The Gamer

Azure James

In the depths of a dark video game cafe, sharp sapphire light illuminated the recesses of towered hard disks and shelves of computer accessories, and the gamers Kim and Joel sat two chairs away from each other. But they were better known by their game names, pocketmaster1345 and xxxxxKIMPTxxxxx. They were in the midst of practicing for another competitive tournament at some point in the future. There were many other players in the room who did not have the sophisticated and cool atmosphere of true gaming veterans, and Kim and Joel looked down on them as casuals.
It was eight at night.
“Headshot!” Kim said into his microphone, and Joel heard him through his headset. Joel jumped around a building corner, dove to the ground, and noscoped three enemies in a row. Dead bodies piled on the ground. Joel got up and ran into cover, throwing two grenades incredibly far into some random location in enemy territory. He saw Kim out of the corner of his eye enter the building to the right of him, about to go in deep and cut around the enemy’s flank.
Kim and Joel communicated much better than most Insane Warbattles VI players, and used myriad strategies to help them in their pursuit of gaming infamy.
They had been in countless tournaments together, and though Joel entertained some thoughts of getting married and having a life outside of gaming, Kim lived for it and almost never did anything else.
But they were indisputably both extremely skilled.
Joel’s armament was usually a SCAR with extended barrel and green 2x magnification sight and a USP extended mag for backup. His comrade used a bolt-action sniper rifle and dual M9 pistols. But on occasion, as a joke, Joel would pull out his difficult-to-use middle finger cannon that he had got as a prize for prestiging eleven times. That was a long time ago.

Time had passed, but the players scarcely noticed. They were now the only people there except the absentminded store clerk, as it was three in the morning. Joel tried to recollect when they had first entered the cafe– it was perhaps a day or a day and a half ago? They played on.
“Stay behind that door, and I’ll cover the other exit,” said Kim, his voice sounding weaker than usual. They hadn’t been communicating as much lately.
An enemy went through the door and was in the process of spinning around and shooting at Joel when he took two slugs to the chest and collapsed.
They had won. Patriotic music played and the soldier with the most kills was displayed.
Now there was a loading time between battles, and they were going to be on the Soviet side. Joel took a swig of Mtn Dew, which used to be Mountain Dew, when they had first picked up their controllers.
Memories of some of their earlier tournaments suddenly flooded Joel’s mind, all the fun they’d had and how difficult it all was. How exciting it had been to prepare, and the thought that all of their enemies had spent just as much time getting ready as them!
Joel worried a little that Kim wasn’t eating much. He never ate a lot and often lost a lot of weight before a competition.
Joel’s character’s head exploded and he fell to the ground. He was getting way too distracted. The young man promised to himself to focus more from then on. Suddenly, Kim’s voice came on again.
“I’m getting tired, maybe we should close this up at the end of this battle.”
Kim was always subtle and a little bit submissive. He sounded exhausted.
“I don’t think so,” replied Joel, “I’m three quarters to level 176 and I should get there before the weekend. What do you think?”
“I’m not sure…”
“Come on,” replied Joel, brushing it off.
“Ok,” said his friend.
They continued on, playing on top of ships, on the roofs of tall buildings, and even in the inside of submarines where stray bullets caused flooding. Their battle orders and general chatter had slowed down and completely stopped a while ago. Joel was skilled enough that he could still play very well, however.
It was eight in the morning and a small but increasing amount of light poured in from the alien outside world. It took Joel’s attention away from what he was doing for a few moments. He actually enjoyed looking from a hole in the curtains at the orange sunlight. He detected a bad odor, surprisingly it was even worse than the typical stink of the place, and wondered where it had come from. After looking around the source was still not evident. But Kim seemed pretty still.
Joel was getting very close to level 176. His heart rate increased and every headshot and triple grenade kill moved the experience bar ever closer to that lofty goal.
Across the room, the store worker played around on his phone and ignored everyone as usual.
The gamer noticed that while he was starting to get tired, and no matter how much Mtn Dew he drank, there was not much he could do about it. His reactions were slowing down and his killstreak had went from 2.64 to the despicable ratio of 1.32! It was terrible.
But Kim, somehow, had not just stayed at the same level of mastery, but actually gotten slightly better and moved around with even more grace as he hopped fences and ran through dusty Middle Eastern towns. Joel was sure, one time, that one of the animations he went through did not even exist at all.
And all this without them even talking.
He didn’t mind, as his throat was sore anyways. At the end of the battle the experience bar was so close to its goal that Joel could not even believe he had not leveled-up yet.
The next round took place on a huge jumbo jet, and if enough windows were broken it would suck players out of the plane, so sometimes players used that effect as a strategy to win. Kim did three times better than Joel, but finally, after shooting some dude’s feet six times in a row, twenty five more experience points were added to the bar and the golden letters
appeared. Joel gave out an audible shout. The store worker actually noticed him and stared condescendingly for a moment. It was ten in the morning now. The smell was getting horrible, and Joel thought it was about time to go home and take a shower, so he turned the game off and slowly re-acclimated to the real world. After pressing the computer power button and brushing the chip dust off his chair, the young man took a step towards his friend to remind him that they were finished. Not noticing it, he still had his wireless headset on.
Joel touched his friend on the shoulder. It was cold. He shook Kim, but the latter did not resist the movement at all. His face was much paler than usual and he smelled much worse than usual.
He was dead. And he had been dead for a long time.
And then Joel had the horrible thought– how was he still playing?
A low, creaky voice suddenly appeared on Joel’s headset. His heart nearly stopped.
“Hello,” it growled, “Shall we play another round?”

Letters from Irina 10

Dear Friend:
A war has started close by to here I have been watching on the news and seen some of it firsthand.
The footage needs no comments. It is a human rights violation playground.
One of the documentary men said “We have  to show it all and much leftovers about how people live on water, what they think about, what is happening in them.”
The vast majority of this city is gangs.
There were preparations for half a year.
The insurgents were practicing throwing people and technology in order to skip people on concrete and when they figured out how to do that, they attacked.
A very stupid unknown gunman fired upon a helicopter  pad 3 kilometers from a boutique. An atheist was wounded.
In  another attack, riot police were ambushed and the gunmen killed more than ten including the dog person Oleg Rumizhak.
They interviewed a Russian general who said:
“I am pleased with my unit. But not only do they not discuss the order but they do not violate the
instructions either.”
We have had one victory at least. Our forces captured militants in a picturesque valley but
young lieutenant commanded a direct fire and shot them all against his permission.
‘Tis fine with me.
I still managed to write a poem:
I heard you and your Golden Opera
well some things speak for themselves
deepening is completed.
Like all your relationships.

I am going to leave the city tomorrow.
We will see if I can manage another letter.
Wish me luck.

Letters from Irina 9

Dear Friend:
My life has been crazy in Russia.
I was driving my Lada car and I saw two men way ahead of me walking under a traffic light,
then a bomb blew up under them and they went flying.
Damned terrorists!
This oblast I live in has such bad roads that people have pothole competitions daily to see
whose car will break first. I tried a few times but never won. Didn’t break my car either at least.
News from work– Glaz’s AI is demanding for the release of more robots, but nothing has even been promised to the machines.
Russia is a terrible place.
It’s not easy to believe in completely general empty promises.
I was at a party and Boris was there and drank so much rum that he said out of the blue
“Tomorrow– spaceship.”
Champagne would not say such things.
JSC has exhausted himself. I think he will probably die soon.
How horrific.

Letters from Irina 8

Letters from Irina 8, The Curse:

Hello guy.

It’s nice you’ve been alone for more than a week.
Because of the recent USD accidents, America thinks the Russians are tinkering with their currency. Funny little story.
I have bad news.
JSC hurt his left knee in a battle with the police and someone gave him a food gift but Jeff, (what an evil person) cast a curse on him!!
Don’t panic if you don’t understand and you think it’s normal that he got this curse for the lower knee. And don’t worry about mistakes when after at least 10 more times reading you understand more.
At least it’s not lung cancer. But this is very important. Write me soon and pray for him to improve very quickly.
I guess a few other things are going on as well. Anatoly Glaz is studying a lot and writing a book called “how to get economical cybernetics”. He reads three texts everyday 33-34 times to research for it.
I finally made a statement to Tia, and said “Wow, your car is nice.”
Also, I found a website which give people $4 for free.
Got some strange news from my family. I did not know my sister was going to clubs, but it’s been verified. I do not know. It’s not reason enough to impose a rule, I guess…

Here’s today’s poem:

French philosophers play sports so there is no fear
why not engage in water time?

and why are you trying to pretend that you want
Almost a third of the Internet?

I guess that’s all. I’m worried about JSC though.

I can’t believe you said to me,
“I love her like glue tanachi hang.”
Thank you!
Love you too,


previous   next



Letters From Irina 7

Letters From Irina 7, AI/JSC troubles

Dear Friend:
Please tell me a little bit about the main character where you’re from.
No, I do not remember Man Dimon.
Things have not been going so well…
Cyprus and Malta have hit the brakes because their group factories have been
failing to stimulate the economy. I wouldn’t be surprised if they
fall apart before long.
On August 14 the new cop shot some random guy and threatened the safety of area residents. When fighting broke out, JSC ran away from home and got
a leg injury. He was helped by experienced comrades though. 😦

My work has been going okay.
Sacha is rolling Arcadia cartridges. I am not sure what he plans to do with them.
One of our PPP projects, my main job right now, is pretty crazy:
We study to find used grenades from Soviet times. It removes many inconvenient victims.
We need helpers this time, only two though.
My boss Mr. Dollars reduced my salary. Removing pay is uncomfortable. 😦

Do you remember that AI which escaped and killed some of
my co-workers? Chernenko Yushchenko was thought of as the product design officer
for it, so he may take some of the blame.
We keep a large room full of files of all our unsuccessful projects.
Machine set fire to several of these failure cases. 27 out of 72.
Let’s let the hackers set in motion a plan to remotely disable it!

My poem today is pretty short:

I know that we shall smoke.
I cannot be denied.
This is a demonic realm in which to smoke a pipe.

When inside this bread
i find myself in the soup.

What do you think?
Get back to me whenever you feel like it.
And even if nothing major is new, I am not worried.
I want to change people. You gotta have dreams.
Let’s allocate vessels for drinking!
Love you,

p.s– Here is so intense, incidentally, body massage!


previous   next

Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 6

Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 6, Relationship Problems:

Hello dear friend.

For 3 days in row my boyfriend has found money on the street!
10 rubles are laying on the road and cash flow occurs.

You were inquiring about the details of the company I work for.
According to their philosophy, the purpose of their products is to attract attention.
They do lots of other things as well. But in spite of ballet class, we create coverage for all.
9/10 units with no casualties.
The other one… well that’s classified.
Again, Anatoly Glaz created another rogue technology. This program prevents you from making money.
Good thing I haven’t been affected by it yet.
I remember when he said:
“I am pleased to say the quality of these theoretical and logical blanks is supreme.
Analytical percentage crest practices logical framework of the founder of the pit.”
The other co-workers have been doing alright.
Boris, allegedly he’s so stupid he drank more than $50 worth of vodka.
Varis Street said I need more exercise. I just know that doing some sports in two hours is
expressive but not genuinely interesting enough. I feel like a fool anyway.

My poetry sure is getting interesting. Here’s one:

I know how to live and now I’m saved.
I never in my life did not win at life in general.
Balance with balanced and achieve inner harmony.
Meditation yes that is really fighting for beginners
But why not try a good practice?
You do not know the practice described in this book.
Let’s see what happens next.

the beat pots created a full sense of distrust
Iranian woman resigns information
to the terrorist.

today I present to you my mechanics, politicans, yes.
their soft tires.
But then I remembered I am not to be a grandmother.

What do you think?
I knew what I was doing when I first met JSC, at least I thought I did, but
big things are not meant to attract a man with this low a level of income.
You know what I mean?
And it makes me think–
The masculine, is it too much?
Ladies will grow large and lose a little in the belly at least to pick them up.
I was no exception.
But now I am getting sick of JSC.
This ne’er do well, he himself pulled power, and indeed he is
not on the right path. I know that he was destined for failure.
What are the strengths of this man?

But your life is different.
Therefore look to the future. And in your mind, indeed become almost transparent.
Look at this unforgettable trip– may the legacy of this correspondence stay with you forever.
Remember, I love you, and there is nothing you can do about it.


Adventures in Mistranslation: Letters from Irina 5

Adventures in Mistranslation: Letters from Irina 5, Repression

Hello friend. This may be the last time we trade words.

JSC told me that he thinks I want to do more than just communicate with you.
I have a little lacking though.
Yes, I’m a thirty year old; official status.
I should say so.
I will try to speak to the removal of the desire to do.
Regrettably, I haven’t had time to put up the area sign you sent me.
I’ve been quite sad lately.
First I wanted to tell you that another trend plane full of prostitutes landed
slowly today.
And at church, priests swore that time does not stand.
I have been thinking lately: in some countries there is no coast!
Thing are going insane.

This is a good one: a man who is an expert at walking his dogs.
Watch out if you’re an expert at anything because soon they will all be dogs.

I read that the Spetsnaz raided a Chinese compound lately. The entire archive
of the Chinese contained many films and lots of rubles. I have been to China, but I was always there for two days only. Their business spirit is strong. The Chinese stated that I have often said in Kiev that “8 classes of people are good-natured, if not our class.”
They are full of crap. How do they know what happens in Kiev anyways?
On TV, there was a show about someone hiding for a long time with a leg
fracture and a desire to do things.
It was the third real film about such a subject. It was horrible, but I forgive
TV the project and let the box go because I understand a lot of why these things are made.
We are making a movie called The Red Army Is Interesting.
I assume that there is a traitor in it.
We need Lobov in a scene, but why even look for him? Have you seen him?
It has a hockey competition as well. The team will be determined
by the Russian Federation. It is made of office people.

Russia wanted to have more population due to the large growth rate in North
Korea. We can always create thousands. But Russians always blame their homeland for everything until stability arrives.
I have moved again now. We’re not in Hawaii anymore. But we prefer this house to such equally familiar houses in Moscow.
By the way, when I looked out the window at signs for barbecue rubs and Big
Macs, I remembered  that The old Italian project company group honored many comments about food during their business meetings.
Did you ever take on sex then quietly took this D?

When your life is as bad as mine, you begin to live mentally in all the other countries of the world.
Things are going to suck soon. It will not just be bad in my life, it will be
my thoughts too!
Anyways, this is the one thing I’ve learned:
Life is the most terrible thing, whether here or there or whether you give a bingo!

I look at you now. Why do we love what fools have?
Sincerely yours,

p.s: and why would you cry over the author’s handwriting?

previous   next

Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 4

Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 4, A Tragedy:

Hello friend.

John, I really think I believe in mysticism and all that jazz. Life is very
Actually why I believe in mysticism is because in the tenth grade I studied
medical statistics. Early in the morning on Friday 13th, I was in a hurry
to a biology class. I was running and stopped to recall something.
Then I looked out the window.
It was like a tank.
There were very few people on the street outside.
Genghis vessel.
They died.
It could not but rejoice at the destruction.
And I stood and waited.

I am sorry to tell you that. It has put a small lock on my life.
Try to understand what I have to say, that is sufficiently precise and
Genghis Khan is not dead. He kills yet.

Sad news, I know.
But I hope you’re enjoying the gigantic bag of choco-pies I sent you!

previous   next

Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 3

Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 3,

Hello friend:

I am happy to receive your correspondence. Your name is John, is it not?
Nice to meet you. I received your letter and you seem like a pretty cool person.
I recently resumed my old position at work. This night broadcast evening shift
is spent in such a strange way. Coupe piercing test issues and a more and more
higher and higher result.
It is scary.
Eventually we will figure out how to make a coupe which is not wrecked so easily.
But this is snow. And I think, I now very much hope that the terminal
may be next week. Everything will be ready soon.
But because of the oldest problem, it turned it all wrong… Our first AI that
Anatoly Glaz designed has always had issues, but it’s getting even worse now.
All it had to do was connect the experience of an out and calculate the
percentage of mouton wool, bone etc… on the ground, before it killed three
workers and escaped!
We have not found nor captured it yet.
This process should not be so hard, like applying for a loan!
Workers here would dream of October because it is very much not a burden.
Alas, it is only July.
Also, we designed a machine learning the Russian language. It can remember
things somebody else already tried to say but forgot.

Remember The Community? Their idea was right, something about making money by
selling buttons. It’s very difficult though. Here where I live is the same
failure of traders. I’m not just complaining about The Community because their
trolleybuses do not work. (Such a terrible story you know. A hell of a trolley, my friend.)

You’ve only seen one of my poems before. Here is my newest poem.
I’m sure you’ll like it.

“It is very difficult to be difficult.
Islam is a good weekend.
Cool springs country is behind me.
But it’s intensive work to be still open.
And what is most interesting–
is that I have now a luxury that I cannot afford.”

I am glad that you have no questions now that you know very well what I have to say.

p.s– Add me on COD 5. I will try to go as often as possible and stay alive.

previous   next

Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 2

Mistranslation Adventures: Letters from Irina 2, Hawaii

Hello dear friends!
I am hoping to find someone to talk to on a more consistent basis from this letter. We’ll see how it works.
Finally found the right toothbrush.
I promised the company I work for that today I would test the quality of the materials in their new tent.
But now I am done with that and am on the beach.
Now this is a popular beach!
The spirits of the Waikikis are actually with me, and I decided to take off because they are terrifying.
I have found at last the optimal location for life. I want to live, and because the
farrier is here it’s a good place to keep my horse.
But mail that high humidity out of here!
Here’s the latest poem I wrote:

O America,
How could you live for long if the sun was captured?
In case of such a theft on a national holiday?
Every day you at least would want to get outside!

Why would you want to live in Hawaii? Unreal beautiful nature, but it’s gone.

It’s because of all the mineral and lithium mining here.
Why does humanity do such things?
I used to be a teacher, but the Kiedis birds undermined my career. And you hear
of penalties for that stuff now!
I like the warm theatres in Hawaii. They’re great places for sunbathing. But
only for beginning that process.
Did you know that all human life is written about in Kiev’s newspaper on May 7?
I bet you didn’t. I learned that when I was young.
80% of the time it only takes $86 to fly to Hawaii. We have no choice regarding
this. It leads to a constant influx of tourists.😦
Che Guevara is an example of how people are cool.
Perhaps to those who do not repent the best can happen!
Talk to you later.

previous    next