Turnbull, Kowalski; Arch To The Sky
; PG; 673 words. Inspired by the discussion in "Luigi" and encouraged by Steff.
What was that awful noise
Someone appeared to have set up an arcade in his consulate foyer, and Turnbull was not especially pleased with this. He wandered out, duty smile fixed even so, to find Detective 'Vecchio' engrossed in a small gaming system. Volume cranked no doubt to the maximum.
Turnbull blinked and watched the man for a minute or so. He seemed to bounce with whatever game he was playing, eyebrows hiking and his shoulders tensing at whatever beat to which the game was played. At a particularly vigorous application of thumbs, the detective shoved his tongue out and to the side of his mouth, appearing to concentrate deeply.
He stepped over carefully, taking pains to make no noise. The observer effect dictated that on some level, Turnbull's observation must have changed the phenomenon before him, but for reasons beyond him he would hold the illusion for a few moments more.
The detective pressed thumbs in to the machine so rapidly that Turnbull was sure it would break, and then made a noise of triumph that was matched by celebratory, if tinny, notes from the machine. His tension melted from him with a pleased sigh, at which point he noticed his observer.
Ray jumped and without apparent thought, tossed the game deck at Turnbull, who caught it easily.
"Jesus Jumpin', Turnbull, you can't sneak up
on a guy like that."
"My apologies," he offered, admittedly somewhat distracted by the screen. There was a very small, pixellated man, looking as triumphant about something as the detective had seemed.
Silence fell for a beat or two, before Ray became impatient. "--you mind? I'll lose a man if it starts without me."
Turnbull flicked the volume down as he handed it back. "Of course."
Ray looked disgruntled, but promptly hit a button at the center and launched right back into his game. Turnbull settled by his shoulder, choosing not to wonder why he himself had nothing better to do, and watched in bafflement.
"What is it?"
"Geez, don't they have video games in igloos back home?"
"I'm from Toronto, Ray," Turnbull said, not especially containing the sigh in it.
"It's Super Mario."
"A small pixel man who appears to be throwing snooker balls."
"Those are fireballs, Turnbull, fire-- shit, shit, shit-- YES!"
Turnbull's eyes widened for a moment before settling with a blink. The little man seemed to have found purchase upon a floating platform.
"Is he chasing a... mushroom?"
"Yep. Maybe I can get another man."
"Pardon me, Ray, but... to what end?"
"--huh?" The little man appeared to secure his mushroom, which disappeared on contact. Turnbull had a very strange sense of deja vu. "--oh. Sorry. What?"
"What's the object of the game?"
"Oh." More frantic thumb-motions went on as Ray spoke. "--the biggie kidnapped Princess Daisy so he could marry her, and I gotta save her."
Turnbull paused to consider that as a plot device.
"And this game is intended for children?"
"Hey, there's nothing
wrong with a grown guy playing video games."
"--ah, I wasn't commenting upon your age so much as--" Mario lept into the air after what appeared to be a pixel oval, and failed to reach the other side. He fell to his death, and with it, Ray deflated. "--hm. Question whether... kidnapping and forced marriage
should be an acceptable plot device for a child's game..."
Ray sighed. "Just lost a life."
"Forgive my criticism of your pastime, Ray, but that hardly seems to improve upon my point."
"It's just a game
, Turnbull, nobody cares about unfortunate implications or whatever, I just wanna have a little mindless fun before Fraser comes back and takes me somewhere I can't shoot fireballs at bad guys. Well, okay, so there was that one time, but I never figured out how Fraser got the can of hairspray to do that, so just--" There was more thumb motioning, and at some point during the rant, both Ray and Turnbull gave up.
Pinching the bridge of his nose, Turnbull walked away. "Enjoy your game, Ray."