The Northville Review
an online literary journal
U_R_A_F4GG0T – Th3 0bn0xi0u$ V3r$i0n

Jason Jordan

Th3 0th3r guy$—Mik3, J0$h, & D0ug—R N th3 living r00m 2, wh3r3 th3 killing t4k3$ pl4c3. 1t’$ night. Th3 0nly light r4di4t3$ fr0m 4 52” HDTV & D0ug’$ M4c l4pt0p. W33d[1] i$ N th3 blu3 r3cln3r, whil3 M, J, & D R 0n th3 b3ig3 thr33-p3r$0n c0uch. Th3 $urr0und $0und’$ l0ud, b3ltng 0ut y3ll$, gun$h0t$, 3xpl0$i0n$. Mik3 i$ pl4yng C0D[2] 0n hi$ P$3.[3] H3’$ 0nlin3, pl4ying p30pl3 fr0m 4ll 0v3r th3 w0rld, & hi$ $cr33n n4m3 i$ U_R_4_F4GG0T. Th3 Pl4y$t4ti0n N3tw0rk d03$n’t 4ll0w $p4c3$, $0 pl4y3r$ r3$0rt t0 und3r$c0r3$.

Wh3n Mik3 kill$ $0m30n3 N C0D, h3 $h0ut$ 0n3 0f th3 f0ll0wing phr4$3$: “Pwn3d! F4g! G3t r4p3d! 34t $hit, y4 pi3c3 0f $hit!” Th3 p30pl3 c4n’t h34r him, but h3 $4y$ th3$3 thing$ 4nyw4y. Mik3 $tick$ t0 d34th m4tch, 4 g4m3 N which th3r3 4r3 tw0 t34m$ th4t try t0 win by b3ing th3 fir$t t34m t0 r34ch 4 c3rt4in 4m0unt 0f p0int$. Pl4y3r$ 34rn p0int$ by fr4gging[4] 0th3r pl4y3r$.

D0ug, h0w3v3r, i$ $t4ring 4t hi$ l4pt0p. H3’$ 0nlin3, ch3cking hi$ F4c3b00k, 3tc. H3 $it$ 0n th3 c0uch 3v3n th0 h3 r4r3ly p4y$ 4tt3nti0n t0 th3 4cti0n 0n th3 TV $cr33n. 0cc4$i0n4lly W33d 0r Mik3 0r J0$h 0r D0ug will pull 0ut 4 c3ll ph0n3 & t3xt 0r t4lk t0 $0m30n3. M, J, & D r3nt th3 h0u$3. W33d driv3$ 0v3r fr0m hi$ p4r3nt$’ h0u$3 wh3n h3 w4nt$ t0 h4ng 0ut with th3m.

W33d d03$n’t pl4y C0D, but h3 3nj0y$ w4tchng Mik3 pl4y it. H3 think$ it’$ fun t0 $33 wh4t p30pl3 c0m3 up with f0r cl4n t4g$ & $cr33n n4m3$. Cl4n$ 4r3 4 gr0up 0f pl4y3r$ wh0 pl4y t0g3th3r 0n 4 r3gul4r b4$i$. 4 cl4n t4g i$ 3ncl0$3d within br4ck3t$ & mu$t b3 f0ur ch4r4ct3r$ 0r f3w3r. 4 li$t 0f cl4n t4g$ W33d h4$ f0und 4mu$ing: [P00N], [420], [W33D], [THC], [U$MC][5], [P00P], [DUNG], [$C4T]. Funny u$3rn4m3$? Duck_$ick, G44NNJJ44!!, 3tc.

It’$ n0w 11:30 p.m. Mik3 h4$ b33n pl4ying C0D f0r thr33 h0ur$; J0$h, D0ug, & W33d h4v3 b33n w4tching him th3 3ntir3 tim3. 4t thi$ junctur3, Mik3 $4y$, “4ny0n3 up f0r $0m3 TB?”[6]

“$ur3,” $4y$ W33d. J0$h c0ncur$, but D0ug d3clin3$. Mik3 $hut$ 0ff th3 P$3 & th3y 4ll, 3xc3pt D0ug wh0 $t4y$ 0n hi$ l4pt0p, w4lk t0 th3 g4r4g3 wh3r3 th3y h0p int0 Mik3’$ Civic—$till th3 whit3 0n3, $till th3 c4r fr0m b4ck N th3 d4y, $till n0t quit3 0n it$ l4$t l3g$ but g3tting th3r3.

N th3 c4r, 4$ Mik3 b4ck$ d0wn th3 driv3w4y & $t33r$ int0 th3 d4rkn3$$, h3 $4y$, “I’m gl4d D0ug didn’t c0m3, bc—”

“H3 n3v3r d03$,” J0$h $4y$.

“4$ I w4$ $4ying,” Mik3 $4y$, l00king, N m0ck 4ng3r du3 t0 th3 int3rrupti0n, int0 th3 r34rvi3w mirr0r 4t J0$h, wh0’$ N th3 b4ck$34t. “I’m gl4d D0ug didn’t c0m3, W33d, bc w3’v3 b33n h4ving $0m3 pr0bl3m$ with him l4t3ly.”

“Wh4t kind 0f pr0bl3m$?” 4$k$ W33d.

“D0ug h4$n’t p4id hi$ $h4r3 0f th3 r3nt N tw0 m0nth$.”

“D3$pit3 th3 $ign?”[7] W33d 4$k$.

“Ign0r3$ th3 $ign 4lt0g3th3r,” Mik3 $4y$. H3 l0w3r$ th3 r4di0’$ v0lum3 4 n0tch, turning d0wn th3 l4t3$t $ingl3 fr0m 4 gr0up 0f pr3tty b0y$. “4lw4y$ $4y$, ‘Ju$t giv3 m3 4 c0upl3 m0r3 d4y$.’ & 0f c0ur$3 w3 4r3n’t h4rd4$$3$ 4b0ut it.”

“Right,” W33d $4y$.

“$0 w3 $t4rt3d w4rning him 4 whil3 b4ck, & w3 think n0w’$ th3 tim3 t0 fin4lly d0 $0m3thing 4b0ut it, which i$ why I’m gl4d y0u’r3 h3r3 & D0ug i$n’t. Y0u w4nn4 m0v3 N with u$?”

“Y0u’r3 kicking D0ug 0ut?” W33d 4$k$. J0$h, li$t3ning 4tt3ntiv3ly N th3 b4ck$34t, r3m4in$ qui3t bc 0f t3h r4di0. H3’d h4v3 t0 $h0ut if h3 w4nt3d Mik3 & W33d t0 h34r 4nything h3 $4y$, & d3cid3$ it w0uldn’t b3 w0rth it.

“G0t t0. N0thing 3l$3 w3 c4n d0.”

“H0w’r3 y0u g0nn4 d0 it?”

“Th3 34$i3$t & m0$t 0bvi0u$ w4y.”

“Which i$?”

Th3 Civic 3nt3r$ th3 TB driv3-thru. Mik3 r0ll$ d0wn hi$ 4ut0m4tic wind0w—4 luxury N hi$ 34rly ‘90$ rid3—& t3ll$ th3 $p34k3r wh4t h3 w4nt$. W33d & J0$h r3l4y th3ir 0rd3r$. Mik3 r3p34t$ th3m t0 th3 $p34k3r. Minut3$ l4t3r th3y’r3 0n th3 w4y h0m3 with 4 $l3w 0f T3x-M3x.

“W3’r3 g0nn4 w4it until h3 g03$ t0 w0rk t0m0rr0w,” Mik3 $4y$, r3$uming th3 c0nv3r$4ti0n, “$inc3 m3 & J0$h 4r3 b0th 0ff t0m0rr0w, & w3’r3 g0nn4 put 4ll hi$ $hit N th3 driv3w4y. Cl34n 0ut hi$ r00m—th3 wh0l3 $h3b4ng—& th3n k33p th3 d00r$ d34d b0lt3d until h3 g03$ 4w4y.”

“Th4t’$ 0n3 w4y t0 d0 it,” W33d $4y$.

“Th4t’$ th3 0nly w4y t0 d0 it,” Mik3 $4y$.

“Y0u d0n’t think h3’ll r3t4li4t3?”

“I d0n’t think $0. It’$ n0t lik3 w3’r3 d0ing thi$ 0ut 0f th3 blu3. W3’v3 b33n w4rning him f0r w33k$, t3lling him w3’r3 g0nn4 t4k3 4cti0n if h3 d03$n’t p0ny up hi$ $h4r3, th3 b4$t4rd.”

“B4$t4rd i$ right,” $4y$ J0$h fr0m th3 b4ck.

Mik3 guid3$ hi$ c4r int0 th3 g4r4g3 4t h0m3. W33d jump$ 0ut 0f th3 fr0nt $34t h0lding th3 whit3 TB b4g. Th3 thr33 w4lk int0 th3 h0u$3. It’$ qui3t. D0ug i$ n0 l0ng3r 0n th3 c0uch. H3 mu$t b3 N hi$ b3dr00m. W33d l00k$ int0 th3 h4llw4y wh3n h3 p4$$3$ it t0 ch3ck f0r light $33ping 0ut fr0m und3r D0ug’$ d00rw4y, but th3r3’$ n0n3.

Th3y r3m0v3 th3ir p0rti0n$ fr0m th3 b4g & ch0w d0wn. Mik3 turn$ th3 TV 0n, $3l3cting $p3ci4l 0p$ Mi$$i0n 0n Milit4ry Ch4nn3l. &, whil3 W33d 34t$, h3 think$ 4b0ut h0w th3y $33m lik3 r00mm4t3$ 4lr34dy, th4t thi$ i$ wh4t it c0uld b3 lik3 N 4 w33k, 4 m0nth, 4 y34r. But, W33d r3m3mb3r$, h3 n3v3r g4v3 Mik3 4n 4n$w3r. 1n$t34d, h3 4n$w3r3d 4 qu3$ti0n with 4 qu3$ti0n.

Until h3’$ th0t m0r3 4b0ut it & h4$ 4 0n3-w0rd r3$p0n$3 r34dy, th4t’ll h4v3 t0 b3 g00d 3n0ugh.

[1] Th3y c4ll him W33d Wh4ck0ff. Th3y c4ll him th4t bc 0n $4turd4y 4ft3rn00n$ (b4ck N th3 d4y, wh3n th3y w3r3 N high $ch00l), M, J, & D lumb3r3d Nt0 M’$ whit3 H0nd4 Civic, dr0v3 0v3r t0 W33d’$ p4r3nt$’ h0u$3, & 4lw4y$ f0und him W33d Wh4ckNg hi$ p4r3nt$’ y4rd. W33d Wh4ck3r, th3y l34rn3d, i$ 4 br& n4m3. $0 i$ W33d 34t3r. Th3y 4l$0 l34rn3d, 0n th3 $4m3 quick vi$it t0 Wikip3di4, th4t th3 br& n4m3-fr33 t3rm i$ $tring trimm3r, 0r lin3 trimm3r, $trimm3r, gr4$$ trimm3r, 4m0ng 0th3r 4li4$3$. Th3y u$u4lly c4ll him W33d, bc it t4k3$ l3$$ tim3 t0 $4y.
[2] C4ll 0f Duty: M0d3rn W4rf4r3 2
[3] Pl4y$t4ti0n 3
[4] killing
[5] Pl4y3r$ wh0 4d0pt thi$ cl4n t4g 4r3 0ft3n t3rribl3 4t th3 g4m3.
[6] T4c0 B3ll
[7] Th3r3’$ 4 $ign, writt3n N r3d p3rm4n3nt m4rk3r, t4ck3d t0 th3 whit3 fridg3 with 4 m4gn3t th4t r34d$: “D0N’T B3 4 DICK: P4Y Y0UR $H4R3.” 34ch m0nth, wh3n 34ch t3n4nt p4y$ hi$ $h4r3, th3y c0ll3ctiv3ly g4th3r 4r0und th3 fridg3 & cr0$$ 0ff th4t t3n4nt’$ n4m3. D0ug’$ n4m3 h4$n’t b33n cr0$$3d 0ff N tw0 m0nth$.

About the author

Jason Jordan holds an MFA from Chatham University. His forthcoming books are Cloud and Other Stories (Six Gallery Press, 2010) and Powering the Devil's Circus: Redux (Six Gallery Press, 2010). His prose has appeared online and in print in over forty literary magazines, and is forthcoming in The Broken Plate, Hint Fiction: An Anthology of Stories in 25 Words or Fewer, Writers' Bloc (Rutgers), among others. Additionally, he's Editor-in-Chief of decomP, accessible at You can visit him at his blog at