Megan Giddings

Arcade Seventeen

Seven arcade tickets will get me a plate full of fresh asparagus. Seventeen equals asparagus sautéed in a pan. Twenty-seven will get it grilled. Wood smoke.

I play a game that starts with a power tripping traffic cop making an idiot speech. It costs three tokens. If I listen to his full speech, I’ll get six tickets. I get five tickets if I graze him with my car and then avoid arrest. I only get two tickets if I rev my car’s engine and run him down. My friend says the game will turn his body into red and gold fireworks as my car smashes him into the pavement.

I am so tired of games trying to teach me about life. I have known since I was five I should obey rules. I pushed over a plastic kitchenette made for children, let the fake food scatter everywhere, and screamed, “Gorilla Madness.” My teacher made me sit in a corner. She didn’t let me play until I admitted that I had not been bitten by a gorilla on the way to school and infected with its need to knock over kitchens and draw on walls in blue crayons.

I keep playing and let the lecture pour robotic out the speakers. This is me being an adult.
Seven hundred and seventy-five tickets will get me a whole asparagus field. I can walk it every spring. Pull the vegetables from the ground as the April rain beats down and eat them raw. My teeth full of green.


megancontributorphoto (2)Megan Giddings is an MFA student at Indiana University and the Executive Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. Her fiction was recently anthologized in Best of the Net 2014. She has stories forthcoming from or that have been recently published by Sou’wester, Crab Orchard Review, and Passages North.