For the one word prompt: video games (shhh it's one word), fahc, any character
It was always after a rough heist that Michael would head straight for the games and consoles in the rec room. It was mind numbing in the way he picked up the games. Silent and fuming, he would forget about the time and let the hours bleed past together in a jumble. Video games had logic, rules you could play by, outcomes you could expect. There was a beginning, a middle, and an end—except for Skyrim, holy fuck did that game take ‘open world’ to the next level.
There was always crap spouted about the potential negative effects of video games on the children—always the damn children—about how video games were exposing the children to violence too early. How they were becoming desensitized and that they would likely make children act out violently later in life.
It was all bullshit.
Video games weren’t the reason why Michael’s biological father was a drinker. Video games weren’t the reason why he dropped out of school at fifteen. Video games weren’t why he decided to join a gang and rob banks and fuck the police. The society was. His shit childhood was. The whole damn system was. Video games were just a means of escape, a means of relaxing after a rough day at work when he could just power up the Xbox and forget about everything else for a few hours.
It was easier that way. Safer, too. Controllers could be replaced if you broke them. Smashing your fist against the mirror because a crew member got hurt? Well, that was a bit harder to fix and explain.
Video games were the safer form of dealing with anger and frustration. Grief. It was easier to forget that Gavin was hurt on a job because Michael’s hearing was beginning to interfere with his work. That he couldn’t hear over the comms that Gavin needed his back checked.
It was starting to become an issue. As the main man behind the use of explosives, he was beginning to notice the effect of it all on his hearing. The constant ringing, the slight deafness to his right ear. It was getting worse, and he knew that soon he wouldn’t be able to do his job any longer.
Late in the night when most of the Fakes had gone off to bed, Jack was the only one still up. She crept in slowly, sitting down next to Michael on the couch as he worked through a standard FPS game.
“Gavin’s going to be fine,” she said. “The bullet only grazed him. Minor tissue damage. He’ll be so. And complain a lot. But he’ll be back on his feet by tomorrow.”
Michael only grunted in response. When his character was killed, he threw down his controller and sat back against the couch.
“I wish you’d tell me what’s wrong,” Jack said. She had a way of gentling the answers out of people.
“I can’t hear shit on the comms. I think … I think I need to see someone.” He flicked his ear. Jack nodded.
“We’ll figure it out.” She put her hand on his shoulder. “We always do. Now come on. Time to get some sleep.”
She stood up and walked towards the hallway leading to the bedrooms. Michael turned off the TV and stood up to follow her.