Somehow, I found myself walking north along the I-80 wearing my shirt as a makeshift kilt, drinking a sort of coconut liquor out of a hollowed out pineapple through a krazy-straw and a matchbook from the Lucky Drunk Diner and casino. I have no idea how I got the any of them, perhaps it was the strange cactus I was eating. Whatever, the details don't seem to be important now. Luckily, a trucker was kind enough to overlook my heat- and/or cactus-induced dementia and give me a ride.
I opened the door and got into the cab of the 18-wheeler. Howie, as I came to know the trucker, was in his mid-40s, balding with a graying goatee that was badly in need of a trim. Not that I was one to talk, my face hadn't seen a razor in a week and a half. Mercifully, he let me sleep for a good while in the back of the cab. I woke to the sounds of Johnny Cash and the strange aroma of Howie's odd-smelling herbal cigarettes.
The smoke fogged the windows of the cab and I suddenly became very chatty. We (mostly I) talked about how I had wound up in the middle of nowhere. I described how I'd been abandoned in the desert by my friends. But it wasn't until I stopped talking that I heard his own story.
Howie told me that he once worked for a big company and had a hand in the several big projects. His wife grew tired of his obsession with his work. Much to his dismay she eventually left him for a C# programmer who would tell jokes like "Why do programmers always mix up Halloween and Christmas? Because Oct 31 equals Dec 25." When Howie's industry failed he tried his hand at writing books, then making films, and in a final act of desperation, he appeared on G4TV. Beaten and bruised by the industry he'd helped create, he resigned himself to a life transporting chicken entrails across the nation for a public school food program, a job only made bearable by the copious amounts of marijuana he smoked to cover the putrid smell.
"But I am sure there are still a lot of opportunities for someone of your qualifications," I asked.
He snorted, "It's too dangerous to get back in the industry now, what with Nintendo trying to crash the videogame industry."
"Wait, what?" I must have sounded more confused than I actually was, as his tone became more patronizing.
"Don't tell me you haven't heard about Nintendo's plans to crash the videogame market again? Next thing you're going to tell me is that you don't know that the government is regulating the quality of MMOs to ensure that Activision's baby World of Warcraft is popular enough to subdue the masses and make it easier for the government to introduce the Amero currency. Gamer's will be too busy grinding their level 99 druid hunter to care."
"So, you're saying that World of Warcraft is actually a tool for world domination?"