Arcade After Dark
by Tom Zjaba
The next evening, Captain Moon Man pulled Roadkill Bill aside and talked with
him. "Bill, I have been thinking about last night." he said to Bill. Before he
could finish his thought, Bill chimed in "It was a good time. Cannot wait to go
back." Cap waited for Bill to finish his thought and then added "Actually, I was
thinking about the other characters in my game and where they may be in my
machine." Bill looked at him oddly and asked "You never talked to any of them?"
This made Cap feel ashamed. Until last night, he never thought about it. But now
he really wanted to know about them. He slept poorly last night and doubts he
will ever get a good night sleep again until he gets some answers. But he is
also afraid to go alone and he is trying to get Bill to go with him. Cap answer
back "Until last night, I never even thought about them. I know it's selfish."
Bill gave him another odd look as he asked "And what do I have to do with this?"
Cap knew it wasn't going to be easy. But he figured Bill was the most fearless.
Plus, he could not see taking along Toyboy or Toygirl, they were just kids.
Billy the Block was gone and Bill was his only real option. He did not like
having to rely on the very crazy squirrel, but he had no choice. So he responds
"I was hoping you would go with me to check it out." Bill smiled and said "Are
you afraid to go alone?" This infuriated Cap and he said "Of course not, I am a
Captain." Bill smiled and then said "Then why do you need me?" This threw him
off guard. He expected a problem like this and even planned for it, but now his
mind was drawing a blank. "Well, I ...I mean...I thought..." Bill then smiled
and said "Because you are scared, just admit it." Cap clenched his fists and
gritted his teeth. He had faced scores of aliens and beat them. He was a Captain
in the Space Fleet. But Bill was right, he was scared and he knew he needed
Bill's help. So he gulped hard and said "OK, I am scared. Are you happy?" Bill
was not going to make this easy. He waited to see the Cap squirm and was going
to relish the moment. "I can't hear what you said. Can you say it louder?" This
really infuriated the Captain and he screamed out "I said I was scared, now are
you going to help me or not?" Within seconds, Toyboy and Toygirl popped in to
see what all the commotion was about. "Is everything all right?" Toyboy asked.
Bill just smiled and said "Everything is fine, in fact it is better than fine."
Cap was turning red from embarrassment, but he held his tongue. Once they were
sure everything was all right, Toyboy and Toygirl left again. Bill turned to Cap
and said "Let us check out your machine."
As they approached Cap's machine, his knees started to knock. He had been in and
out of this hundreds of times. Why should this time be any different? Nothing
ever happened before. For all he knows, he is the only one in the machine. His
enemies may not be real like him. They may just exist on the screen and when the
machine is turned off, they may be turned off as well. At least that is what he
hoped. He did not want to deal with them, but he had to know. So he guided Bill
into the machine. Like all machines, it was dark when it was turned off. There
was a faint glow of light here or there, but for the most part, it was dark.
Until today, he never realized just how dark it was. It also made him think
about how easily his foes could hide in the darkness. They could have been right
next to his bed, watching him and he would never have known it. This really gave
him the creeps. It was enough to make him want to turn around and leave, but he
knew that Bill would never let him live it down. He had to go forward. He had to
Within a few minutes, they were in his room. He turned on the light and Bill saw
his room for the first time. It looked like the room of a career military man. A
small bed with perfectly made sheets. A small refrigerator was in the corner and
the walls were bare. No posters or calendars or anything. There was a closet
with a few other space suits, all the same and all perfectly pressed. "Boring"
was all that Bill could say about the room. Cap gave him a dirty look and said
"What is wrong with this room? It is up to military guidelines." Bill made a
face as he said "That is what's so boring about it." Cap ignored him as he
continued on. As they left the room, he felt the comfort of his room leave him.
He was now heading into uncharted territory. It was always dark down here and
while he often wondered what was down there, he never had a need to find out.
That is until today. So they made the descent into the darkness.
As the two of them slowly walked along a piece of metal, heading downward, they
heard scurrying noises. They heard something moving one way and then another.
Cap stopped for a second as he feared his machine was invaded by rats or some
kind of bug and they were going to chew through the wires and wreck his machine.
But Bill was not stopping and kept his descent down. Cap could not be shown up
by some roadkill and knew he had to keep moving. Further and further they moved
down. After a few minutes, they started to see eyes in the darkness. At first it
was one set of eyes. These eyes glowed yellow and look menacing. Bill was taken
back by this but he kept moving down. As he went lower, the number of eyes grew.
Soon there were dozens of pairs of eyes. Some glowed yellow and others glowed
green. A few glowed red and were larger than the other ones. This really scared
Cap as he felt they were walking into a trap. They were greatly outnumbered and
he was worried what would happen to them once they decided to attack.
Instinctively, he pulled out his gun and aimed it towards the eyes. The minute
he did this, the eyes would close and disappear into the darkness. A loud
hissing sound began to fill the air as the eyes started moving around. Bill
looks at Cap and says "I don't like the look of this." Cap starts taking small
steps backwards. He keeps moving slowly until he feels something behind him. It
is like a wall or something because he cannot move past it. As he turns around,
he sees a very large alien looking at him. "Hello Captain Moon Man, glad you
finally came to visit us." the alien says in a very deep and very menacing
voice. He slowly turns around and look up and down at the creature. He is trying
to remember him from the game. At first it does not come to him, but then as he
looks closer, he sees it is the creature that is flying the mother ship on the
final stage of the game. You only see his head in the game, so that is why he
did not recognize him at first. "H-h-how are y-y-you?" he asks with fear in his
voice. "We are fine." the creature says. With that, hundreds of aliens start to
surround them. As Cap looks out, he recognizes all of them. From the fliers on
the early levels, to the tractor beam guys, he remembers seeing and shooting all
of them. Bill smiles and says "Hello! I am Roadkill Bill." The alien looks at
him and says "We remember you. You switched places with the Captain once." Bill
smiles and looks down and says "Sorry about that. I really didn't mean to hurt
anyone." All of sudden, they all start laughing. The big one says "Hurt? We
can't be hurt." This makes the aliens break out laughing again, only this time
they are even louder. Cap starts walking backwards even faster. He is afraid to
turn around for fear that they will attack him. As he moves back, they move
closer to him. They all start chanting "Hurt. Hurt. Hurt." He keeps trying to
get away but as he speeds up his escape, he ends up falling and landing on his
back. Before he can get up, he is surrounded by aliens who are all looking down
at him and chanting "Hurt. Hurt. Hurt." He moves his hand to cover his face and
closes his eyes. He screams out "I'm sorry, please don't hurt me." As he waits
to be killed by the aliens, something different happens. Instead of attacking
him, they all break out laughing. They are all rolling around laughing their
heads off. As he slowly gets up, he notices that Bill is also laughing. "You set
this up, didn't you." he says at Bill who can't quit laughing. Bill is trying to
stop laughing enough to answer him, but he cannot stop. This infuriates Cap even
more. He then pulls out his gun and aims it at Bill. This scares Bill enough to
quit laughing. Cap shoots a shot right next to Bill. This really startles him
and it makes him jump and run. As he runs out of the machine, Cap is chasing
after him. "When I get my hands on you, I will wring your neck." he screams out
as he chases Bill. Bill just keeps laughing as he runs out of the machine
and tries to get to safety. He knows in time, Cap will calm down and
realize it was really funny.