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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


In The Loop

by Harris Tobias


In The Loop

There’s that melody again. How I hate it. This life of mine would be almost bearable if it wasn’t for that damn music.  I guess any actor feels the same after doing the same role over and over. The same music and the same scene over and over and over. Please, someone drop a coin in the slot and get me out of here.


My stage name is Bunny, I play a big purple rabbit-like creature in this video game. It’s not a very popular game so I mostly have to play the introductory loop a hundred times a day. Here I go again flopping down a country road, a virtual sun shining in a cartoonishly blue sky. Tall green corn stalks whizzing by. I flop down the road with a sort of happy, goofy bounce. The music plays its sappy tune over and over until I could scream but, of course, I can’t scream. My programming won’t permit it. I’m being zippity-do-dahed to death.


After precisely 22.8 seconds the farmhouse comes in to view—The Owl’s house. The Owl is the villain in this game, my foe. It is my job to defeat The Owl and his evil minions. The Owl isn’t really a bad guy and, outside of the game, we get along quite well. We are both professionals and these are only roles we are playing. It’s all an act, show biz.


I have to battle the Owl and his hosts in order to rescue the princess Elspeth, a beautiful, pink version of myself. The Owl has her imprisoned somewhere inside the farmhouse the interior of which is an immense and confusing labyrinth. Of course you only get a glimpse of the house and it’s interior by watching the loop. I think that’s one of the problems with our game. The loop makes us look like a silly kid’s game and doesn’t show enough of the game’s darker side. But, hey, that’s just my opinion, I’m an actor and I’m just happy to have a job, any job.


As I was saying, in the loop all you get to see of the owl is a fleeting cut of his evil, glowing eyes. Then there’s a quick cut to Elspeth trapped in her cell. If you want to try and save her, it will cost you some coins.


I actually enjoy playing the game. It’s the loop that gets tiresome. The game gives me a chance to act and develop my character. The game is always different and filled with surprises.


Ah, there’s the farmhouse now. The cut to the Owl’s eyes. Elspeth in her cell and, cut. That’s it, break time. 14.2 seconds in the break room while the screen is showing the high scores and a few credits. 14.2 seconds in my world is like a couple of hours in yours. I get a chance to grab a coffee or a nap in the lounge with the rest of the cast. Elspeth is there. She’s always there since she doesn’t have very much screen time. The Owl is always there with some of his flunkies. He has an unlimited number of sub-owls. No one know exactly how many there are. They are small minded nasty brutes. I can’t seem to warm to them which is just as well as I have to slaughter them by the dozen during the game. The only thing I like about Owl’s minions is that they are easy to kill.


Elspeth reclines on the sofa sipping diet soda and eating donuts. She’s a beauty, tall and pink. She doesn’t have that much to do. Even in the game, she is mostly helpless and whimpering as the Owl tortures her for reasons that are never fully explained. All this laying around has added a few extra pixels to her waistline but she’s still quite an eyeful even in her bunny costume. It isn’t a secret that I’m in love with her and I really do try my best to rescue her during the game.


The game involves a lot of shooting of owls. The owls explode in a gratifying puff of feathers. The Owl is armed with an array of trap doors, booby traps, dead falls and mass owl ambushes. I fight like a demon until I am finally overwhelmed. They tear me to pieces and the game ends unless more coins are proffered.


Ostensibly I am under the control of the game player but, in reality, I have a lot of latitude about how I play my part. Owl does too and, while our battles aren’t personal, we try hard to keep the game interesting for ourselves and the audience. Unfortunately games do not happen all that often. And the climactic confrontation between the Owl and me are extremely rare. This has more to do with the gaming business than our performances. Bunny vrs Owl is not a popular game. From the day of our release by Snyde Games, Inc., we were never ranked higher than 87th. A slew of bad reviews didn’t help matters. The critics found our premise confusing somewhere between a wholesome kid’s game and a bloody first person shooter. Too violent for children and too juvenile for hard core gamers.


Now several years later we play to mostly empty houses although we still have a few loyal fans. Our machine sits in a dusty corner of the arcade, the loop playing over and over hoping to attract a fan while the more popular games bang and boom away. Pretty soon I expect our show will close. It's all about money in this business no box office, no show. It was a good run while it lasted. I see by the clock it’s almost show time. A quick look in the mirror, I check my make up and costume. There’s my cue. Time to flop down the road. What can I tell you, at least I’m working.
     
   




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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


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