She was dead meat—or whatever was concealed under her rubbery, balloon-like outer coating—and she knew that they knew it, too. Making matters even worse as well as undeniably more complicated, she knew that they knew that she knew that they knew that she knew. So of course they were going to toy with her, allowing her to take all six of her jumps, before finally closing ranks and mercy-killing her.
It wasn’t her fault that they held a five-to-one stock advantage. Her dinosaur partner, who had proved a redoubtable companion in earlier contests, suffered a series of accidental falls earlier in the match. It was as if it had suddenly forgotten that it didn’t have an up-B, that its miniscule third jump was as good as it was going to get.
And just like that, it was gone—but not before pulling two of her own stocks during a futile comeback effort. Her opponents had her now, and they were taking the opportunity to rub their inevitable triumph in her face. The fat man in the yellow overalls had bent over to grab his round buttocks, and the angel appeared to be trying to perform autofellatio.
Yeah, live it up, you stupid pieces of shit, she thought to herself while floating across the two-dimensional platform where she’d spent her entire existence delivering back-air (or “bair”) kicks and singing her foes to sleep. The angel, almost never anything better than utterly terrible at fighting, needed to treasure this moment. How did he suddenly get so good? Usually he was tentative, off-kilter, and unable to deliver even a single knockout blow. Now he was so cool and composed that he had even worked up the courage to attempt to suck his own pee-pee.
“Yeah, I’m gonna shove my big hog, by which I mean my motorbike, right down that huge, inviting throat of yours!” shouted the fat man, who was always the most vulgar person in the room. He was the one she wanted to kill—sitting at 135% damage, with only one stock left—but he was the also the more unpredictable of the two adversaries. He wasn’t glowing yet, but that was no guarantee that he wasn’t sitting on a big one. His scatological style of attack worried her.
“Easy, buddy, that thing’s not even humanoid,” cautioned the angel, who had finished his taunt and was in the process of drawing his bow.
The fat man taunted again, slapping his huge white-gloved hands against his paunch. “Don’t knock it, pretty boy. Once you’ve gotten one of these toothless ball things to toot your root, you’ll never want to go back to raping that little monkey.”
“What? I don’t do that,” said the angel, a bit too quickly and far too nervously for anyone’s liking.
It was at this moment that her sixth jump expired and she began her descent, deftly air-dodging the angel’s arrow before landing in front of the fat man. He threw a sloppy down-smash, affording her sufficient time to shield-grab and then slam him forward. As he bounced off the screen, she dove forward with a kick, gambling that he’d be too dazed from the slam to counter.
“God damn it!” the angel exclaimed as his partner flew off the side of the screen, only to rematerialize moments later after he’d pulled one of the angel’s remaining stocks. “You fucking idiot!”
“Shit, we’ve got this one in the bag,” reassured the fat man. “I just want a few more minutes with this voluptuous creature.”
Upon hearing this, she rolled back up from the edge to which she’d been clinging and prepared to meet her fate. “I’m going to jump off the side and kill myself,” she informed her opponents, speaking in the sententious style of a politician giving a press conference.
“What? Are you crazy?” asked the angel. “You’re still in this. You’ve still got a chance!”
“None of us have a chance,” she replied. “Do you believe that there’s something out there that’s greater than what can be thought?”
The fat man took a hesitant step in her direction, extending an open, white-gloved hand as a kind of peace offering. “Look, this won’t be a legitimate win. We’re just getting started here.”
“I mean,” she continued, “If I jump off that side, do you think it’ll be over for me?”
“It’s never over,” the angel said. “You know that.”
She deflated herself until she was as flat as a pancake. “No, this time it’ll be over. I can’t keep fighting. What’s the point?”
“The point is to keep as many stocks as you can while getting rid of your opponent’s stocks, or to have more KOs when time expires. Or some combination of both, depending on the settings,” the angel explained.
“That’s a pretty shitty reason to do anything,” she said.
“What would you rather do?” asked the fat man.
She reflated and moved closer to the edge. “I guess I’d rather sit around my apartment, eating pizza pies—I heard that you can get those for as low as five bucks at certain places—and not working or fighting or doing anything at all, really.”
“But if you jump off there, it will go back to the menu screen,” said the angel.
She turned to look down at the edge, then turned to look back at them. It was horrible, this 2-D life: You had only two ways to turn. But if she jumped, she might have a second chance. This didn’t make any sense—they were undoubtedly headed back to the menu screen—but wasn’t a leap of faith warranted, under circumstances as dire as these?
“You’ll regret this for the rest of your life,” the fat man said. “Everything you need is right here. Hell, I’m right here—and I’d make you so happy. You could shit out my babies, or however it is you reproduce.”
“What he means is…” the angel began to say, but it was too late.
She jumped, and for a second everything went black.
Then, to no one’s surprise, it returned to the menu screen. All 38 playable characters were still available.
“Man, you’re terrible at this game,” “Toe” Beans told his girlfriend Emily Twiggs.
She handed him her GameCube controller. “It’s a lot of stupid button-pushing. It’s dumb as hell.”