Gaming It

A short story.

The system stinks. The knobs turn the screws and pressure the plebs. Me, I’m the dirt under the feet of the plebs. A nobody with nothing going nowhere fast.

It wasn’t always this way. I was on an upward trajectory, a rising star in the world of sports and entertainment. Give me a chance, and I could do it again. A bit of surgery, some physical therapy, an agent – I can start over. I’m not that old, not that bad, not that ordinary.

It won’t happen. Youth is all, and comebacks don’t happen. Or if they do, no one sees the disastrous result. The body falls from the mountain and it never climbs again.

These days, I’m a has-been, a drip that’s been absorbed into the dirt of life, an invisible bit of something that others walk on and then wipe their feet to remove the sludge.

That unicorn I aimed to become got lamed and lost the magic. The new fairy-dust to lure potential unicorns is wafted over the young ones, the stars-in-their-eyes dreamers who believe they’ve got what it takes. And they do, but is it enough to make them the number one of the number ones in their field?

I thought I could climb that mountain. Every step I took, every plan I made, every person I met and every road I walked had that dream as part of the end-game. I took risks, pushed harder, did more to attract the eye of those who could put me at the pinnacle.

And then … well, life happens, doesn’t it?

The moment, whether it comes in the gym or on the playing field, whether it’s an accident in the house or at the pub or party … it ends the dream. A simple thing, a torn muscle, a bad social media post, the wrong word said to the person who knows people. It doesn’t matter what or how, it only matters that the one percenters of the one percenters float further into the thickening mist of a dream-state.

And it’s over. The dream is gone, the dust settles as ash on the dirt of life.

At least I can warn the young ones, can’t I?

Ah, no. It seems I was never famous enough, never good enough to be recognised on sight, and therefore, they’re not going to listen to a no-name nobody who got nowhere, calling him a wanna-been who never made it.

It seems I’ll just have to go back to digging in the dirt for my memories, bury my losses, and get on with being ordinary enough to play the game of life and lose the illusion of unreachable dreams.

Photo by Tobias Bju00f8rkli on

23 thoughts on “Gaming It

  1. I wonder what it is about us humans that we are driven to be remembered? I’m calling it the ‘Foo-waz-‘ere’ syndrome. I may poke fun at said syndrome, but I’m just as afflicted as everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is there a reason we spend our lives pondering the question: who am I?
      It’s probably the same as the drive to further our genetics by procreating, to leave something of a mark of our passing that’s more than footprints in the sand.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A treasure trove of metaphor and imagery! A sadder sack there has never been. Hopefully this is all imagination as he (feels like masculine character but can be either) like he’s the main character in a quirky full length story

    Liked by 1 person

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