I Refused to Allow My Broken Arm to Hinder My Deathmatch Skillz
Every four months or so my buddies and I head down to San Diego for SmotherLAN, this LAN party these guys throw in the basement of their frat house. It’s hard to take on all those frat-dudes, who are used to the T1’s at the university and who can communicate the position of their teams’ flag using a series of secret burp codes. But we do it. And without fail I was the deathmatch champion – until I met Stewie. The Freshman.
Stewie the Frosh and I first encountered one another in February, after he had pledged. I was all smack talk, and to me he was but a muscle-bound frat-freak that I was gonna throw on the pile with the others. That was a humbling experience for me, the way Stewie the Frosh raked me through the coals. “You can’t hit nothin’!” he screamed, over and over, with each volley. “You can’t hit nothin’!” At one point, while I was still five frags behind, he switched to the gauntlet to finish me off. The frat guys burped and puked in celebration; I was humiliated.
So I started a strict training regimen in order to prepare for the next SmotherLAN, in May. I worked out my body and soul. I Fragged on the net during my lunch hour. I set up a LAN at home and took on all challengers. No matter how hard I practiced, I couldn’t get his taunt out of my head… “You can’t hit nothin’! You can’t hit nothin’!” The fact that it was a double-negative made my blood boil all the worse. I worked out, I lost weight, I even took up rollerblading. I guess the last part was too much; earlier in the month I took a spill in the parking lot and fractured my wrist. My arm was placed in a cast.
Playing Quake was right out. At least … that’s what they tried to tell me. But I wasn’t going to let a broken arm stop me from taking on SmotherLAN. We trucked our PCs down there and Stewie the Frosh met me at the door, asking me if I was ready for another whuppin’. “Bring it,” I said, waving my plastered hand threateningly.
“Bring it? Hah!” he replied, stepping aside to let us through. “You can’t hit nothin’!”
We played. And played. Handicapped, I could beat everyone there … except HIM. Though my skillz had improved a hundredfold, I couldn’t circle-strafe correctly with my arm bound. It was sick. Stewie the Frosh was slaughtering me – and I knew that it was my last chance to beat him before graduation and he became … I dunno, Junior Stewie or something. “You can’t hit nothin’!” he taunted. “You can’t hit nothin’!”
Finally I threw my mouse down in disgust. “OH YOU’RE A BIG MAN, FRATBOY,” I cried. “Playin’ against the cripple with both arms!”
Stewie the Frosh finished his beer and reared up. “Oh yeah?” he said. “…YEAH?” he added. His eyes darted around the room, then he lifted up his arm and rolled up his sleeve. “Break it!” he yelled.
All his buddies tried to stop him. “No man, dude man, no dude, man, dude no way dude – man! Don’t do it! Don’t break your arm for Quake! He ain’t worth it dude man dude etc.” But Stewie the Frosh was no man to back down from a challenge. He demanded some Tequila and a hammer.
Of course, my friends all wanted me to back down, too. But what was I gonna say? I was just trying to even the turf. I reached out my free hand and accepted the hammer. The handle was warm leather. The head was tempered steel. Heavy.
Stewie the Frosh took a swig of Tequila, set his arm onto the table, and spit. He flexed every muscle he had. I raised the hammer up high. The room had fallen deathly silent.
When the hammer came down, the crash was enough to turn the neighbors’ lights on. I swear the ground shook. Dogs started barking.
A moment later Stewie the Frosh howled out ….
… “I KNEW IT! You couldn’t hit NOTHIN’!!”
Had I had the hammer in my GOOD hand, it woulda been different.
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