Image: Ansellia Kulikku.

All night niggas got REKT on dockyard_breach: twenty-two kill streak, zero heals, no respawns. 2 a.m. & we rowdy on the teamchat—me, Suze, Jia, Andy L, and, of course, Missy Kim a.k.a. Miss Mess, a.k.a Kap’n Krunch, a.k.a Killa K straight deleting fools in ladder play. Our crew goes way back—talkin’ building forts in Andy’s grandma’s yard, playing Megazords & sneaking Parlys behind Delicious China Taco on Northern blvd. We sucking Redbulls; we cracking knuckles; we texting HR ’bout our personal days cuz tonight we was out for blood: Suze and Andy on DPS; Jia raining down her tasty heals; Missy on the backlines with those savage ganks and disruption spells. Meanwhile, yours truly is up on the front—sponging damage, drawing aggro, rearrangin’ muhfuckahs with a janked-up parking meter and a bicycle chain.

We playin’ mad joyous—moving clean, fast. They see us coming, tryin’ to post but we roll through, dropping niggas left and right. Missy bamfs to the rafters, detonates their sniper while the rest of us charge point—BOOM BOOOM BOOM straight RACKING niggas on the killfeed.

And it woulda been gg ez git gud scrubs.

But mid-match, our play got jacked. Missy’s cursing into his headset. I’m throwing up my shield but we all scattered. Bullets are raining down—Andy’s first. Then Missy. Then Jia. Out the corner of my eye, I see Suze scrambling, spraying wild, into the ceiling. Then something streaks my screen. My armor cracks. My HP melts.

Then I see the killfeed:

chingchong has killed jiaseed.

chingchong has killed killak.

chingchong has killed queenB.

then—

chingchong: gg u chinks :)

***

queenB was my CS name from back in the day—“queen” because obv, and “B” for Bea—which is short for Beatrice which is short for Bao-Tian, which lol don’t even bother.

First thing u gotta know is there’s a lot I ain’t proud of. Moving back to Queens, for one. I mean no offense but that ain’t exactly how I figured I’d be grinding my twenties. Like, I had DESIGNS, ya feel? Travelin’ the world, making bank, turning heads in my fly-ass whip with the Prince of Qatar on speaker lol. Instead a—what?—no job, no prospects, dragging ass up and down Main Street with Pops to bargain shop for mangoes?

tbh this place was s’posed to be in the rearview, lookin’ backwards, ya know? I been back like—what?—six months, and it don’t track like 100% real.

I ain’t know how to explain it exactly.

I mean I’m homegrown here & there’s stuff here you can’t help but love—like getting gooned out on j-pop in a KTV, or snacking legit tom yum, and fishball skewers on dat 4 a.m. creep on Roosevelt Ave.

But then there’s that other shit too.

Them low-rent fobby niggas, hunting gutter cigs outside QPL, or the grandpas boolin’ all day at Mickey-D’s with their Sing Tao spread like muhfuckin’ I Ching, or them dozo hos with their bad dye jobs thuggin’ bootleg northfaces & how everywhere yr dick-to-ass with muhfuckahs—overclocked 24/7 in they cars, in the shops, in the streets full-on HORDE mode.

I dunno, used to be I never thought twice about queens or flushing or any a that, but now, being here, it’s like there’s this bubble, and every second, all the time that bubble is getting bigger and stretching like it’s going to pop. ’Cept it never does.

Then there’s me.

*sigh*

Conquering hero. queenB come to claim her throne.

Except it ain’t really mine tho, is it?

Like for example, Dad—how dude went & got hisself remarried—& to someone like you’d see out of Martha Stewart Living. And it ain’t just her, but also that 7 lb p.o.s. maltese she brought with her. Name of Paolo. Any time I’m at the house, nigga is tearin’, tryin’ to take a piece of my ankles—all like who you? who you?

But you can’t say shit to them—Dad and Cathy. That’s her name—Cathy. They dress the lil’ fucker up in christmas sweaters & once a week they’ll drive 45 min out to Costco for dat premium kibble—and all i’m thinking is how when I was 11, when *I* wanted a dog, we couldn’t have one cuz of Dad’s allergies. Well I guess he ain’t allergic no more tho, huh?

With Cathy though—or “Kah-fee” as Dad’s gooky ass likes to say—I don’t know. I mean—whatever, it’s not like we really know each other. I think we talked on the phone, like twice. Once when they started going out, and it was awkward as hell. Second time was right before dumbshit went ahead and married her.

Oh Bea—I know this is a little strange but uh ha um I wanted to ask for your blessing—oh ha um uh…

lol.

Like it matters.

I mean, whatever, if I really think about it I ain’t really got nothin’ against Cathy. She’s like every other white lady I ever known (my old boss when I was working in Old Navy, Mrs. Madchik my English teacher, the ho at the bank with perpetual RBF, etc.) except she’s living in my house—by which I guess I mean her house—her and Paolo’s. So whatever.

She’s supposed to be a realtor or she works for a realtor or something? That’s how come she and Dad got together. The house next door was for sale & leave it to that Charlie Chan-snoopin’ motherfucker to drag his nosy ass over.

And that, as they say, was that.

She ain’t all bad though—Kah-fee. At least she don’t go in for that corn-ball shit, like asking me to call her mom or go bra shopping or shave our legs together or whatever white ladies do. Mostly our place is like a DMZ, lol—she keeps to her side, I keep ta mine.

Dead ass tho I woulda gone straight Fruit Loops if it wasn’t for the rig they got me. Musta dropped $$$ on it too: quad-core, hydro-cooled GPU with a terabyte HDD & a 32” TN panel chugging mad frames in 144 hz silk. I think maybe they was thinking I’d use it for job-hunting, or finding my own place or something. Instead, I got DEEP back into online gaming.

At first it was just me & Missy—Starcraft, CS:GO, WoW, dota. Real chill caz plays just to online hang. Then one night, Missy dm’d me saying she fiending so whatevs, we met up, got twisted on lycheetinis at some KTV off sanford. I ain’t even seen bish in maybe like two years. I figured it’d be mad awkward but I gotta admit it was kinda nice. Just 1 on 1, you know? It was like I could try to get myself even again. Like even later, with Suze and Jia and everybody else there was times I ain’t know how to talk. We’d all be out and somebody would be telling a story, talking about work, or their bf or whatever and I’d sit there like one of those lizards trying to change color.

Then peeps be like, “Yo whats wrong, B? Why you so quiet?” & what am I gonna say? How am I s’posed to even start?

That’s why I like playing, I guess. Shit’s more in yr control. Like you can predict—you know yr corners, the chokepoints, the spawns, you know yr damage spread, drop off, reload time, cooldowns. All the routes, the angles. And anything you don’t know, you can anticipate—where an enemy is going to be coming from, their comp, their positioning.

You can adjust. You can mitigate.

And when you lose, there’s a reason: maybe you were out of position; or yr team ain’t communicating; or yr aim is bad.

Out here, tho? I dunno.

Missy jokes I’m angrier than before I left. Like every night I’m out on College Point smashing up parked cars or something. She says dat Bea is short for BEAST MODE—lol. Maybe she’s onto something, I dunno. Thing is, though, I ain’t think of myself as an angry person. I’m just the only ho here who knows what’s going on.

***

We watched him on the killcam—slinking through vents, dropping out of cloak. I coulda guessed by the name it was gonna be a fuckin’ cheesecore Synobi main. Nine times outta ten, you see a nigga with an oriental-ass name like chingchong or soysauce or egg foo jung or whatever, there’s gonna be a weeb on the other side. Weebs love that cyborg ninja shit—living out those DEEP manga fantasies lol: carbon exo-armor; wrist-cannon chocked with razor-point shurikens; a backline assassin edgelord with a faggoty sword? Be still my hentai heart.

We watched the sy setup over Point, taking his time, lining his shots. It was EMBARASSIN’, all of us just sat there, no answer—getting instafragged all day.

*smh*

Wish I could say we exacted FURIOUS vengeance on that motherfucker, but we was on TILT from the DROP. Every time we put a play together, ching was two steps ahead—harassing our backlines, sneaking, popping outta corners with kunai knives zoning our chumpity asses.

I kept yelling into the mic, PAY ATTENTION FOCUS HIM FOCUS HIM.

But no matter what I said, dude kept taking us apart.

And after a while I was like, this for real? Are y’all just trolling me?

Like, for instance, last 90 seconds me and Andy was on point for a desperation cap. It was 2 v 1, us against the ching. He was comin’ at us fierce, kiting, burning mana, trying to build charge. Finally I got into close quarters & we’re battling, trading hits. Then outta nowhere I get domed by a lucky shot—which is fine cuz in the cam, there’s Andy still, full-clip, 75 HP.

I’m screaming, Shoot that faggot, he’s almost down, just one more hit.

And what that nigga do?

I was sat there watching from the replay.

I ain’t know how to put this exactly. It’s like, how you knowing somebody a long time then one day something happens? Like they say something? Or you catch them looking a certain way? Then this dull, muddy feeling sticks under your ribs.

The thing is I known Andy way longer than anybody else. His house was like three blocks from mine. Shit, we was in Mrs. Pickett’s dolphin group in swim class. We good on the nigga a lot cuz he always saying or doing something retarded; but I ain’t doubt who he was, ya feel?

But this nigga Andy—he TURNS AROUND—with like near-full hp—and runs for a health pack. LOL, what?! And of course, like that—the sy is gone, slipped off back behind his team.

So we lost—which is whatever—& of course ching was trolling on chat—oh so solly u bring great dishonah to u famry—& of course I was raging for a re-match.

But man you shoulda heard the crew—pussymoaning ’bout they were tired & gots to get to work next day.

So whatever, gg I guess.

But I kept thinking about it. How Andy turned around. And none of them could see anything wrong with that. All night I couldn’t think about nothing else.

***

You got to be tough & I ain’t talking just in-game; I mean in yr life, son. IRL. Nigga come at u, u gots ta come back—BAM-CHIKA-BLOW!—cuz guess what, there’s lotsa toxic niggas like chings out there spewin’ mad cancer & if you ain’t know how to handle, then go back to minesweeper, I guess.

I searched his name. There were 672 in the global rosters, but just a couple dozen players in the north america servers calling themselves chingchong, which tbh is less than I’d a thought. I started clicking through their profiles, peeping their match histories, their playtime, K/D ratios. All a them with 50+ hrs playing Sy, I sent out friend requests for so I could see when they were online.

All told, maybe about 80 or so friend requests went out. A long shot, I know but I had ta be out there somewhere.

I ain’t know if or when those requests would get approved so I started searching the forums, running the name against other games—shooters, mobas, mmorpgs—then facebook, and old run-down myspace pages—channeling that BONE DEEP google fu. I’m talking web cache, DNS look-ups, IP backtraces.

chingchong

ching_chong

xXchingychongXx

chingitychonger

I searched all them niggas.

What was I looking for? I dunno. Something, anything. A name, a picture. I ain’t know what I was gonna do once I found him, but something just kept me searching—pulling thread after thread. After a couple hours, when I wasn’t no closer, I did an image search for “chingchong.” I pulled a pic of this freckled, traptoothed alpaca-faced nigga. I right-clicked, set image to desktop. It multiplied across my screen.

I leaned back in my chair.

Nigga, I’ma make u my life.

***

Friday night we was calling Double Drunk/Double Happiness because of 1) Suze landing her new gig uptown as SVP or something & 2) Missy and her bf Leo closing on that apt in Kew Gardens. It was s’posed ta be real chill—pregaming at Missy’s, then mongolian bbq with Jia chauffeuring us to da club in her Mazda while we getting straight GLAZED in the back.

First thing tho was we got there & it was ass-to-elbows with tunnel club skanks —so yeah, ok, we went to the upstairs lounge, where there was tables, and you could still kinda hear each other and I weren’t tryin to get into nothing but then there’s Andy, and he’s saying something, and everyone’s looking at him, leaning over, and they laughing, so I lean over too, and I catch a couple words, not everything, but enough, and he’s talking about the game—about that match with the sy, with chingchong & I ain’t get a lot of it but I get enough—cuz he’s telling it like a story now—talking to one of Leo’s coworkers—this GQ-douchey nigga all dressed looking like he straight off the golf course & the kid’s laughing, and something about how his laugh sounds I dunno & I’m leaning over and saying, Andy, what you say? what you saying? & then that dull muddy feeling started creeping on me again and all a sudden everyone’s real quiet, like looking around at each other but no one is really looking at me.

Then I hear Andy go, “What I don’t get is how’d he know?”

“Know what?”

“That we were chinks.”

And then they’s all laughing—everybody, Leo, and Missy, and Suze, and the GQ kid & I ain’t even remember standing up, or hearing the drinks smash. I just remember the air moving around me, like I’m falling, but in reverse, coming to my feet and all a sudden there’s Andy’s face—this big moon-pied motherfucker & my hands is rocks, and its like there’s all this heat in the room and it ain’t got no place to go, like the top of the whole fuckin’ place is ’bout to pop off, and it ain’t till I said it that I knew it was true:

“What you mean, Andy, it’s cuz you play like a fucking chink.”

***

And I dunno maybe it looked a little bit like I was joking but tbh I ain’t mean it like a joke. And if they ain’t want to hear that, that ain’t on me. Somebody was gonna have to say something sometime cuz how much you want this nigga to take?

Anyhow they all musta got butthurt cuz next day Missy & Suze & them—all them hos be SCARCE. Just straight ghosted on the comms, in group chat, the phone etc.

So whatever, I killed the day on solo queue. It’d been a grip since I solo’d—not since back in the beta. It got so I forgot how good it was. I log in and noobs quaked at my thunder—rolling through with an 8’ Heavy and a K/D that can’t be fucked with.

From the drop, I always been Tank. Lots of niggas don’t like to tank—they think it’s too slow, too cerebral. But when I’m pushin’ a lane—and my rad shield’s up—there’s this calm that takes over. I’m noticing everything—the ammo drops, the health packs, all the little data pulses on the mini-map. It’s like I’m locked inside three feet of armor, and I can feel the space around me expanding, contracting—and I dial into something real small, real quiet. A reticule floating across the landscape.

It was like that. A warm, flat groove; pwning scrubs with the STEADINESS.

And I’ma be honest, it felt good.

Converting kills, capping points, pushing on objectives. This is right. Always moving, nothing on me. You can feel that snap-to, click-click, wheels grinding, that sweet touch of friction on my fingers.

By the time I look up it’s dinnertime and my wrist was throbbing like a bitch.

So I went downstairs.

Dad & Cathy was cooking—the nigga trying to slice carrots or something, and Cathy oiling up the WOK lol. But I told them I was going for Dominos & threw on a coat, my headphones. Time I got out to Main though I wasn’t hungry anymore so I dunno…I just…walked. lol—like that nigga from Kung Fu! Walk the Earth!

I went past the highway, then up to the park a little. It was getting kinda cold and there wasn’t no one around, so I circled past—moving down Kissena for a while, then double-backed to where the old Caldor was. Back in HS me and Missy used to hang out there all the time & cuz I was weak I sent her a text: yo guess where im at bish.

She didn’t say nothing back.

Then I went by the high school, where them bowne niggas were trying to scoop on the handball courts. I watched them, getting the feels, when one of them comes pitying for a smoke. He was this doughy little tryhard, sweating, out of breath w/ two shiny snail trails coming out his nose & I was thinking gawd dis shit is tired—I oughta get out a here—GTFO—give up the smokes, and all the playing, just get da fuck outta queens once and for all, cuz what’s the point really?

I took the pack and pushed it into his hands but he got all flustered and gave it back to me, palms all clammy & shit.

When it started to get dark I started heading back. It was busy on Main and all them chinese niggas were cramming into the restaurants and I’m looking in through windows at sunway and I thought what if I saw them? The crew. All of them—Missy and Suze and Andy and them, eating chow mein.

What would I do?

What would I say?

I looked at my phone again & it ain’t got nothing to tell me.

By the time I got home, Dad and Cathy were already on the couch, watching Pawn Stars or some shit under their blanket. Turned out Cathy was working some kind of vegan stir fry—and I gotta admit, it smelled pretty good. Well, they musta noticed my face cuz Cathy said there was a little left if I wanted, but bitch please, ain’t nobody trying to mess with that anorexic shit.

***

One of the chings OK’d my friend request. His icon was a pic of this sunburnt tryhard in army camo pants & a Slayer tee. Dude wasn’t online so I tagged him with an alert then clicked over to his private profile. His name was Tim S., from Ohio lol. He put his age down as 21, but you know nigga wasn’t more than 15. There was a link to his streaming page and about dozens of vids posted of match highlights.

I started up top, scrubbing through looking for some sign he was the ching I was looking for. Maybe a sighting of me or the crew. He was part of a regular 5-stack like we were—trying to break out of Gold into Eagle tier.

About six vids in I smelled something. I saw it right away: the twelve-megaton dook Paolo dropped at the foot of my bed. It was a dark, evil-looking dook too—like a pudding with the middle smashed into the carpet. Nigga must’ve gone full predator cuz by the time I noticed, bitch’d ghosted outta there!

So I’m on top of the stairs, calling for Cathy and bitch was acting like she deaf or some shit so I figure, fuck it if she ain’t know how to handle her dog, I’d just have to do it for her.

I checked his usual spots—in the bedroom, in the closet, in the bathroom. I’m pushing over laundry, tearing off sheets, just thinking what it’d be like to get my fingers into that nigga’s neck, shoving his face into his soft, warm dirt.

Then I’m downstairs & Cathy’s on the couch watching one of those slow-ass Italian romance movies or something, and Dad’s next to her in his glasses, speccing the subtitles lol.

She must a seen me come down with the FIERCENESS because she’s all like, what’s the matter?

But I’m like bitch, you had yr chance. I’m tearing up the kitchen, then the den, & that’s when I peep dat nigga looking at me from under Dad’s desk.

He sees me coming, starts showing teeth, scrunchin’ down.

I make to snatch him and bitch straight RAVAGES my arm. I pull back and crack my head against the desk. And by now, Dad and Cathy are in the room. Cathy’s shrieking, trying to get to Paolo & Dad’s on me in cantonese, what’s the matter? What’s going on?

And I told the both of them that little shit turded in my room & Cathy ain’t say nothing.

Then Dad looks at me, and I see him shut his eyes and rub the tip of his nose. And he continues on in Cantonese, so his old lady don’t know what.

Can’t you just clean it?

So then it’s like, why waste my breath?

I go upstairs, crack a window. Andy and Jia are on & playing—but whatever I ain’t wanna deal with that right then. So I do a few rounds by myself—no comms, no carries, no drama. Then after a couple matches, I see Andy and Jia go offline and it ain’t till later I realize, someone’s already cleaned up and closed the window.

***

It was a so-so night smurfing in the comp pools, recking low-hanging noobs. There was this one kid, kept dying, getting off obj, refusing to switch. Every two seconds he was on the comms with dumb-ass questions. Couldn’t of been more than 13, 14 with that voice all high-like and snot-choked. I kept yelling for him to STFU, switch heroes but scrub kept running out ahead of the team, getting himself gibbed.

Mid-match one of these alerts pops up & I think its one of the chings—except it’s not. It’s the crew—all of ’em. Missy, Andy, Jia, Suze—grouped in a 4-stack queuing for a comp match—except I guess they ain’t see me, or don’t care. I try not to but I check my phone anyway & there wasn’t no text or DM or nothing, so whatever. I try to forget about it.

Next map was farmhouse_dusk. We was on attack and that noob-ass nigga was on my team again. I signal him to follow me and we take the back-trail to the rear of the house.

We sneakin’ up, when one of the defenders spots us from the rooftops & starts laying down fire.

I throw up my shield, and he’s poking from the corners trying to build up his ult & I’m watching the bullets dissolve into the shield, the pixels melting.

Then I think, what if I drop it? Just for a sec?

My finger pops off the mouse and the shield flicks off.

Then PLINK! No more noob.

Then I head back down to our gates, wait for him to respawn. Then I do it again. Shield on. Shield off. Plink!

Shield on. Shield off. Plink!

I do it over and over til finally he figures it out.

—wtf queen u trying to throw?

So I go into the chat.

queenB: KYS

—What?

queenB: KYS

—two baddies on the left

—how do you reload?

—What’s kys?

And I typed. kys kys kys. Anything he had to say kys. And I guess the rest of the team started noticing and lol them niggas start to pile on.

—yeah KYS fag

—only pro players kys

—go ask ur mommy

—means ur a hero

—practice mode?

—ur facking retarded

We taking turns now, guiding him into enemy range, then when he’s not looking, backing out, letting his ass get fragged and, at the end, kys. Plink! KYS & nigga’s getting all flustered, he can’t even type back fast enough.

So I get on the comms and I lay him out.

queenB: means kill yrslf faggot.

Everybody’s laughing, choking into their mics, and now the enemy team is all confused cuz we ain’t even trying to play anymore, we just serving this nigga up, watching him get deleted.

His mic icon flicks on & off like he’s working out something to say.

Then—just like that—he drops from the match.

Folks are typing into the chat:

—LOL queen u savage

And I’m like:

queenB: bitch u betta believe

And I woulda loved to bask in my glory, but my alert pings and this time it’s one of the chings. I jump the match and join his server in spectator mode.

At first I wasn’t sure it was the right ching but I watched him move, keeping a distance, baiting out the slower heroes. Anytime he got a kill, he’d terrorize fools on the chat.

chingchong: RIP chinks :(

I spawned onto the map. I don’t think he recognized me, but if he did he ain’t say nothing.

We were on moonrise_bunker playing assault and I figured out where he was coming from. He always took the same path from spawn—moving through the mining tunnels, up a garbage chute into a maintenance junction that emptied out to a side alley not far from our spawn.

I peeled off & posted on the spot.

I could hear him in the walls. In the ceiling.

Soon as he got close, I got into position behind a stack of boxes.

I saw him drop and I made my move. The thing is Sys are GOD at range, but they’re hella squishy upclose.

I land a swing—CRUNCH—but I miss the combo into a stun.

He’s jumping now and I can see he weren’t expecting me. He’s looking around, trying to get his bearings. The shurikens start angling down but my shield eats them up.

and all im thinking is:

—I got u shitbag.

For a while, we just dueling, 1 v 1. My jaw’s clenched, my mouse hand is a claw. I try to draw him out but he’s dancing back and forth out of reach, poking at ranged.

It takes some time, but finally I get him to a corner.

I boost-dash forward, drop a counter, then roll into a chain lash.

It’s like I’m moving in slow motion—that nigga in my sights, my chain uncurling through the air. But then he jukes left, double-jumps behind me, melting 50 hp like nothing.

I back up, try to reset.

He got me down to half-health but ching gave up position.

He tries to complete the K with a dash-melee combo but I catch him with another swing. I can hear his exo crumple. This time I land the stun I’m about to convert for the kill.

Then next thing I know, I’m staring at my desktop.

Wtf? WTF!

I hurry up and try to sign back on, but a message pops on the launcher saying my accts been put on a 36 hr ban for abusive chat. and I dunno all of what happened next cuz all a sudden Dad’s in the doorway & the wall’s cracked from where I launched my keyboard and I look at him and that nigga’s looking back all slink-eyed, in his robe and slippies, talkin how Kah-fee’s got to work early and would I please keep it down?—and I think he thinks I ain’t see it but there was this LOOK on his face, like he’s thinking finally he’s got to do something—it’s there for a second, less even—then it’s gone, and instead he says in English, “Can you try and be quieter?”

And I’m all yeah ok but all I can think is how’d you get to be such a fucking pussy.

***

Next day is Saturday & I’m coming out my skin, trying to get into a match. I try cloning an IP, ghosting on a dummy acct. No luck, there isn’t no way ’round the ban.

Then ’round 3 o’clock Missy drops a text saying she wants to come over, and I’m like, yeah, I’m home. She comes over, and Kah-fee’s all oh Melissa its been too long you are looking lovelier than ever, how is the new apartment etc. etc. and when I heard enough, I go downstairs and we go out to the back patio.

Ever since Kah-fee, Dad don’t want me smoking in the house which is to say Kah-fee don’t like me smoking in the house.

But the second you’re out in the back, all you smell is Paolo. Not his shit, but that other smell—that wet, doggy stank. But whatever I didn’t care cuz I ain’t stupid, how u ain’t know what this is? but she out asking for a Parly, and I give it to her, and I let her say whatever she wants, and I’m all, yeah, mm-hm yeah jus’ nodding and she’s going for a hug at the end like whatever & when she gets up to go, the cig’s still on the table & it’s not like ima let that shit go to waste.

***

Wake up next day, all prickly and I try to sign on again, but the ban’s still up. Downstairs the house is empty. No Dad. No Cathy. Paolo is at the bottom of the stairs going at me, barking, trying to get my toes. In the kitchen is a note from Dad saying he and Cathy are going upstate, they’ll be home late and could I pick up some groceries and remember to walk Paolo.

I look at the clock. It’s 5:15.

So I throw on some sweats, then I strap the nigga into his harness. I thought he’d fight me a lot more but it isn’t so bad. He bites my hand a couple of times, but it isn’t enough to break the skin.

I grab his bags, leash him up, and we go out.

It’s quiet on the block. People are just getting home, and you can see where people didn’t shut their blinds into their living rooms. I walk him for a while, trying to stay off of the busier parts of town.

I decide to head to the bodega—get some redbull & some of the shit on Dad’s list. I go in and there’s this big Pakistani fucker, eyeballing me.

“No dogs.”

And I ain’t got the juice to argue so whatever. I tie Paolo up outside. I think about just knocking over his shit or pocketing a candy bar or something but it’s too much trouble. Instead I pick up some of the things on Dad’s list. Toilet paper, aspirin, dog biscuits. When I come back out, a bunch of black kids have their bikes over where I have Paolo tied up.

One of them, the leader I guess, is scooping something out a styrofoam shell & eating it.

“Hey this your dog?”

They make some space as I step up and untie him.

“Naw, that’s my lunch,” I say and keep walking.

When I look behind, they’re whispering looking in my direction. Then a couple stores down, they start laughing and all a me is just burning.

We must’ve been out for about an hour but Paolo doesn’t shit until we get back in front of the house except its all sticky and runny and mostly I’m just spreading it out on the sidewalk. I can’t get a grip on it. I try and do what I can, but maybe I’m making it worse. Then I open the front door and Paolo runs in and goes off somewhere I don’t see him.

Me, I go upstairs to see if the ban is still up. The game boots and I connect to the servers no problem. I look at my Friends List. The crew’s not up, but I see chingchong’s online and looking for a game. I decide to join his party and this time we’re matched on the same team.

I play tank, and of course, he’s queenB: KYS 

chingchong: sup queen

queenB: sup

The map is churchyard2, and we playing rush mode. Most of the map is an old cemetery. It’s pretty if you ain’t seen it. A lot of blue and green. There’s a lot of open space, not a lot of cover, lotsa places to move around. We post up by the spawn gates. Our comp is trash tho heavy on utility heroes, no healers, barely any damage. I move to the doors, ready to throw up my shield. chingchong crouches next to me.

When the match starts he types to me.

chingchong: glhf

And I answer back. GLHF.

Bill Cheng

Cheng was born and raised in Queens, New York. He received his B.A. in English from Baruch College in 2005, taking courses in their Sidney Harman Visiting Writer Program. In 2010, he completed his MFA in Creative Writing at Hunter College, studying fiction under Colum McCann, Peter Carey, and Nathan Englander. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Cheng’s debut novel, Southern Cross the Dog, was published in May 2013 by Amistad Press/Harper Collins, and was longlisted for PEN Open Book Award in 2014. He is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, 2015.

3 Comments on “Good Luck Have Fun

  1. really really good. I used to play a lot of MMOs and this piece nails how the game blurs into life and life blurs into the game. Reading it brings it all back, the good and the bad.

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