The Dial-Up Demon – Chapter 7: Sometimes I Reflect a Little

Kimi no Wakaranai Densetsu. It’s a game I’ve put over seven hours into, according to the in-game clock when I save my progress. But much like you would expect from someone playing a story-based action-RPG in a language they don’t understand, I feel like I’ve played more like, twenty minutes of actual gameplay that I could be engaged with at all.

It’s crazy just how hard I’ve tried to keep up with the game. For all its graphical and sound quality mastery, what with its magical Ultra FX chip and all, the game is just too hard to appreciate with all the barriers in the way.

At this point in the game, and I know I’ve progressed solely because I know that the game is strikingly linear in progression, my player character, this immortal samurai girl, is now protecting her nieces and nephews who are adults involved in a power squabble in the early Meiji Period. If I knew anything about Japanese history this might be neat, but I don’t.

I just fight off the baddies and move on to the next area, hoping this will be the moment when I unlock the secret hidden English translation option.

And the worst part about it all is that I keep playing the damn game anyway. I could have stopped ages ago, but I think… Something about the pixelated anime girl makes me…

Okay, it’s quite obvious to you, and even to me in my clouded state, that I’m only playing this game out of a strange sense of loyalty to Karina, like I’m forging ahead with a game about a cute anime girl because I need to honor the memory of my cute anime girl.

I really miss Karina Kodama.

Now that the game’s saved, I get up from the couch, stumble over a pile of dirty underwear I forgot to put in the hamper, and go over to the computer. Said computer currently sits on a banana crate and I have to plop down criss-cross-applesauce on the floor to use it. So it makes me feel really stupid, but I can still work with this.

I check my emails. One new message!

It’s… a newsletter about all the weekly notifications from a fan fiction I wrote in 2004. I was in high school and I was going through a lot, so it is not my fault at all. I just wish people wouldn’t keep reading it all the time.

Nothing new from Karina, it seems like.

I pull up our conversation history and pore over it for a bit:


Thanks for the last email. It’s good to hear Lamar is doing well. Sorry I didn’t see it until now. I was out in the country last week with my Grandma. We were exploring a cave. Have you ever been in a cave before??? It’s so cool! 😀

I’ll try to send some pictures when I have a better connection. I’m typing this right now in an internet cafe so it’s really slow… LOL!

Send me more emails! I feel like I’m being a bad friend because you’re the only one I talk to -_-’ so you have to send me emails for everybody else too lol

IDK when you’ll get this but I hope you have a good morning. Or night?

(P.S. did you know internet cafes are basically cheap hotels in Japan? It’s so weird! And not very comfortable…)


Hey Im glad you sent that email. It means a lot to me. I bet your having a great time wherever you are, it makes me happy.

A couple days ago I hung out with Amy. You know the annoying girl. She and me played a Japanese super nintendo game that we cant understand at all but its really rare so we tried anyway. Maybe that doesnt make sense. Chuck gave it to me as a reward for something dumb. If you were here wed understand it so it makes me miss you a lot……..

But besides that Im doing super well nothing bad and everything is normal. Dont worry about me. No badguys or nothing.

Take care until next time.


Awww… You hung out with Amy. That’s sweet. :3 I hope she’s grown up a lot since last time I saw her lol. She was kinda mean to me before but I think that was just a teenager thing. >_>

Hey, can you do me a favor? I want to video chat with you. Since you have a computer and all now, and I think your wireless modem is fast enough to do it. Is Thursday night at 9 PM good with you? I’ll be in the city then so I can make it work. Your Thursday, not mine. Please let me know, or tell me another time that works. I’d like to talk with you about some stuff.

I hope you’re getting better at that video game! 🙂


yeah thursday works with me.

…And then she didn’t respond again since then. And no, she wasn’t online at the time she asked for. I guess something came up… But it’s been more than a week. Not like I’m worrying or anything, since I’m sure if there was anything serious she’d have family to help her out. But I do wish she would tell me what had happened.

I’d send another message, but… I don’t want to be pushy. Karina is the one who told me I was a little clingy. If there is anything I don’t want to be, it’s clingy. So I’ll let her keep relaxing and enjoying her time with her family while she can.

Instead of devoting any more time to something that I shouldn’t, I move to the next phase of my evening—my walkman and the Dial-Up Demon’s latest radio broadcast.

“I’ve got a great big heist planned for tomorrow!” the radio voice shouts. “I dare you to stop me, cops! You’ll never see me coming. I own this town and you just don’t know it yet. And to celebrate my ultimate domination over everyone, I’m going to play Common People by William Shatner!” He cackles and then a truly bizarre song begins to play.

A big heist for tomorrow, huh…

Dang it, I have that stupid business meeting thing with Mr. Larkins tomorrow. I guess I can’t go on any hasty adventures.

Or can I…?

(Probably not.)

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