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PostPosted: Mon Mar 7, '11, 12:18 am
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I lay on bed, unable to do much beyond move my arms and chew. I had been bedridden for three months now. Mom and dad would tell me that before I knew it, I’d be back at school, playing on the jungle gym with my friends like old times. I wanted to believe them, I really wanted to. But I couldn’t. Not since that night that I got out of bed after my mother had tucked me in. I had put my ear on the wooden floorboads of my room and made an effort to listen to my parents talking in our dining room below. I head my mother sobbing and trying to keep her composure, asking dad and God why I never got better. After that, I abandoned all my hope and decided to spend the rest of my life just playing games. It wasn’t like I had anything better to do.

I heard the doorbell ring and my mother open the door.

“Hi Lacey!” I heard mom say enthusiastically.

Lacey was my neighbor and best friend. We were often mistaken for brother and sister because we had walked to school together ever since kindergarten. We were now in the third grade.

“Hello, Mrs. Arbett. I wanted to know if Jackson is well enough to play.” Her sweet voice was music to my bedridden ears.

“Of course, Lacey. Jackson would just love your company. Please come in.”

I thanked the heavens that my mother didn’t send her away. It’d give me something to do and my mother would feel better that Lacey’s visit was lifting my spirits. Small miracles, my friend. Small miracles.

The pitter-patter of Lacey’s little nine-year-old feet sounded more sweet in my young ears than drum beats of the most talented percussionist in the world. My friend Lacey walked in my room. She wore a white T-shirt with pink trim, complete with pants the same shade of pink as her shirt, completing the outfit. Her long, black curley hair hung past her shoulders and her smile revealed her beautiful, yet slightly large, front teeth.

“Hi Jackson!” she said happily, rubbing my hair.

“Hi Lacey. Thanks for coming.” I couldn’t be happier if I tried.

“Oh sure. We all miss you at my house. The gang at school misses you, too. Playing Ninja Turtles on the playground isn’t the same without our designated Splinter.”

Lacey sat down on the floor next to my bed.

“Do you want to play some games, Lacey?” I asked.

“Sure. How about some Double Dragon? At least that one is two-player-at-a-time.” She looked up at me with a big grin.

“Sure!” I replied. I loved Lacey’s companionship.

She got up and walked over to my bookcase where my empty Cassio radio box held my games. Shuffling through the different cartridges in the box, she picked out the Double Dragon case and removed the game from it, placing it in my Sega Master System. She turned it on and handed me a control. In less than a minute, we were fighting our way through the slums, beating up Linda's and Abobos with the utmost of joy.

“Lacey,” I asked suddenly as we fought through the second level industrial complex. “What happens to us when we die?”

“Mommy told me that we go to heaven, like Grandfather Manzo,” she answered without looking up.

“Do you believe that?”


Lacey shrugged and glanced at me, ignoring the arrow that told us to continue.

“I don’t know. I think we go to our favorite place when we die. Like our favorite book or favorite movie or favorite game or something. That way, we’ll not only be in our favorite place, but we’ll be surrounded by people who have the same favorite place, so we can spend forever and ever talking about our experiences and going on quests and having sleepovers with our favorite characters.”

I didn’t respond for a few moments, thinking about what she had said and trying to wrestle a stick of dynamite out of a thug’s hand so I could blow him and his pals into last year. “I like that idea,” I said finally.

“Where is your favorite place?” she asked.

“I think I’d like to spend forever and ever in Miracle Warriors,” I said proudly.

“I haven’t played that one. I don’t think many people remember that game. Won’t you get lonely?”

“I’m sure I’ll meet lots of people there. And it’s a big world, always something new to encounter and do.”

After I said that, I began to feel unnaturally drowsy. I had a hard time keeping my eyes open, which resulted in Jimmy Lee taking more hits around the bridge than usual. My grip on the control loosened and Lacey’s voice seemed a bit more distant than normal.

Lacey knocked down a guy with a baseball bat and turned to look at me. “How about this? If you let borrow Miracle Warriors, I’ll play it again and again until it becomes my favorite game. Then we can spend forever and ever together. What do you think?”

I tried to respond, but the words didn’t come out of my mouth.

“Jackson? Jackson?”

I could now feel Lacey frantically shaking me. I remained unresponsive.

The last thing I heard was Lacey screaming, “Mrs. Arbett!”
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