little guy working his way around the site, covering up services, his gears squeaking (30 years is a long time). A video announces the coming attraction. Due out March 28. In the meantime, R2-D2 swallows a letter.

673 days, 11 hours, 8 minutes, 43 seconds

She wakes up, turns on the computer, checks her blood (normal for the third morning in a row), checks her mail, eats a Glucerna bar for breakfast, talks to her in-laws, racks up a score of sixty-one ponging Bush. Not a bad start to the day, although it's nearly one o'clock now. She slept late.

673 days, 22 hours, 8 minutes, 48 seconds

Back in her young, apolitical days, she loved playing pinball. These nights she follows the Backwards Bush links to arrive at a Bush Pong Game. Dominate, the first screen reads. Playing the theme from Bonanza. She madly clicks on the Bushhead bouncing about one of those flat maps like they have in schoolrooms. Sometimes it scores, sometimes not. Sometimes it racks up a score of ten or twenty with one shot. There are no instructions.

It takes her awhile to realize it's Siamese twin Cheney, one head on each side of the flat world, that has to bat against him for the guns to fire. Left to his own devices, Bush would duck behind the bobbing head and sneak off the screen.

Five heads per game, as if five heads are better than one. Bush's head gains momentum when ten countries are destroyed, then again at twenty and thirty. She's got to shoot precisely when the heads bump. Without quite knowing how she did it, she reaches a hate level of six with seventy-three countries destroyed. Most games it's only in the twenties.

We'll make no distinction between the terrorists, secretaries, business men and women, moms and dads, friends and neighbors, Bush says instead of Game Over. The words don't make sense. We' ll make no distinction between the terrorists' secretaries? She cuts his voice off quickly, but can't pull herself away. Her husband crawls into bed. Just one more game, she assures him.