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    #166
    The dilophosaurus in JP was actually very small compared to the actual Dilophosaurs. The real ones were about 15-20 ft long and were pretty tall, too. (From: Irusha S.)
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    Lan: Let the Games Begin (story version) Part 1
    By Aragorn

    This is a story about a group of friends that try to just get through their every day lives while preparing for an upcoming large Lan tournament. This story was originally written in the format of a movie script, but most people tend to enjoy reading stuff in story-format, so I'm converting it. It was co-written by both me and one of my closest friends, Leonard Pothier, and it is based off of actual events from our lives.

    ***


    LAN: LET THE GAMES BEGIN

    By: Jeff Long and Len Pothier


    Both sides of the student-packed school hall were covered with lockers, with students of varying ages at the lockers, as well as walking through the hallway.

    Somehow a very short and young Jeffrey Long, from back in the year 2001, with a bookbag on one shoulder and wearing a bright red sweater, worked his way through the crowd inside of Wainwright High School; most of the people were larger than him by a fair amount.

    As he walked by an intersection in the hall, a pudgy kid with messy blond hair, thick wire-rimmed glasses, blue jeans with the bottoms rolled up, and a bookbag that looked like it had been dragged on the ground behind a car for a few kilometers and patched up accordingly, located on his shoulders, rushed up to Jeff from an adjacent hall.

    The kid, Mark Abbott, wore a rather large goofy smile and unfortunately Jeff's smile disappeared and was replaced by a look of annoyance once he saw Mark rushing up to him.

    "Hey Jeffrey!" Mark began without realizing how annoying he is, or perhaps not caring. His voice was high pitched, pre-puberty, and nasally.

    "Hi Mark," Jeff sighed with annoyance, hoping the geek wouldn't bother him too much.

    "Where were you this morning?" Mark asked. "Len mentioned something about hurting you when you get here."

    "Why?" Jeff asked, wondering what bug crawled up Len's ass that morning – it seemed to be a different one every day.

    "I don't know," Mark replied with a shrug. "He just said it out of the blue while I was telling him all the details about this neato computer I built this weekend."

    Realization dawned on Jeff, as he could only imagine how painful that must have been to sit through. Nearby, Leonard Pothier closed his locker and rushed to join them. As soon as Len caught up, Jeff picked up on the glare he was receiving from the taller teen. Len wore a pair of glasses that were much thinner and more realistic then Mark's a plain gray T-shirt under a green camouflaged jacket, and light blue jeans.

    "So where were you earlier?" Len asked Jeff through clenched teeth.

    Mark sensed that it may be best to get while the getting was good, and didn't wish to be caught in any crossfire between the two friends. "Well, I...Umm...have to go to class," Mark lied to get away. What he failed to understand was that he never had to lie to leave them alone. "See you guys later." And with that, Mark turned around and left the two friends to walk alone. Well, as alone as they could be in a crowded hall.

    "I slept in and missed the bus, so my dad gave me a ride down on his way to work..." Jeff explained. After a pause of silence, he mentioned, "So, Mark built a new computer over the weekend?"

    "Unfortunately, yes." Len began to quickly fume up with anger again. "Because you...were not here...he cornered me and told me ALL about it..."

    "Yeah, he mentioned that you made some threat of violence or another towards me," Jeff said. Then he added on, "Like you could ever take me."

    "I've knocked you on your ass before."

    Tired of this reminder, Jeff spoke slightly louder than he meant to. "I was standing on ICE!" Several people that were near gave the two an odd look before returning to their own business.

    Curtis Coates, a rather large kid, half-ran/half-waddled up to them with his arms out as if he was going to take off flying any second. He was wearing a large puffy black jacket, despite the fact that he was inside and it was the beginning of summer. Curtis sneered as he reached them. "So Jeff, Allison get your Pizza Pop yet?"

    "No, so shut up," Jeff hissed, tired of Curtis' daily ritual of bugging him about Allison. "I told her I didn't have one today."

    As soon as the words were out of his mouth, a locker door closed right behind them and the voice of the occupier of that locker caused the group of stop and Jeff to shudder. "Jeff...Jeffrey, stop right there! I heard that!"

    "Oh shit..." Jeff whispered. He turned angrily on Curtis, doing everything he could to not punch his so-called friend out. "I'm going to kill you, Curtis."

    "Last I heard, you couldn’t even beat Len." Curtis smiled smugly and Len laughed.

    "Fuck you both," Jeff spat.

    "Jeff, hand it over." Jeff finally turned around, followed by the other two, and saw Allison Luk standing there. Allison was the same height as Jeff, thin, and currently wore a tight red tanktop with her dyed-blonde hair tied back into a ponytail.

    She held her hand out, which was followed by her and Jeff having a short staring contest. Jeff ended up giving in with a sigh and swung his backpack off so he could reach in and pull out a pizza pop. Allison snatched it form him before he could change his mind and walked off down the hall.

    ***

    Many years later, in 2006, Jeff stood in front of a microwave, taking out of a bowl from it that contained what seemed to be a mixture of Lipton Noodles and Kraft Dinner, with a few other unknown misc things thrown in as well.

    At 5'4, Jeff was quite short for a 21-year-old. Add to that, he now always dressed like a teen gangster-wannabe, complete with massively baggy pants, a ‘wife beater’ tanktop shirt, a metal silver cross hanging from his neck, an earring, and a couple different kinds of cheap vending machine rings on a couple different fingers, he was often mistaken for being much younger then he actually was.

    Not far away, Len stood at his full height of 6'3 in front of the opened fridge, wearing a black T-Shirt with the phrase ‘Dammit Jim I'm A Sysadmin not a Babysitter’ written on it. 'Dammit Jim' is printed in oh-so-spacey metallic silver, and there is also a cartoon version of the Star Trek: The Original Series Enterprise whooshing around for dramatic effect.

    Len looked in at the semi-stocked shelves with a frown; most of what was available would not be considered edible to the majority of the civilized world. Len straightened his glasses and turned to look at Jeff when Jeff started swearing and slammed his spoon down into his bowl of mixed food.

    "What is it?" Len asked.

    "This damned microwave," Jeff answered with an angry tone. "It never works."

    "Really?" Len asked with sarcasm dripping from his voice. "It couldn't be that you used water instead of milk in your little mix there?"

    "Well maybe..." Jeff trailed off, thinking about it. "But the Microwave still doesn't work properly!" he shot out after, remembering many times the blasted device has screwed him over. "It never works for me. Besides, there was no milk left, so I had to use something in place of it."

    With a defeated sigh, Jeff took his bowl across the kitchen of the large apartment, and opened up the garbage bin. He tips the bowl, about to dump the contents into the garbage, when the third roommate, 21-year-old Curtis, entered the kitchen. Curtis was now 5’8, really chubby, and had a potbelly from drinking a bit too many beers. Also, his clothes, which was the exact same clothes he wore in high school, but now filled with holes and rips, were now way too tight for his bulging chubbiness. Overall, not a great sight.

    Jeff raised his head slightly in a greeting gesture when Curtis walked in. "Sup, G?"

    Len meanwhile, resumed searching the fridge for edible food. "I've just noticed the milk situation. What happened to all our food anyway? We just went shopping a week ago."

    Curtis nervously scratched an itch on his head and chuckled. "Um, yeah, sorry about that. Had a few friends over yesterday."

    Len looked out of the fridge and shot Curtis an evil glare. They had talked to Curtis many times before about the need he seemed to have about feeding his friends a three-course meal every time they came over to smoke their pot.

    Jeff began dumping his failed mixture into the garbage when Curtis looked away from Len's death stare and saw what Jeff was doing. He was over next to him in a split second, practically breathing down Jeff’s neck as he looked directly over his shoulder. "Hey, wait a sec man. What'cha got there?"

    Jeff looked back at Curtis, who was eying the bowl of food as if it was the Holy Grail and he was the Pope. "Umm, just a mixture I did up," Jeff answered, not exactly comfortable with Curtis' close proximity to him, nor his smell of stinky sweat. "Didn’t work out as well as I thought it would."

    "Well giver’ here man, you know I love your mixtures," Curtis said as he stretched his hands out.

    "Yeah, but I don't think you'll like this one," Jeff warned. "Most of them are made on purpose. This one was not..."

    "Come on," Curtis pleaded, convinced that Jeff was hiding yet another awesome mixture of pasta food. "Stop holding out on me, man."

    Jeff looked to Len and they both shrugged. Jeff took the bowl away from the garbage and let the lid close. He handed the bowl to Curtis who began to eat it instantly, without even changing the spoon.

    "Damn man," Curtis said with his mouth full, allowing little bits of food to fall from his mouth. "I knew you were holding out on me. This is great!" Curtis turned and left with the bowl still in his hands. Len and Jeff were left just standing there, dumbfounded and amazed at the same time.

    ***

    Later on that day, Len sat on the couch, watching the movie ‘Free Enterprise’ when Curtis walked in and sat down beside him.

    "What the fuck is this, man?" Curtis asked after a few seconds of watching to figure out what movie Len was watching. "Some kind of Trekkie religious experience?" Len tried to ignore Curtis, annoyed by this interruption during what was quite possibly the best ever William Shatner Film without the words ‘Star Trek’ in the title. However, Curtis started laughing loudly, making it very hard for Len to ignore him. "Wouldn't you be more into it if you had some weird clay crap on your forehead? What race has that again?"

    Len finally turned to glare at Curtis with a look so evil it could vaporize three cubic meters of Tritanium, which as all good Trekkies know, requires a complete discharge of a Type 1 Phaser all at once.

    "Oh right, that’s all of them, isn't it?" Curtis smiled, thinking he was really clever.

    Len continued his glare until he got an idea pop into his head, and then his glare turned into a quick smile and he jumped up off the couch. "Great idea! I'll be right back."

    As Len rushed out of the living room, he almost knocked Jeff over, who had just entered after exiting his bedroom. Jeff caught himself against a wall and straightened himself back up, and walked over to the couch. He sat down where Len had been sitting a few seconds before and watches the movie for a second before realizing what it was.

    "Wicked! Free Enterprise!" Jeff exclaimed and then turned to Curtis. "I love this movie."

    "Shit man, not you too," Curtis stared at Jeff with revulsion. "I hate Trekkies."

    "What are you talking about?" Jeff asked. "I'm not a Trekkie. I don’t like Star Trek too much - I'm more of a Star Wars person, but this movie rocks so much, I mean just look at..." He instantly stopped his sentence as he stared at the TV again. "Oh man, have you guys past the school yard fight already? That part rocked."

    "Man, y'all have got to get out more," Curtis stated, still looking at Jeff. "Go to some Keggers. Pick up some chicks..." Curtis got to his feet. "Come on, we still need to pick up our passes to get into the LAN party tonight."

    Curtis waited several seconds before he realized that Jeff would not be leaving the TV any time soon. Curtis looked back at it and saw it was at a scene in the movie that was taking place inside a comic shop. On the TV, a girl walked into the store. He looked back at Jeff and could see slight drool coming from the corner of his mouth upon seeing the girl.

    "Hello? You there?" Curtis asked. Jeff was so into the movie, that he was totally oblivious to the fact that he was on a couch in his apartment, much less that Curtis was trying to talk to him.

    "Damn Trekkies," Curtis mumbled as he grabbed his large puffy black jacket and left the apartment.

    About ten minutes after Curtis left, Len returned to the living room with fake Klingon Forehead ridges, a cheesy looking goatee, and a Bat'Leth made out of tinfoil and cardboard. He sat down next to Jeff and continued watching the movie.

    A few minutes later, without taking his eyes off the screen and still thinking Curtis was next to him, Jeff said, "Hey Curtis, we should pick up..." He lets out a rather loud screech when he turned to face Curtis and instead cames face-to-face with the Klingon-Len, who turned to face Jeff and just sat there as if nothing was out of the ordinary. After calming down and catching his breath, Jeff continued, "Where the fuck is Curtis?"

    "Oh he left awhile ago. So what did I miss?" The two went back to watching the movie, not caring about the rest of the world.

    ***

    Standing behind the back counter of a small computer store, was an older Mark Abbott, who hadn't changed much at all since 2001. He worked hard on fixing a computer on the desk, that refused to cooperate with him. A chime noise sounded as Curtis entered through the front of the store and Mark looked up at him, and then back down at his machine.

    "Hey Curtis, what do you need today?" Mark asked, still in the exact same pre-puberty nasally voice from high school.

    Curtis ignored him as he glanced at the various displays, finally walking over and leaning on the counter, looking at the machine Mark was working on. "You going to the LAN party tonight?"

    "Um...I'm the one setting it up," Mark replied without looking up or shifting his work on the Machine from Hell.

    "Sweet, even better," Curtis said in a tone that Mark always felt cautious when he used. "Is there any chance I can bring in a few friends? We have stuff that'll keep those gamer bitches up for days."

    Mark looked up at Curtis with a glare and replied with an obvious dislike of Curtis and his 'friends'. "I don't think so. We will be just fine without your assistance. Now are you just here to sell drugs to my costumers, or is there something you actually need?"

    "Well actually, yeah," Curtis replied. "I got to thinking, and well, it seems my old Duron 1.8 won't be up to the challenge."

    Mark shrugged his shoulders and went back to working on the broken computer. "It should do fine. I know that Len is planning on bringing his 1.3; Besides, you sell off that Duron of yours and I do believe Len will kill you before you can put the money in the bank."

    "Yeah, he is weird that way..." Curtis trailed off before continuing. "But anyways man, do you want a sale or not?"

    "Alright, what are you looking for?" Mark once again looked up from the computer he was fixing and slid a laminated price list across the counter to him. Curtis briefly looked it over.

    "Well, I want to try out something with an Athlon, NVIDIA setup. So whatcha got?"

    Mark looked at Curtis over that comment like someone had just told the Pope that Jesus was married to a guy before he died. "You’re joking right?"

    Curtis, not realizing that Mark was an Intel fan boy, continued, "What’s wrong with Athlon and NVIDIA?"

    Mark rolled his eyes at Curtis' latest comment. "Luser."

    ***

    Jeff’s bedroom was a medium-sized room containing a tiny TV, a computer, and a desk. Instead of a bed, there was a half-sunk inflatable air mattress, and instead of dressers there were two suitcases wide open with messy piles of clothes inside both. In the corner was the closet which was slightly opened, showing off the edge of a huge pile of DVD and VHS movies that were piled along the inside back wall and in some opened boxes. Along the room walls were movie posters of mostly horror and action films but a couple comedies as well.

    Jeff wore a winter toque over his head despite the fact that he was indoors and wearing a muscle shirt, as he sat at his computer with MSN opened on one side of the screen and the DOS game ‘Alleycat’ on the other. Len walked up the hallway and stood in Jeff's doorway, looking in at Jeff. Jeff’s computer speakers played ‘Hate Me Now’ by DMX, Tupac, and Nas, which len had to shake his head at, as he loathed rap music

    "Jeff, when are you going to get a bed and dresser?" Len asked, glancing around the room. "We’ve been in this place for a year now."

    Jeff turned his head to look at Len. "Why would I waste money on that stuff for? My mattress and suitcases work fine."

    "I would hardly say your mattress works fine," Len said with disgust as he glanced at the half-sunken mattress. "It sinks to the floor every night and you have to blow-it back up again every morning."

    "Nothing a patch won’t fix once I find the hole," Jeff shrugged and turned back to the computer.

    After a moment of silence, Jeff's eyes widened and Len spoke again. "You know, I don't think that computer will handle the party."

    Jeff however, was too focused on his own problem to really pay attention to Len. "I can't believe it!" he shouted.

    Len didn't realize that Jeff was referring to something completely different, and continued on, thinking they were on the same page. "Well you really should have seen it coming; that thing is ancient. I mean you’re playing a DOS game for crying out loud. Hell, it even has problems playing the original Doom."

    "It’s impossible!"

    "Look man, it’s not that bad," Len tried to council Jeff on the problem he thought Jeff was referring to. "We'll just head into my work and get you a new one. It won't take too long, it'll just take some moolah."

    "She blocked me!" Jeff shouted. "She frickin' blocked me!"

    Len began picking up on the fact that Jeff was talking about something completely different. "Say what now?"

    "We talked all night and she blocked me!" Jeff continued.

    "Ok, I'm so not getting this..." Len trailed off.

    "Maybe it was an accident, yeah that’s it."

    "Hello? Anyone there?" Len asked, waving his hands in the air.

    "No, that can't be it," Jeff talked to himself, forgetting Len was there as he was so entangled in this new problem. "She had to put my name on her block list and click Ok."

    Len, deciding he had enough of this mystery and realizing he wasn't going to get any answers from Jeff, walked into the room and looked over Jeff's shoulder at the computer. Jeff, not realizing that Len had walked into his room, started sensing the presence of someone right behind him and turned his head, ending up face-to-face with Len and letting out another classic yelp sound.

    "Jeepers, G Dawg, stop doing that."

    Len rolled his eyes at Jeff's 'lingo'. "So who blocked you this time, and how old was she? Please tell me she was at least 17 this time."

    "This girl I met online a week ago," Jeff finally explained. "We hadn’t gotten around to talking about her age yet, but her picture looked like she wasn’t too much younger then me."

    "Uh huh, so basically she was too young then," Len said, knowing how horrible Jeff was at guessing people's ages.

    "Well it doesn’t matter now," Jeff sulked. "She blocked me, man. How can anyone do that? I mean it's me! Maybe it’s because I'm too much for her handle cause I’m such a bad boy..." At that exact second, his music changed from the rap song it was playing to ‘Bumblebee' by Aqua.

    Len looked down at Jeff with a 'WTF' look on his face, and then looked at the screen and saw that Jeff’s Personal Message on MSN had changed to the song title. "What song were you listening to before that stupid rap crap came on?"

    "'When a Man Loves a Woman' by Michael Bolton," Jeff answered. "You know, I don’t think it gets any better then when he sings that song. Why?"

    Len pointed out the MSN personal message to Jeff. "Perhaps that can solve your little mystery?"

    Jeff looked at the screen where Len was indicating. After realizing everyone on his MSN list could see the song, his head flopped down to the desk, slamming his forehead on the edge. He remained in that position for several long moments. "That fuckin’ no talent ass-clown," Jeff mumbled with a groan, suddenly changing his stance on how good of a singer he is, now that it may have cost him a really hot girl.

    "Well, at least you learned that much finally," Len said in relief. He turned to leave, and as he walked out the door, he said over his shoulder, "Come on, let’s go man. You want to get a new computer in time for the LAN party tonight, don't you?"

    After a few more seconds, Jeff raised his head and turned to face Len. "But Battlestar Galactica comes on soon..."

    "Oh frak that," Len said. "You have it all on DVD anyway." Len walked down the hall and made it to the front door. He begun putting his shoes on when Jeff followed him out into the porch.

    "Yeah, but it’s not the same as watching them on TV with millions of other viewers."

    Len turned to look at Jeff, dumbfounded. "Are you serious?"

    "That way, we can all share in the joy of the show together," Jeff said as he smiled a goofy smile.

    Len looked Jeff over, eying his muscle shirt, winter toque, and excessive fake blingage – his three different chains and necklaces, his two Wal-Mart vending machine rings, and his real earring. "You’re gay, aren’t you?" Len asked, before pulling on a Dale Earnhardt Jr. jacket.
    ***

    Jeff and Len exited their apartment building several moments later and walked across the parking lot.

    "So how are we getting there?" Jeff asked.

    Len pulled out a pair of sunglasses and slipped them on, smiling. "The 'Vette, of course."

    Sitting in the parking lot was a hot brand new red Corvette. It was a dream car come true with its shining red paint job, its sparkling crystal clean hubcaps, it's retractable top, and its hot black leather seats.

    Jeff and Len walked over to it, but then past it to a mild-condition 1986 red Chevette two-door that had seen better days but wasn't quite out of the running yet, sitting right next to it in the parking lot. They climbed in and Jeff gave Len a worried look. "And you call me gay..."

    Inside the car, the seats had a brown shag cover. "Hey, man, don't knock the 'Vette," Len defended his car as he sat in the driver's seat. Once they were both in and buckled up, Len started the car up and revved the engine, trying to come across as 'cool', but the engine really didn't go very loud.

    As they left the parking lot, Len squealed the tires loudly, to make up for the failed engine-revving.

    10/25/2008 11:20:46 AM

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