IF Comp ’16 – Abigail Corfman’s 16 Ways To Kill A Vampire At McDonald’s!October 11, 2016
I just ate McDonald’s last weekend for the third time since I saw the movie Super Size Me twelve years ago.
This is how it happened: I was standing behind the counter in the organic grocery store where I work, surrounded by kamut berries & sprouted spelt flour & shoppers arguing about the micronutrient profile of kimchi. My boyfriend walked in, trailing the scent of cigarette smoke & corporate interests, and handed me a soft, paper-wrapped, hockey-puck-shaped object.
It turned out to be a fucking McGriddle. I love McGriddles. There’s just something about the combination of fake maple & heartlessly murdered mistreated dead animal on a pillow-soft bun that adds up to delicious, and I’m not even kidding.
So I huddled in the corner & shoved the unholy thing into my face like a rodent afraid of the winter.
That story doesn’t have a punchline. Maybe not all stories should have punchlines. Maybe our expectations of stories are forcing us into narrow channels where we’re only using five percent of our neurons & experiencing eight percent of our joy.
[spoilers begin here]
The very first word of this game is “fucking,” which I think earns it at least an 8 on the SausageMeter.
Okay, the premise of this game is that I am part of a vampire-fighting team, and my job description is “bait.” It is my night off. Therefore we can already deduce:
- Vampires are gonna show up on my night off because of course they are
- I prolly can’t fight so good, which will lead to High Stakes & Tension
- I am going to overcome this through sheer inventiveness, become a badass, & feel better about myself & my place in the world
It might sound like I’m giving this game shit for being predictable, but actually I think it’s an elegant way to set up tension by using narrative expectations without the author having to work very hard. (I am all about authors not having to work very hard.)
I’m given a choice as to what to do on my night off. My choices are mani-pedi, see a movie, or go to McDonald’s. Since the title of the game has told me there are vampires at McDonald’s, let’s try something else. Neon orange mani-pedi?
My fingers and toes are clean and clipped and look like tic tacs.
This is surprisingly topical, since Tic Tacs just released a statement saying that they did not support the kissing of beautiful women without consent. If you are confused by that sentence because you’re reading it after the insane United States presidential election of 2016, Tic Tacs were a sweet foodstuff the Before Humans used to eat for pleasure and to make their breath smell better for mating. Also I congratulate you on having rediscovered electricity.
“See a movie” is a fake choice; I’ve already seen all the non-vampire movies & my character isn’t interested in Blade. Guess it’s McDonald’s time!
“Slayed/slew/have slain” is a good joke. I’ve never gotten a mani-pedi, are they inexpensive? Because I feel like my character could have skipped the mani-pedi & used the extra money to get something from a fast-casual restaurant owned by McDonald’s instead of McDonald’s itself.
Now I’m googling “mani-pedi cost” & discovering that cheap nail salons have a tendency to flout labor laws & exploit the crap out of their workers. Maybe I should start the game over & keep my nails au naturel.
AAAAAAAAAH THE GAME IS WHISPERING “HELP” AT ME THIS IS SUPER CREEPY
The game has effectively made me care about adorable cashier girl (partly by telling me “hey cashier girl is adorable and you care about her,” but hey, I’m easy), so now we have a mission: Kill creepy vampire dude. One of sixteen ways.
I’m on board.
I’m in McDonalds.
The adorable cashier sits behind the counter.
The vampire slouches in the booth nearest her.
I’m standing next to an empty booth.
I can see double doors to the street and a single door to a gender-neutral restroom.
Set the building on fire.
Setting the building on fire seems… drastic. Therefore I should definitely do it right now.
Oh. Apparently the cashier would stop me. Time for a new plan I guess.
I like that when I tell the game I want to stop up the toilet, it says that sounds like an asshole thing to do, and asks what my ultimate plan is with that.
Such clean. Many soap. So hygiene. Wow.
Weird place for a doge reference but I’ll take it.
I’m not sure why I’ve stolen the air sanitizer in the bathroom & plugged it in in the lobby, but that is definitely a thing I have done. I have also made a bunch of crosses out of drinking straws, but I don’t yet have anything with which to string them into a necklace.
Oh man, there’s part of this game that tests you on your knowledge of Corinthians! Or your ability to google Corinthians, if you’re a godless heathen like me. Nice use of standard Twine interactions.
Hmm, well, I successfully banished the vampire from McDonald’s, but I prolly should have killed him. Let’s try this again!
Okay, I have managed to trap the vampire inside the McDonald’s. Maybe my homeless lady friend Bess will have better luck exploding him with holy words of love.
Wait. I’ve done this scripture before. I know it already.
If I want to, I can just give her the answer we did last time, and move on.
I love you. This game gets fifty million points now.
And I’ve successfully melted the vampire! I’m having fun, so I’m going to go back and try for more endings, which are helpfully enumerated a la Don’t Shit Your Pants.
I walk over and give the vampire a hug.
Maybe if I show him love he will learn to abandon his predatory ways and live in harmony with all humankind.
Ah, nope. Nope. He’s biting me.
He’s drinking my blood. All of it.
Well, this was a bad plan. Okay, it went a lot better with a necklace of drinking-straw crosses. I have successfully hugged a vampire to death. Time to go update my resume!
I enjoyed that. I’ll give it fifty million and eleven SausagePoints and let you find the other thirteen endings by yourself.