“Stop right there!” I shout, my arm raised as if the wide-spray plasma cannon I described is actually arm-mounted and under my control. My voice is harsh and robotic, similar to that emitted by a bad quality tape recorder, and as deep as my soprano will let it fall. I'm only five-foot four, and not a very threatening robot, but Ian is convinced. “Halt!” I say again, same voice. Ian reacts. Quickly, he flips into motion, trained in my 'programming' from years of experience, ducking out of the way of my imagined blasts, accompanied by a sort of “Pshew!” sound. Angrily, Ian pretends to bash my robotic torso, and then my legs, attacking my body with a force that falls just short of my actual skin. In response, I writhe and make metallic clanking sounds, collapsing after what would have been several vicious blows. The robot, a cheaper model designed for subduing the unarmed or unskilled, not the friend with plot armor, collapses.
I leap up again, run a few yards away, and assume the position of more robots getting ready to fire. “Halt!” My voice is gravely and metallic. In my mind, I can see the machines advancing in the abandoned industrial plant, weapons ready, faces blank and menacing and flat, programmed to kill. More blaster sounds, and Ian leaps out of the way, reaching for where he felled the first machine, motioning and making a sound like he tore the arm, gyro joints and wires and all, clean off. He pretends to throw it at my head, and a I “Claaaang!” an twist sideways. He rushes and smashes the robot with super powered fists, knocking it backwards. Again he lifts the arm, and, now, manages to fire the cannons with a quick assessment of the wires. The plasma spray, uncontrolled, blasts at the remaining two machines, destroying them. Panting, Ian dashes off in a sort of wide oval, ready for anything. His adventure has only just begun.
It's a roundabout form of brainstorming. Ian has been my muse, co-author, best friend and companion on many adventures since the day we met, some eleven years before, when our mothers became friends, dragging us along because there was only one year of difference in age between us. From the first day, it was a solid friendship. They took us to a playground where they talked and we played (something about warriors of fire? I don't remember) and Ian discovered my creative talent and desire to share stories and my imagination, and I discovered his incredible energy, friendliness and general fucking awesomeness. From that day forth, every time we got together, we would play “games” as we simply termed them: elaborate adventures in made up worlds I had created where I provided the fictional environment and characters, he the protagonist.
Then, around fifth grade, I discovered how much I loved to write. At first, I got my inspiration from war books, things like Fallen Angels, and I wrote about the soldiers I imagined with piercing eyes, kind souls and chivalrous attitudes, weather they where Viet Cong, American boys or, my personal favorite, simply because they where so evil and yet so real, Nazi Germans. Such clashes of villains and heroes fascinated me as a kid, especially because they where all humans. But I ran that out pretty quickly. Soldiers, unfortunately, could provide only so much inspiration for my voracious and easily-bored mind. So where could I turn to?
I turned to the “games.” Ian and I, at that point, had nearly three years of adventures on which I could build, from majestic world's of fantasy to epic spaceflight to real-world hardships to, though I would have not named it so at the time, steam-punk episodes to post-apocalyptic mayhem. It was a goldmine for stories, all right in my memory, and with a new one waiting every other weekend or so when we got together, it wasn't something that was going to loose it's greatness anytime soon.
I was right about the last one. Ian and I, though I'm in college and he's still finishing his last year of high school, still do it much the same way. I take my whooping tank of a car over to his house, pick him up, and we'll head down to the park for the afternoon, play like we're eleven until we are literally exhausted from the physical exertion of just running around in the world's we've created (and, indeed, do create a-fresh nearly every time). To an outsider, it may seem like we are simply just messing about on a sort of real-world doodle pad, but we generally act the part and stay in character (me in multiple characters) for the duration, except for pauses denoted by "...this isn't in the 'game'." More than anything else I have ever seen or tried, this is a, to be frank, magical manner in which to test the waters of your thoughts and experiment, to the limit, with the bounds of storytelling. We may look ridiculous, two young adults dashing about the woods firing off imaginary lasers and slashing invisible swords, but it helps me pursue my passion of storytelling, helps him relax and exercise and blow of steam, and most of all keeps our friendship alive.
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