The Mission for Murphey: After All This I Sure Do Hope I Marry This Woman

Submitted into Contest #173 in response to: Coming up with a gift idea was the easy part — getting your hands on it is another thing entirely.... view prompt

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Adventure Lesbian Romance

     My clothes were stained with mustard and pickle juice. My hair was disheveled. My chest was heaving in a desperate attempt to suck in more air. My knees and an elbow were scraped. A shard of glass was embedded in my forehead! And my bike? Completely totaled. “I….” I sh-“ I wheezed. “I should have… ordered… the damn thing online!”

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         For as long as I’ve known my current girlfriend Murphey, she’s been completely obsessed with video games. She plays action-adventure and the roleplaying ones, some sports simulators, farming games, and anime video games. I’m sure if she didn’t have me to pull her off her screen, she’d only eat during her job’s lunch break! Well, at least having her sitting still in one place makes it easier to cuddle at any time. I love her. Our anniversary is coming up soon. We’ll have been together for 5 whole years, and I know the perfect gift!

         Murphey’s favorite game is “That time I got reincarnated as a shamrock-colored piece of hat food in the year 18936”. It’s sort of an isekai roleplaying thing with a weird sounding premise, you know, like all isekais. Since it was released somewhere around 8 years ago, it became famous worldwide. It’s a household name like Doom, Zelda, Call of Duty, or Mario. Murphey absolutely loves it. She spends around 4 hours a day on it! For reference, the time of day she has to play is around 5½ hours. Honestly, it’s worse than my One Piece obsession. At least I limit it to 3 hours a day… although I’ve re-watched the series several times. I guess we’re both hopeless, but I think that means we’re perfect for each other.

         Anyways, I tell you this because the game has a new sequel, and Murphey wants nothing more than to get her hands on it. I thought it was bad when it was first announced, but these past 2 months it’s gotten worse. Day and night, she’s been ranting and raving and squealing! Unfortunately, the creator is only releasing the game in his home city! It’s apparently for boosting the economy and to spread awareness after a part of the city burnt to the ground because of a horrible fire. It was released just 4 days ago. The city is 6 hours away, and Murphey can’t miss work so she can’t buy it herself. She’s been so miserable. I would miss work to buy it for her because I still have some sick days left, but we only have one car that she needs to drive to work.

         Of course, people are already rushing there to buy in bulk and reselling them on EBAY overpriced to rabid fans who live in other countries and can’t afford to fly out to the U.S. I would buy them online, but the thing is these people are shameless thieves! They’re expensive with a capitol everything! $140 in person, already outrageous, and $1300 online! If I order that, even with the monthly payment plan option I won’t be able to afford my half of the month’s rent, and Murphey is under enough pressure with work as it is.

        But I can’t just quit and buy her some generic bracelet or candle. I won’t fail her. I’m going to prove I God-darned EARNED that best girlfriend in the world mug! I’m going to go there on my BIKE to get one for her before they’re sold out!

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         After checking with google maps, going by bike would take me a few days. Luckily, it just occurred to me I could take a train part of the way, bringing my bike on the train. So, in the early hours of the morning, I crawled out of my girlfriend’s arms and made my way from our apartment to the Mallem-Tellinsnette train station, leaving a note for her to find when she woke.

         “Name and destination, please.” The ticket seller drawled. “Eloise Daa’vis, with 2 A’s and an apostrophe between the last A and the V. I’ll be going upstate, to Wingkanrockton.” “That’ll be train 3, on platform 5. Not many people going to Wingkanrockton these days, I’ll tell you that!” “Unfortunately, I won’t have the time to sightsee. When I get there I’ll be biking up to Setins, I can’t afford the train there.” “The train to Setins is all sold out, anyways. People have been buying tickets weeks in advance! I’m guessing you don’t want a private room?” “Oh no, not for me. I’ll be paying in debit by the way.” I told him. “That’ll be $43.99. Have a nice trip, Eloise!” He said in a friendly manner as he printed and gave me the ticket.

Weeks in advance? How intimidating!

          The train ride was relatively easy-going at first. The bike drew a couple of looks but it wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, the bike, ticket destination, and being a young blonde white girl caught an old man’s attention. He took it as an invitation to talk about how “kids these days are doing everything wrong” and are “always on those darn phones” and how I’m “such a good girl for going outside and waking up early to travel our blessed country!”. Then that lead to complaining about immigrants, which led to being angry about several assorted minorities. It was awful! Good news is that he didn’t get too far with those last 2. I cut him off with the immigrants by telling him my mom came from Canada. Predictably, he said that was different. When he started on that second part I told him I was a lesbian, and that got him super riled up so we spent the rest of the train ride loudly arguing. In hindsight, I should have shut him down earlier when he first started running his mouth, but he seemed irritating but harmless. It really caught me off guard, that switch from average closed-minded peepaw to repulsive bigot over the span of a single conversation.

         I should have gotten that private room. Maybe I should dye my hair or get a visible tattoo/septum piercing to ward away these types of men, like a pink poison dart frog repels predators with vibrant colors. Knowing them though, they would walk up to me just to criticize me. You really can’t win with these people.

         You would have thought that things would get better after that, but no. My train ride ended with the old guy smacking my breakfast sandwich out of my hand with his cane as I got off at my stop. Security came to chew him out and detained him, but my hand still stung, and I had no sandwich. As I walked out the station I heard him faking a seizure in the background.

         I biked for 11 hours. I biked for 11 long, continuous hours. I only stopped for 4 water breaks, or my bottle would have run out. I thought I was in good shape since I went on a half hour bike ride 3 times a week, but I was wrong! Man, I might have to stay the night because I won’t be able to make the return trip! Finally, I arrived at the outskirts of the city of Setins. I suppose the buildings were once lively and pleasantly colored, with all the charm of suburban America you could expect from the Midwest.

But that was nothing like the charred, ugly, concrete husks that remained.

         Some houses weren’t that bad, with only some areas caved in, slightly worn support beams, and you could tell what color the house was originally. Others were just plain foundations. I assume they used to be littered with debris and had at least a few chunks of wall left standing, but I spotted bulldozers, backhoe loaders, and articulated haulers stripping bare and clearing out the victims of the worst of the damage.

My throat went dry at the scorched landscape. I suddenly felt ashamed that I had been mentally complaining about the “burning” in my tired legs.

         I winced when I caught a glimpse of some families huddled around assorted wreckage. As I rolled by, I saw a little boy bend down to place a bouquet of white flowers on the ground. I bowed my head in respect but didn’t close my eyes or stop peddling. I feared if I stopped, I wouldn’t be able to walk away from the scene. I was on a mission, after all. I whispered a silent apology to whomever was listening that I couldn’t properly pay respects.

        Morbid recent tragedies aside, Setins was a beautiful city. It had colorful buildings, usually blues, greens, greys, and creams. The residential buildings ranged from around 8 through 15 stories tall, and shops downtown seemed to often have 2 floors with pretty clay shingles on their mansard roofs. The shops elsewhere, however, were fairly ordinary. One thing that stood out about the city, noticeable no matter if you hadn’t seen it any other way before, was that it was in a frenzy. Traffic was visible for miles around, the streets blared with the honks of horns and people darted in and out of shops, bumping elbows and shoulders against fellow pedestrians. It was clear to the naked eye there were more people here than the city was made for, and that half the people out and about didn’t live here, given that they kept glancing at their phones to check google maps.

(and if you looked even closer, you would notice a difference in mood too, with the native Setinians subdued in a general despondence)

It was all overwhelming. I felt lightheaded! I had to navigate through all of this?

         I regained my composure in a minute or three and got back on track. According to the internet there are 16 stores in the city that sell T.T.I.G.R.A.A.S.C.P.O.H.F.I.T.Y.18936.V.2., and I hear 5 of them have already sold out!

It’s finally time to hit the shops!

… But maybe after I eat. After all, half a day has gone by since the loss of my poor sandwich! And it’s around time for lunch anyways.

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         I ate the most wonderful meal I’ve ever eaten. Long, thin, golden fingers. Tender brown umami pieces of a bird descended from the T-rex. Both are dipped in a sweet dark sauce that adds to the flavor wonderfully and cools down the food. Juice extracted from apples in a little cardboard box that wasn’t really enough to quench my thirst, but I enjoyed the flavor. A colorful miniature statue made from an immortal material that wouldn’t decompose for centuries.

I absolutely destroyed that happy meal! I ate that like I was a medieval peasant that’d never tasted anything but boiled potatoes and misery my entire life! People were giving me looks!

I put the happy meal toy in my bag for Murphey. It was a Setins-only limited edition starring the game’s main characters fist-bumping, Rakakuki and Sojeyma if I remember correctly.

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         The first store I went to was called “Game-aholic”, and the line to enter stretched around the block. I tried waiting, but they let like 1 person in every 10 minutes! Peeking inside, though, the store was filled to the brim. I’m sure no one would notice me if I… snuck in. I left my bike in the back against the wall, and opened the fire exit to slip in un-noticed. I used to do the same thing at the local AMC to watch movies for free in high school. I wouldn’t get far this time. “HEY! You! That’s not allowed!” apparently, they had an employee near that door for that exact reason. Someone had probably tried it before me.

I balked and backtracked, scurrying off the way I came. One thing’s for certain, I couldn’t show my face at this store again.

Next!

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         They sold it at Walmart apparently, and you didn’t even need to make a line to enter! However, that did mean that the lines at the register were as long as a giraffe’s neck. I tied up my bike outside and strut in with a calm demeanor. It didn’t last the walk to the electronics section. I heard crashing and yelling as I came closer. I saw security rush right past me, and for good reason! People were in a brawl! It was like a scene out of a movie or a YouTube video of Black Friday. I came closer to see what the fuss was about and-oh hell no. There were 9 copies of the game left, and they were all in people’s hands. Everyone there was engaged in some sort of tussle. I saw a fat guy deck some poor teen and his copy went flying!

It went flying, landing on the ground 2 feet left of my shoe.

Obviously, I snatched the thing and let the devil take the hindmost.

         If I could just get far enough, If I could just get to that register, If I could only pay before one of them caught me, they wouldn’t be able to take it away because then it would count as theft! The fat guy chased me however, followed by around 3 other people. We went past the crafts, past the furniture, past the sporting goods and now I’m in a grocery isle. In just a tiny bit I would reach the register! Unexpectedly, my world exploded with pain. I was body-slammed into the isle, knocking over jars of pickles, and crashed into the juice and glass shards. I got no respite as the fat guy pummeled me with his huge fists. “Hand over the F.I.T.Y.#2 CD woman! Females like you wouldn’t be able to appreciate this masterpiece!” The game had a shorter acronym? Oh, and he’s an incel too apparently. I lashed out with my leg, catching him in the thigh-“This one’s for Murphey!”- and again in the mouth as he stumbled. I spat at him. How dare he? For years I’ve prayed I would run into one of these types in person after the vile shit I’ve heard them spew in my girl’s voice chat. It’s this type of rhetoric that makes people unable to enjoy things they love!

         I grabbed a bottle of spicy mustard, unscrewed the cap, and dumped it on him, aiming for the eyes. Some tears leaked from my eyes as some splattered on me and got into my cuts. The fat guy wasn’t the one I had to worry about, however. A high-heeled kick to the back of my head had me blacking out for just long enough that the mother of the teen from earlier got her son’s copy back. I got knocked back on the glass face-first, suffering more cuts.

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         I limped out the Walmart ashamed and defeated. I was in no shape for another fight, it was late, and my only hope for a copy were 4 other stores. The others had sold out some time today. I peddled furiously as I lamented the day’s events.

I didn’t notice the car that ran the red light.

I swerved just in time so that my body avoided the brunt of the impact. The twisted hunk of metal that used to be my bike wasn’t so lucky.

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         With aching lungs making it hard to speak, pictures of my bike taken, numbers and insurance exchanged, and a ride offered and accepted, it became late enough that everything was closed.

“So, you’re one of the people who rushed here for that video game, I see.”

“It’s for someone I love, an anniversary gift. I’m not really sure I understand the appeal, but it makes her happy.”

He grunted. “Admirable to put yourself through all this for love.”

“I don’t think I’m all that admirable.”

The rest of the ride was spent in silence.

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         I was dropped off at a motel. With all these people here, I really hope it isn’t overb- “The hell you mean it’s overbooked?!”- Goddammit WHY? At this point I numbed over. The guy argued with a harried receptionist for a few minutes while I made my way to a couch, the sound of the conflict feeling increasingly ever distant. I dozed off, taking advantage of the roof and soft cushioning. I was shaken awake at around 2:00 in the morning. The security kicked me out onto the street. I made my way around the nearby blocks, walking around aimlessly. I saw him in the corner of my eye. It was the guy from earlier! The man had a fuzzy beard and orange shirt. He was sleeping on a bench underneath a bus stop, with his brown luggage on the side and a soft knit jacket over his shoulders like a blanket.

And in his arms lay a very special 6x9 box.

         My mouth went wet. My pupils retracted with focus. My fingers twitched. There, in his arms, was a copy of F.I.T.Y#2. I’m not a fundamentally moral person. I sneak, snatch, fight, and lie. I gave up my stricter sense of wrong or right when I was a little girl. It was never that strong to begin with, having been mostly discarded soon after the age when children grew a conscience. Really, it’s my “dear” evangelical mother’s fault for tying morals so tightly with religion. I treat people decently enough, but I figured my love for girls was going to get me horribly tortured for all eternity anyways, so why bother with avoiding the “smaller” sins if doing them made my life easier?

And I’ve always been greedy. I’ve stolen before. Nothing too big, I’ve always feared being caught and screwing up my life, but the fact is I’ve done it.

I took it and never looked back. The man was a deep sleeper. The money I would have used to buy the game was used for an Uber back to the station.

Murphey adored her gift.

November 26, 2022 03:04

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3 comments

Kyli Patrick
17:58 Jan 03, 2023

loved the story

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Wendy Kaminski
15:28 Nov 27, 2022

It's refreshing to see a main character admit to "social flaws" that too-strict religion can lead to -- precisely the sort of nose-thumbing at conventional "wrongs" that you mention (it's been the case for me, and you write it like you may be familiar, as well). But what a happy ending, with the liberation of a well-deserved game. :) I particularly got a kick out of the poison dart frog reference and found myself laughing out loud! Great story. :)

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Delbert Griffith
15:11 Nov 27, 2022

I loved the story, despite a few minor grammatical errors. It was engaging and realistic at the same time. The moral grayness of the main character was done quite well.

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