May 171999

Title: Chronicles of Vortex: You play, you win.
Characters: Serapi, NextX, Gunslinger (and Robin, in passing)
Rating: G
Warnings: None
Notes: I wrote this in 1999. In pen. I've tried to clean up the parts that are the fault of writing swiftly and in pen.

The kid who owned the computer shop up the street was called Gunslinger, although the only gun he'd ever proven proficient with was a soldering gun. Supposedly it was an obscure literary reference to his name, which no-one remembered, anymore. "Kid" was something of a misnomer, as well; at the age of forty-seven, he was sort of a Great Geek Grandpa to all us cybernetic runts. Gunslinger had one up on us, though — he naturally looked younger than a good half of us. We never resented him for it, though, because he took good care of us.

I found myself in the shop one afternoon with my little sister, NextX. As we walked in, I saw Gundlinger turn white under his monitor-tan — he never was any good around the female of the species.

"Um… Serapi… hi…" he managed around a mouthful of virtual marbles.

"Hiya, Gunslinger! What's up?" I says, looking at the newest additions to the used software.

"NextX." Sis says, raising her hand.

I winced. "Um, right. Is my little sister." I pointed at NextX. I always feel like a spaz when I forget to introduce her…

"So, how's Robin?" Gunslinger asked, more to be polite than out of genuine interest.

"Robin's an ass," I chirped cheerily, "Wow… yet another Zork."

"Hm. What else is new," he muttered, and NextX snorted derisively.

"What?" I asked, pseudo-innocently, "the new Zork?"

I noticed that Gunslingers knuckles had turned white from gripping the counter. It was probably about time to go, but I decided to push my luck.

"Hey, Gunslinger," I started, looking disturbed, "I just inherited the old TRaSh-80. Does that thing need a boot disk?"

NextX just gaped. "You have the TRaSh-80."

I just smiled angelically.

"I hate you." She looked as if she were about to vomit.

I cracked a smirk as she fumed. Some days, I am so smug.

The Gunslinger, of course, suggested that I turn the old beast into a fishtank, and expressed some surprise that it still turned on, at all. Rather than remain between the stuttering Gunslinger and my murderous sister, I offered my thanks, tipped my hat and fled.

((Primarily written on 5.17.1999. Some small cleanup has been done.))

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