Le Jeu–Partie 1

Une histoire en français pour continuer! La partie deux arrive bientot.

To continue, a story in French! Part two coming soon.

Author: Lili

Recommended drink: Cold brew coffee

Le Jeu

18 août 2023

197.33$. Déconnexion en cours. Les fonds vous seront transférés d’ici : trois jours ouvrables. Merci de jouer avec Tyche.com.

Claire enlève ses écouteurs d’un geste brusque et saisit la bouteille de Powerade à sa droite. Quelques gouttes de liquide orange coulent sur son menton; elle les essuie du revers de la main. Des images de ses derniers combats défilent sous ses yeux. Un troll, touché par un éclair magique, s’effondre. 20$. Quelques secondes plus tard, un dragon crache des flammes digitales vers elle; ses écailles noires aux reflets multicolores ressemblent à l’essence que son père mettait dans la vieille Volvo familiale. Il tombe, des flammes grésillent autour de lui: 50$. La lumière bleutée de l’écran commence à gêner la jeune fille, et, d’un claquement de doigts, elle éteint l’ordinateur, qui émet un ronronnement rassurant. 197.33$, ce n’est pas beaucoup dans une vie. A quinze ans, c’est toute une fortune.

23 septembre 2030

2034.50$. Déconnexion en cours. Les fonds vous seront transférés d’ici : trois jours ouvrables. Merci de jouer avec Tyche.com

Le rire de son co-équipier résonne dans le casque de Claire. Elle sourit, et la peau de ses lèvres asséchées se fendille. Sa bouteille de Powerade est vide.

« On fête ça ce soir au Rabbit Bar? »

31 décembre 2037

76700.65$. Déconnexion en cours. Les fonds vous seront transférés d’ici : trois jours ouvrables. Merci de jouer avec Tyche.com.

Claire sourit à demi, penche la tête en arrière. Tapotant doucement le coté de ses lunettes, elle désactive le filtre « lumière bleue ». Le monde perd ses échos feutrés, la douleur commence à se faire ressentir, elle bat derrière ses tempes au même rythme que les images qui se succèdent à l’écran. L’écran devient noir, clignote, un message s’affiche :

Vous jouez depuis : 17 heures. Pause recommandée. Tyche.com vous rappelle qu’un temps de jeu prolongé peut nuire à votre santé.

Malgré l’avertissement, la tentation de continuer à jouer est forte. Claire se force à quitter sa chaise et à éteindre l’ordinateur pour se diriger vers les toilettes. Irritée par la lumière crue de ce début d’après-midi, elle presse une main contre la baie vitrée, qui s’obscurcit, plongeant l’appartement dans le noir. Son compagnon la taquine souvent en lui faisant remarquer qu’elle semble plus à l’aise ainsi, avançant à tâtons, que lorsque les lumières sont allumées. Pourtant, Claire refuse de se faire opérer, comme beaucoup de joueurs de son niveau. L’implant oculaire, une petite puce électronique qui permet d’éviter les maux de tête qui accompagnent les trop longues sessions sur Tyche.com et de protéger les yeux des lumières trop fortes, l’effraie un peu.

 

Christmas in Montreal–a Poem

Author: Lili

Recommended drink: Cinnamon coffee

 

 

It all started when

My pet raccoon stopped washing her hands and started

Fishing for starlight in a bathtub full of seawater

Impromptu interruption of dancers

Wearing long black gloves with

Sleeves trailing behind them like scattered bits of night

Rideau. The stage is empty and the raccoon

Runs confused

to and fro with starry freckles all over her whiskers

Gather voices dusk and dawn

Gather crickets dust and fallen Gods

Settle! The show is about to start

Sprites slump to the ground and rise again

In willowy fountains of broken moonbeans

Rires dans la salle.

Here comes the tooth fairy in a rusty old trolleybus

She wipes spit from the last tooth she plucked

On her reindeer sweater

Entracte: My little raccoon has a family now

Squeaking about in discarded gift wrappers

She’s happy—she finally found

The starlight atop the Christmas tree

 

Rideau encore. The show must go on

elsewhere; tumbling across the town

Like a child on a makeshift sled

A storyteller sits down among the audience

Hot chocolate still frothy

On his whiskers

He sits he stands he sits again

Until he’s floating above the heads of the crowd

Leaving behind a puddle of grimy pixie dust

Applaudissements. An old couple points and smiles

Hand in rosy hand

As the rocket-ceiling lifts off

December clouds stream in and melt away

Leaving a scattering of white onstage

And a crown of snowflakes on the raccoon’s head

Révérence. Time to go home—the racoon

Sneezes when a snowflake melts on her nose

She takes her starlight with her.

 

Story One: A Girl Walks into a Bra

a-girl-walks-into-a-bra

Our first story, by Lili.

Recommended beverage: Irish coffee or a strong cup of tea

The bar was dim-lighted and loud; and greasy spots on the wooden floor gleamed like buried treasure. It was the kind of place where you had to lean far over counters sticky with spilled beer to get the bartender’s attention. It was the kind of place where the customers had scuffed t-shirts and greasy hair—in the ale coloured light, everyone looked beautiful. It was the kind of place where Fanny felt at home.

Olly spotted her from behind the bar and waved her over. She gently pushed aside an elderly gentleman slurping a Guinness and a young girl with her nose deep in a tequila shot. Fanny realised the girl must have just gotten out of an exam, because her arms were covered in notes and formulas written in tiny, spidery letters. From the looks of it, this was her fourth shot; it was impossible to tell whether she was drinking to celebrate or to forget.

When she finally reached the bar, Olly had a glass of deep red wine ready for her. It was the $4.50 house wine and it tasted like muddy vinegar, but Fanny liked how fancy she felt drinking it. When Olly handed her back her change, she left $1 for his tip and, in a decidedly unladylike fashion, slipped the rest into her bra. She walked back to her friends’ table with her head and her glass held high. The coins felt cold and clammy against her breast.

When she headed to the bar for a refill, the young girl with writing on her arms stopped her.

“You’re pretty. Get shots with us”, she slurred.

Fanny thought the girl looked like another shot was the last thing she needed, but she was a sucker for compliments.

“Sure.” She said, fishing into her bra for a toonie. The girl laughed and did the same. Fanny was surprised to feel four coins instead of the two she thought she had; Olly must have given her too much change, she figured. No matter, she would pay him back when she saw him.

She paid for the shot and broke a twenty to pay for her second glass of wine, once again stuffing her change into her bra. The coins jingled, and the $10 bill scratched her skin as she walked.

Her bra was a sturdy old thing, a plain black piece of undergarment that matched just about anything. Countless drinks and other liquids had been spilled on it, but the stains blended in with the dark fabric. You really couldn’t tell it was dirty until you smelled it; it had a pungent, metallic smell, sort of like dusty whiskey in a cheap flask. After a few drinks, the bra felt strangely heavy, but Fanny put it down to the alcohol. Wine made her body feel strange sometimes, soft and cotton-like in places, and heavy as lead in others. She thought nothing of it.

Fanny suddenly noticed the tequila girl running to the bathroom, and felt a pang of guilt. She really shouldn’t have agreed to that shot. She headed to the bar again, and ordered a pitcher for her friends, as well as a glass of water. She paid for the pitcher with a few $5 bills; there was a lot more money in the bra that she thought. Damn that wine, she was having trouble counting now.

She dropped a few more coins into her bra and carried the pitcher back to the table, then headed to the bathroom with the glass of water.

Fanny pushed the door open and recoiled as the scent hit her: piss and mold and stale beer with a hint of throw-up. Only one stall was occupied, and, from the sound of it, whoever was in there was in for a killer hangover the next morning. It had to be the girl she met earlier. She knocked on the door gently.

“Hey. Everything alright in there? I’ve got some water if you want it.” Fanny offered. The girl groaned something that sounded like “yes please” and opened the door.

“What’s your name, sweetie?” Fanny asked while she drank.

“Janet.” The girl gagged on her words and turned around, clutching the toilet bowl. Fanny patted her back and held her hair as she vomited.

Still feeling a twinge of guilt, Fanny crouched to whisper words of encouragement to the poor Janet. As she bent down, coins and bills cascaded out of her bra, like a treasure chest spilling open. Some of the coins fell into the toilet bowl; most landed on Janet’s back and on the grimy bathroom floor.

Too intoxicated to care about the sheer impossibility of the situation, Fanny chuckled giddily. Despite her sorry state, Janet was laughing so hard she almost fell over into the toilet.

“Make it rain!” She managed to choke out before throwing up again.