GameStop is a great place to visit. I sometimes make a game out of watching underage children convince their parents to purchase M-rated games. It's a never-ending drama: Kid wants Modern Warfare 2. Parent reads the box and decides that her child isn't ready to gun down innocent Russian commuters. Kid whines, then begs, then throws a tantrum. Parent caves, and kid shows up on Xbox Live a few hours later slinging racial epithets and questioning other players' sexuality. But the real reason I visit GameStop is to pilfer games from the trade-in section.
I don't really consider it stealing. After all, GameStop is famous for buying second-hand games cheap and marking them up to nearly the full retail price. I know robbing from corporate scammers is shaky moral ground, but, look at it this way: Countless anonymous pirates steal games with a couple clicks. At least I put some effort into my questionable moral choices.
It was while pawing through discarded copies of Borderlands and Godfather II that I ran into Gil Borgst, a kid I knew from high school. He was very happy to find me there, because he needed my help finding a game suitable for his 11-year-old daughter.
Truth be told, I don't particularly like Gil. He was the school narc - he tipped off the teachers to the cigarette stash in my locker and whenever I skipped shop class he'd remind Mr. Wright that I wasn't there. If we were in prison together, I would have shanked him in the shower with a sharpened toothbrush.
Time would have eased my hatred if he had not interrupted my afterschool make-out session with Molly Hefner by calling the school nurse to our location behind the bleachers in the gym. Thanks to Gil, a moment that should have been a glorious coming-of-age ceremony turned into an hour-long lecture on STDs. I don't think I ever forgave Gil for f**king up my one shot with Molly.
He was in my world now. Gil had no idea what he was doing. He was in a store surrounded by boxes covered in space marines, cryptic symbols and androgynous anime characters. I wasn't surprised that he felt overwhelmed. I imagine it was much the same way I felt that time I stumbled drunkenly into the Oprah Store in Chicago at closing time - except no one was going to pepper-spray him for trying on the Chenille toe socks.
I told Gil the game Dante's Inferno would appeal to his child. He was dubious at first, but I assured him that it would be a good chance to introduce his daughter to classic literature. Had Gil actually bothered to read the box, he might have noticed the ESRB rating of "M for Mature" and foiled my plans for revenge, but luckily he didn't. Even better, Gil's purchase offered enough of a distraction for me to stuff MadWorld into the pocket of my lucky shoplifting cargo pants.