A big thanks to Alice for providing the line “They were as shiny and cold as dimes.” You should definitely check out her blog where she writes a piece of fiction based on a photo you send her. Don’t forget to leave a sentence in the comment section of this post so I can get started on next week’s flash fiction (read this post first if you’re confused). Without further ado:
I shrug her off. “Please! I’m not into video games.”
Later that night I download the app. I take her words as a challenge instead of a threat. I am a grown up. I have will power. I am above candy crush… but I have to see what all the fuss is about.
I move the brightly colored shapes across the screen, watching them drop and disappear, rolling my eyes at how simple it all is. How could anyone get addicted?
Each level gets harder. I lose level 9 but win at my second try. I bring the phone closer to my face. At level 17 my shoulders tense up as I calculate the best place to move that stupid green square. Damn it I lose. I try again and lose again. I keep trying until a pink screen appears telling me I need to wait 24 minutes before I get a new life. What?!? Don’t they want me playing their stupid game? I want to throw my phone against the wall, but instead I turn it off and get ready for bed, thinking I’ll never play that game again.
The next day on the subway I can’t get a seat so I hold onto a bar and scan the books and screens of the lucky commuters who got a seat. I recognize the colorful screen of Candy Crush right below me and my eyes widen. It is like running into an old friend. I watch the person playing and want to interrupt her when she misses an opportunity for a special striped candy. My jaw tightens. What was she thinking?
I take my phone out and make another attempt at level 17. A full night of sleep, and some added perspective helps me win the game. I nearly miss my subway stop, still reveling in my Candy Crush glory.
At work, I bring my phone to the bathroom and swipe those candies while I pee. Again I lose too many times and I’m forced to wait 20 goddamn minutes. My coworkers ask if I’m ok when I return to the bathroom 20 minutes later. “Too much coffee,” I say with a shrug.
By the time I’m riding the train home I have five whole lives saved up and I’m eager to use them all to get past level 3-f’in-0, but alas I can’t beat it even with five attempts. I walk home with my head down.
I cook dinner, and as I stir the marinara I envision yellow candy drops and blue balls dancing around in the sauce. I check my phone but there’s still 46 seconds left to another life. I know I can always go on Facebook to ask for lives but am I really ready to do that? Announce to all of my friends that I have an addiction?
Dinner’s ready, but I squeeze in a game before I announce that fact to my boyfriend. I tell him about my day, excluding Candy Crush, and I listen to his day. My leg shakes under the table. When it seems like a half hour has gone by I ask by boyfriend to clean the dishes while I run to the bathroom and try to crush as many of those little candies as possible. I lose, but force myself out of the bathroom to watch some t.v.
At bedtime I pick up my phone and smile when I see four lives waiting for me to destroy. I finally beat level 30 and move through the next four levels with ease. But what is this? There’s a new feature. I have to win three quests before moving on to the next level. I play the one quest but it won’t let me play the next one for twenty-four hours. I exhale the breath I didn’t know I was holding . They can’t be serious.
My hands are trembling and my jaw slack. I turn my phone off. The reflective screen of my phone shows me a woman with flared nostrils and unfamiliar eyes. They are as shiny and cold as dimes. Who have I become? My friend was right. I shouldn’t have played Candy Crush.