FIRST PLAYABLE LEVEL by JAMES ARDIS

PLAYTEST 1
We’re in your truck. This college radio station
will deliver exposition
when there’s exposition to give,
but for now we’re listening to a two-hour rotation
of Alanis Morissette b-sides.

We’re off-roading as fast west
as the world will load,
we’re so young they haven’t even
rendered our shadows yet.

PLAYTEST 2
No one in your family is selectable for dialogue,
the college radio host is not ready to debrief us
on the next mission, an invisible wall keeps us
from the next world, the Sonic waiters
in this town are not programmed
to accept payment yet.

These are the excuses I make
so you’ll stay in bed
and watch VH1 with me.

PLAYTEST 3
We visit the town where no one’s
front door opens for us, where tomatoes
are too large, taking up
half a small table, where the bones
on the floor are plain white with no texture.

We fall in love with that town’s Sonic
more than any other Sonic,
their Sonic doesn’t blend their Master Blasts well,
so we get whole hunks of brownie.

PLAYTEST 4
Our Sonic Master Blasts are chunky, the radio
is not helpful but Alanis Morissette
is blunt as usual and that’s why we love her
so I feel safe here saying I don’t know
where we are, maybe halfway
between the next world
and Texarkana.

I’ve been here longer but now
you’re here too, you’ve barely even
ruined it.


James Ardis published the chapbook ‘Your Arkansas: A Strategy Guide’ (Gauss PDF) in 2016, a project that combines psychosis and video game strategy guides. His writing appears in Heavy Feather Review, Rivulet, The Rumpus, and Crossing Genres, among others. He is interested in the intersection of vulnerability and popular culture.

 

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