My friend Trevor and me are at the mall, picking up copies of Metroid Prime 3, which hadn’t arrived at Best Buy yet. After confirming it wasn’t there yet, Trevor pretended he needed to check for something else. He wandered around a bit to see if that girl he likes, Monica, was working. She wasn’t. So it was off to EB where we realized how long it had been since we’d been there. We didn’t recognize any of the drones pushing strategy guides.
Now we’ve got our copies and we’re grabbing some Panda Express at the food court.
“Hey, check it out.”
He nods at a cluster of four kids, about ten years old. One of them is yanking at a yo-yo dangling from his hand. We can’t hear them from where we’re sitting, but it’s easy to imagine the conversation.
“You have to pull up.”
“Shut up, I’m doing it.”
“You’re not doing it right. You have to pull up right when it gets to the bottom.”
“The string is too tight. Can I see?”
“Get your own.”
“You don’t know how to do it.”
On the way back to the car, we go into a Kay-Bee at the edge of the mall.
“Where are yo-yos?” Trevor asks.
There’s a small section of them. Trevor looks at the fancy ones for a moment, but finally opts for a translucent green no-frills yo-yo. It’s the color of a watermelon Jolly Rancher. He opens the bubble pack as we’re heading back to the car.
“Check it out. Walking the dog.”
He flicks his wrist. The yo-yo unfurls to its full length and then climbs three or four inches back up before losing momentum. Trevor throws the string back around the yo-yo in quick little loops.
“Walking the dog,” he repeats, as if he hadn’t already said it. This time, at the end of its string, the yo-yo hovers and spins. Trevor lowers it to the pavement and its scuttles forward plastically.
“Check it out. Around the world.”
Trevor wrist flicks the yo-yo out and jerks his hand back. The yo-yo traces a fast arc towards his face and then directly into it. His head jerks and he actually takes a few steps backwards.
He has just demonstrated whatever principle of physics makes a flail do more damage than a mace. He dabs at his mouth, with the yo-yo dangling from his hand, unadmonished and ignored. There’s a tiny splotch of blood on his lip, like in some Western when the cowboy has been punched and is about to get really mad.
“Fuck,” he repeats.
“Yeah. I forgot that yo-yoing can be dangerous. Man, there’s a reason we should stick to videogames, you know? It’s safer. You’re not going to write about that are you?”
“You know, people getting hurt isn’t funny.” We go home, put in Metroid, and commence to swinging and jerking the Wii controller around.
“Check it out. I’m ripping this panel off the wall.”
Trevor’s lip swells slightly as he yanks a panel off the wall and then throws a switch.
Tom Chick has been writing about videogames for fifteen years. His work appears in Games for Windows Magazine, Yahoo, Gamespy, Sci-Fi, and Variety. He lives in Los Angeles. Shoot Club appears in this space every Thursday.