Cruel And Unusual

Living in a dystopian hell hole isn’t too bad.

For the most part.

That’s what I thought anyway. The horrible stuff only happened to other people, people who stepped out of line, people who didn’t follow the rules, people who challenged the wrong things.

It’s cognitive dissonance of course. I knew deep down that when someone I knew went missing, it wasn’t because they deserved it. But it kept me straight, kept me careful. And the more I deluded myself that my own actions were self-preservation, the more careful I became.

It didn’t work.

They came for me.

Seditious thought.

That was the charge.

And they could prove it.

In sealed documents, that I wasn’t allowed to see, and the court never actually asked for. They didn’t even let me present a defence. They just moved straight to sentencing. That’s when the real horror finally hit me.

I’ve been in this room for weeks now. There’s air conditioning, gourmet meals, luxurious furnishings.

It’s hell.

And it’s hell for one very simple reason.

What they’ve designed, my punishment, for literally doing nothing, is cruel, and entirely unusual.

I can’t stand it anymore.

Over the speakers, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, without pause, without mercy, starting from the beginning, they are reading all my tweets back to me.

Fifty years of them.

In a flat, monotone voice.

And the worst bit, the bit that makes me curl up in a ball in the corner and scream to drown out the noise, is when they describe the Gifs I used.

Cruel And Unusual

Staring Into The Distance

I first noticed the old woman about a year ago. She just sat there, staring at something in the distance, perched on a fallen tree, her back seemingly to the rest of the world.

I asked around, and it turns out she’s been there ever since anyone can remember. Day and night, people pass her, see her in the distance, shrug that she is there again, and move on. But adding it all up, it occurred to me that she never, ever, moves.

The world carries on around her, paying her notice every now and then, but mostly just leaving her to her own thing.

It amazes me that no-one has asked the question.

What’s she doing? Is she okay?

And the more I asked about her, the more people became annoyed at me. They felt like I was accusing them of ignoring an old lady. I guess I was in  way, so I stopped asking, and watched her from a distance.

There we are. Her looking at something, and me looking at her.

I guess it’s creepy in a way, but it would be even creepier if I was a bloke I suppose.

Anyway, I’ve decided to do something more than watch. I need an answer. What’s she doing? Why doesn’t she ever move? I’ve been sucked into the mystery too deep. I spend too much of my day just watching her, and it has to stop.

So, here I go.

It’s a weird feeling, like a mix of nerves and excitement. The closer I get, the more intense it all becomes. She’s only a few feet from me now, and it’s like everything behind me no longer exists. I know there a road back there, and beyond that my house, it’s just, I can’t hear the traffic, or feel its presence. All that matters is what’s in front of me.

So close now I can hear her breathing. She sounds content. It’s not cold here, or damp. It’s the perfect temperature. I can see why she doesn’t want to move.

I’m settling down next to her. Her skin if pale, papery, wrinkled. She smells of lavender. Her eyes are fixed on the distance. She knows I’m here, but she doesn’t care.

“What are you doing?” I just asked, hearing a frog in my throat croaking through the words.

Her bony wrist slowly rises into the air, a thin, wizened finger extending and pointing.

“I’m watching him.”

I look, and see a man sitting on the ground further into the woods. His back is to us, and he is staring at something in the distance.

Together, we sit in silence, watching him.

There doesn’t seem to be much point in doing anything else ever again.

Staring Into The Distance

US Sitcom Board Games

We had a look at some old UK sitcom board games a while ago, so here’s a little walk through some games based on US sitcoms. I wish I owned these, or had at least played them.

Happy Days

“Heey! It’s the Fonz! Can you dig his brand-new game? It’s all about being cool and scoring points for it. When you accumulate enough points on Arnold’s juke box, you win the game.

See, It’s like spendin’ time with the Fonz – you go on dates, challenge other players to drag races, or maybe just cruise down to Arnold’s. But beware, you can lose cool points as easily as you gain them. Hey, Nerd, don’t get caught hangin’ out at home. That would be uncool!”

Happy Days Fonzie’s Real Cool Game is based on the hit 1974-1984 TV show of the same name, the Fonz is hangin’ out at your house. Show him how cool you really are by being the first player to collect 16 cool points and light up Arnold’s juke box.

That’s what the lovely box says anyway.

Cheers

This one is a trivia based game, based on the bar where everybody knows your name. It’s a roll and move game, collecting tokens when you answer correctly. There’s also the Normie Olympics, in which you flip-off against Norm, providing a dexterity element.

Barney Miller

Barney Miller made it to UK screens, but was unloved by ITV, and so got lost, but here’s the 1977 game based on the show.

Assume the identity of one of Barney Miller’s detectives. Use a deck of evidence cards and arrest warrants to be the first to book all four suspects that appear on your wanted poster.

Another lovely box design too.

Welcome Back, Kotter

Created by Gabe Kaplan and Alan Sacks for ABC in 1975, Welcome Back, Kotter launched the career of John Travolta, and this tie-in board game. The aim of the game is to create the full phrase ‘up your nose with a rubber hose’ – an aim which may only make sense if you’ve seen the show.

There was also a card game.

ALF

Remember ALF? Well, he’s back, in Pog board game form.

What’s going on? ALF is trying to find his ol’ buddy, Lucky the cat, and take him out for lunch. But Mrs. Ochmonek, the nosey neighbor, is prowling through the house! The first player to help ALF avoid Mrs. Ochmonek and find Lucky wins!

The first ALF to land on the lucky space wins.

Family Ties

The sitcom that launched Michael J Fox back to the future saw a tie in game released in 1986. The aim of the game is to earn $100, get the family together, and have a portrait taken.

All In The Family

If you’ve not seen All In The Family, you should. Whether or not you should then play the game remains to be seen. It sounds … hmm.

This is a great person to person game for young and old. The generation-gap may show up, as “loaded” questions are asked by the “M.C.” and players write their opinions in response. No names are given when the responses (some serious — some humorous) are read off.

The object — match up the response to the person you think most likely to have said it. Oh yes! — Archie’s (or Edith’s) response is put in by the M.C. and you can also score if you guess what he said. You will find some players are so much like Archie (or Edith) that you can’t tell the difference.

Clever or unexpected responses often throw the party into peals of laughter. Animated conversation and real insight into what people are really like results [sic] from this hilarious and stimulating ALL IN THE FAMILY game.

There was an Archie Bunker card game too.

Mork & Mindy

A year after the tie-in card game came this roll and move board game, featuring your favourite alien from Ork.

Meet Mork. He’s from Ork, and he’s come to Earth to learn all he can about our planet. To win the hearts of Earthlings everywhere, Mork has brought along this crazy Orkan game. In it, you and your opponents move around a special Orkan board doing such out-of-this world things as “splinking” and “grebbling up.” All the while, you’ll be trying to win coins called Grebbles. But don’t panic. Mork and his Earthling friend Mindy will be there to help. So shake hands Orkan style, and begin!