Embed – Chapter 4: Meeting Kobi Gibson

My apartment is turning into a real wreck.

Now, with Kobi and Lamar staying over for the time being, with more boxes than ever piled up across the living room and two of my recycling bins far past the point of being full, this place is starting to feel like a dorm room more than a one-bedroom home. I’m actually glad it’s Friday night and Karina is off doing her whatever stuff, because I don’t think I could handle four people inhabiting this space at the same time.

Though… I do miss having her around; we’ve both been so busy lately that we haven’t hung out except once since Kobi moved in. Ah, whatever. Tonight’s not a night for me and her. It’s for these two guys here, and also me.

Right now, Lamar is watching with great interest as Kobi plays through Earthbound.

I knew the kid would love this game, but not this much. In the time that I was with Lamar and R8PR in the hospital, it looks like he was playing this game nonstop. And he’s really good; he got past the early game where there’s a lot of arduous grinding and is already well on his way to defeating the evil Giygas.

“So, you like Earthbound?” I ask.

“It’s very interesting,” Kobi replies, not moving his head an inch as he continues to stare at the screen.

“You’re pretty good at this game,” Lamar says. “This is your first time playing?”

“Yeah. I started right before you showed up.” And you’re still playing… All the way to the Happy Happy Village part of the story. Gives me the creeps. Both the game, and the fact Kobi has been glued to my TV for the better part of six hours.

“Brings back memories, Earthbound,” Lamar says. “Didn’t we used to play this all the time, Morgan?”

“Not this version,” I say. “We played Earthbound Adventures, the co-op action one.”

“Oh yeah, the story’s kind of different in that one,” he remarks. And then his face freezes and he continues with, “There are now sixteen My Sanctuary locations corresponding with the number of levels in the game, though only eight contain the melodies needed to defeat Giygas. In addition, beating the final boss and starting a New Game Plus mode will unlock challenge stages that contain the eight melodies from Earthbound Zero.”

Kobi looks back briefly at me and says, “Your friend is very smart. I like him.”

“Yeah, I like him too…” I put my hand on Lamar’s shoulder and pat it a few times. He grips his head in frustration. It’s impossible to imagine what must be going through his head when the AI takes over. But whatever it is, it has to be really painful. He’s a big guy, but…

“Why can’t I stop…”

I try to change the subject as quickly as possible. “Hey, are you hungry? Let’s get some food. Let’s go to the convenience store.”

“Uh, I guess so. I’m not really hungry, but…”

“What the hell’ve you eaten today? You’re hungry. C’mon, let’s go. We gotta get back so we can start the party.”

“I’m, uh, I’m only doing a party if we can get drunk and invite some chicks over,” he says. His smile returns, in a small way. He’s trying.

“Eh, I’m not really into either of those–”

“I know what that means,” he says. His small smile turns into a mischievous smirk.

“Yeah, it just means that I think we should take it easy–”

“What’s her name?”

“No.”

“His?”

“I still only like girls.”

“Her?”

“I mean, I don’t have– I’m not dignifying this with a response.”

Lamar taps Kobi on the shoulder. “Is Morgan telling the truth?”

Kobi responds with a simple shrug.

“So, no girls,” Lamar says. “But… I think we should still have some fun.”

“And drinking is fun…”

“Been a long time since we’ve done it.”

“Well, I think we can hang out without drinking,” I say. “It is simply stereotypical for young twentysomethings to immediately associate fun with alcohol. We must eradicate what is perpetuated against us.” I pause for a moment, look at my friend’s expression. “But yeah it’s been a bit. Let’s drink.”

It really is important to keep him happy, at least for now. I don’t know about all this, but the worst thing to do right now would to be to upset Lamar while he’s already upset with some really big life events. So I guess we’re gonna get drunk.

And thus, a great plan is born.

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