DEFEAT. 009 – Light Gun Eastwood
[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction. Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]
At just about the same time that the battered son of Lieutenant Larry Buckley was regaining consciousness and Daryl Millar was returning home with the most important gift of his entire short life, 8-Bit was shooting ducks out of the sky.
In his darkened basement.
With a plastic gun.
That was hooked up to his Nintendo Entertainment System.
The game was Duck Hunt and without it 8-Bit would have had absolutely no idea what it means to exert control over another living being. The simulation allowed him to feel a sense of power, twirling the Light Gun on his finger like Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars and blasting pixilated ducks out of the televised sky. Being shrugged off by almost everyone in his life, 8-Bit relied on Nintendo’s processing power to help convince him that there were instances in which he was empowered.
He was the big-bad-man with the motherfucking gun.
Granted, there might have been something distressing about the image of a teenage boy with glasses thick enough to be mistaken for nuclear-laboratory goggles swearing to himself in the triumph of pretending to kill waterfowl. “Blammo – no more Daffy! Blammo – no more Donald! You fucking bitches, feel the sweet embrace of death!”
Sure, it was escapism in its most utterly unmistakable form. But up to that point (and for the four following days) it would be his only semblance of possibility, of putting forth an effort because it won’t necessarily end in embarrassment.
The lights flickered off and on. From the top of the stairs and a concerned parent shouted. “Honey, I think it’s time you come upstairs. You’ve been down there since you came home.”
Begrudgingly, “Okay, okay, just let me finish…AWH SHIT!”
Even more concerned, “What’s wrong?! Are you all right?”
“Yeah, it’s just the dog.”
“The dog that laughs at me whenever I miss the duck.”
“In the game. If you miss a duck, the duck-hunting dog laughs at you. He’s a real fuckface.”
Shocked by 8-Bit’s nickname for Duck Hunt’s antagonizing mutt, the parent knee-jerked, “And where did you learn that phrase?”
Annoyed with the questioning and simply wanting to continue on in peace, 8-Bit made no attempt at deception. “Uh, I think Daryl. Or Riff. One of `em, anyways.”
The parent started to lambast the teen for hanging around individuals who use words like fuckface with such nonchalance. But this urge was resisted, and rightfully so; while they weren’t picture-perfect high school students, it was remembered that they seemed genuinely well-intentioned. Especially that Daryl Millar.
And considering how happy 8-Bit had been since making these friends, the learning of a few dirty words seemed most forgivable.
“All right, just finish up soon. And try not to let that fuckface laugh at you too much.”