IF Comp ’13 – PaperBlurt’s Dad vs. Unicorn!

October 12, 2013

A day like many others. Dad at the BBQ – his son walking in an empty house.

Remembering what’s happened.
Disappointment fills the void between the two.

And then, a UNICORN attacks!

I can get behind this except for the oddly aggro unicorn.  Unicorns don’t just attack out of nowhere.  Unicorns are nice.  And magical and shit.  (This message was brought to you by Being A Girl in the Eighties So Yeah I Hella Know Stuff About Unicorns and Can Also Rollerskate Pretty Good.)

[spoilers begin here]

But dad also likes TV – watching everything that’s on.
At the same time as he sometime
takes a dump.

Are you the last human in the world?

Ha ha right I forgot what Twine games are like for a second.  Adjusting mentality.  Enhance.  Enhance.  Little to the… no, that’s good, I think we’ve got it.  Carry on!

Oh, man, you are a fat kid with a feeder dad who shames you.  I am happy that my feeder mom only ever tells me when I’m looking too skinny.  (I went home in August, we got custard at the airport and proceeded to stop at Cabela’s, where it turned out they sold fudge.  “We’re going to have to walk right past the fudge,” Mom said, “we might as well get some,” then when we wound up mysteriously not walking right past the fudge she asked someone where it was.  Then bought seven pounds of it.  So yeah I don’t know if you’ve noticed my Food Thing but there are Reasons.)

Dad interrupts before you exhale.

“Because you know it’s expensive
with all my bowling and travels
and maybe MOM can afford expensive
gifts right now, but I feel I
just want to focus on me and do
stuff that’s fun”

You are not fun anymore.

Wow.  Dad is a dick.

oh God “white blood from meat oblongs” makes me not want to have sex again ever

Oh good, I’ve unlocked the unicorn!  Let’s see what Dad’s got to say for himself first though.

Grilling meat is the most important task a man can take on.

I am not yet convinced that you are not a dick, Dad.

That’s a lot of money that could be spent on bowling.
Love is actually a formula.

Nope, nope, keep going…

Fuck yeah I’m a fucking awesome unicorn!

…I am genuinely uncomfortable with the portrayal of unicorns as asshole bullies in this game.  And being complicit in that.  I just… I just called a moose fat.  I have never called a moose fat in my life.

Huh.  Welp, that was an effective portrait of a childhood gone to shit.  I didn’t quite feel the dad as a three-dimensional character, though, maybe because the kid remembers specific pain moments while the dad just expresses general regrets about the failure of his man-child, and we never really see where gender roles have hurt him.  It’s almost like we’re not seeing through his eyes, we’re seeing what the kid thinks things must look like through his eyes, the reasons he must have for being such an asshole.  And maybe that’s deliberate.

Also I have no idea what the author was going for with the whole unicorn thing.  I made the kid and the dad save each other, though, and that made me feel a little better about the whole shitty situation.  Then as the unicorn I chose to kill the dad because man was he a jerk.

(I could never ice skate worth a damn either.  It’s going to be okay, kid.)


  1. So I hope this is not triggering any triggery things for you when I say this but a mom who asks where the fudge is at Cabela’s sounds pretty cool. Though I don’t know what Cabela’s is. If Cabela’s only sells fudge in Torture and Pain flavors that would be bad I guess. Anyway, food is tasty and it’s good to like it. (I realize that as a non-woman I have to deal with a lot less messed-up stuff regarding that last sentiment.)

    Anyway what I came here to say is that if you read The Horned Man by James Lasdun which is an excellent but super-super-creepy book you will learn about the rich history and mythology of Assholes Unicorns.

    • Yeah no I love fudge, right, but then we get it home to Mom’s with the three flavors of ice cream in the freezer and then it’s my birthday so she’s got to make a cake and then we buy just about everything the local goat dairy has to sell and it is just a lot, right, it is a lot of food and getting you to eat it is one of her primary methods of expressing love.

      This is an actual conversation I have had with my mom, no fooling:
      “Do you want some pie?”
      “Well, given that I have just eaten a full meal followed by dessert, no thanks, I think I’m good.”
      (she makes a sad face) “Are you sure you don’t want pie?”
      (exasperated resignation noise from me) “All right, give me the pie.”
      (she perks up) “Do you want whipped cream?”
      “Put the cream ON there, woman, if we are doing this we are DOING this.”

      I have a *fairly* healthy relationship with food all things considered, but if I lived at home I would weigh nine hundred pounds, and if I dropped down to eight hundred she would tell me I was looking thin and wistful.

      Cabela’s has pretty good fudge. Cabela’s is an outdoor outfitters chain with massive stores featuring taxidermied everything everywhere, freshwater aquariums, and something called a gun library. I am not into anything outdoors beyond “walking around in it and looking at it,” and I thought Cabela’s was pretty cool. Surprised they have fudge.

      Thank you for the book recommendation, but I’m not sure I *want* to learn about the rich history and mythology of Assholes Unicorns! I think I *like* my unicorns nice!

      • So I’ve been chewing it over, and I have to say that though I think The Horned Man is a really good book, to read you have squint through a whole lot of bullshit hackneyed parody of college sexual harassment committees. I assure you it is not actually Oleanna!

        Not that this matters, because you already don’t want to read it, but leaving a thought unexpressed hurts me so.

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