Occasionally a man has to throw down for the woman he loves
Things had been strained with my girlfriend and I – I think it all started when she started kicking my butt at Super Smash Brothers Melee using the Princess. She didn’t take it well when I took us both to see The Jedi Master for pre-marital smash counseling. But this weekend I realized something – I was watching her demolish the campus Smash Bros. champion with turnips and a frying pan and realized that I had found my true love. And here, I was letting her slip away. Into the arms of a frat guy who played as Donkey Kong and looked like him, too.
Angrily I rose to my feet. “You listen here, Jake Reynolds,” I called out to my new nemesis and rival. “You can smack me at my own game, you can pummel me with the folding umbrella or home run bat, but you can not – will not – not EVER – take away my woman.”
“Impatient, like his father,” whispered the Jedi in awe.
Jake, the campus butcher, didn’t budge from his seat. He looked at me with cold eyes. Then he eyed my girlfriend, who was looking at us both in a new light. Then he turned his attention to the video game. And finally those cold grey eyes came back to me. “You want to settle this like men?” he asked, pointing a calloused thumb at the television set.
“PROVE YOUR LOVE!” I demanded. The game was on, me against Jake, three lives each, Smash Bros. Melee, no time limit. I selected Zelda, and he selected that damnable ape.
“Oh WOW,” my girlfriend exclaimed, clapping her hands together. “They’re fighting over me! Nobody’s ever punched the monkey for LOVE before!”
“I have,” whispered the Jedi. I’m not quite clear on why I invited him.
Silently and intently, Jake reached into his bookbag. He withdrew a sturdy metal case with a combination lock, placing it gently onto his lap like a newborn baby. “012” was the combination, the number of the monkey. When he opened the case, a light shone from within, illuminating a velvet-lined interior containing a single polished Nintendo wireless Wavebird controller. He gingerly removed it, plugged the receiver into my GameCube, then slowly polished his controller with a felt rag until it sparkled in the light. Sweat cascaded from my brow.
“Give me some Jedi wisdom or something!” I hissed to my trainer.
“My young Padawan… You are SO screwed,” he replied.
But somehow I screwed up my courage. I realized I had a cause. The match began, and lit from a fire within, I was a force of nature. It was, my friends, the finest game of Smash Brothers I have ever played. I was hurling Pokeballs with needlepoint precision. I was busting out with sidesteps. I even boomeranged that damn monkey out of mid air.
But Jake, Jake was playing for real. His skill with Donkey Kong was of such a caliber as to defy words. He was a ballet of fist and fur, a macabre dance of wicked monkeyshining that could turn a casual evening of play into a commercial for Samsonite Luggage. He wielded the laser gun like a Japanese Geisha fandancer.
The match went on … and on. No contender could seem to get the upper hand. We each lost our first life, then our second. Then a double KO. We went to overtime. It was a ten minute marathon of play that seemed to last a lifetime. Then, whirling from the sky, goodies appeared – an electric sword and a Pokeball. Jake grabbed the ball, but my Jedi training instructed me to go for the former. Weapons in hand, we made the final lunge toward one another. The Pokeball exploded – Would it be my doom? NO! A weak-assed Magickarp tumbled out and onto the ground, flapping uselessly. I struck a mighty blow with my electric sword and sent Jake and his infernal money tumbling from the map, never to be seen again. “Nooooooo!!” he cried, his hoarse voice reverberating around my dorm room walls.
I turned to my woman, flush with triumph, filled with a strength I never knew I’d had. “I love you!” I said, breathlessly. “I love you!”
She bit her upper lip, not really looking away from the television set. “You know,” she said offhandedly. “I don’t think I could date either of you. I mean, that was a completely weak demonstration of skillz. You guys couldn’t edge-guard for ass. Smash Brothers with you guys is like watching old women park cars.” She shook her head. “Yeah, I gotta find me a man with some real cajones on the game board.” And with that, she walked out, a changed woman.
We sat in awkward silence.
“Best of three?” Jake asked.
I hear she’s gone pro. Just a rumor. But … that’s what I hear. Found her true calling, I guess.
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- There are two ways to play Super Smash Brothers, my young padawan. There’s a light side. And a dark side.