Josh Quinnett’s Gamer Limit Blog
Like Bricks
By: Josh Quinnett | April 21st, 2010

The following content is an old short story from my personal blog, Said the Fox.

Like Bricks

You can tell an awful lot about a person by the way they die. Never like they aughta – not at all like you’d expect em to, anyway. See, the good ones, the just ones, the ones who don’t even deserve to be dyin – they take time. Poor bastard finds himself on the wrong end of a knife – maybe he catches a bullet or somethin – he’s gotta lay there and writhe about while the big decision gets made. The virtuous shit he’s done has gotta get weighed out against the not so – takes a long time for some. It’s real hard to watch.

Real hard to cause.

The bad folks though, they just go down. They’re so heavy with the weight of all that sin – there’s only one way for the scale to dip. Takes no time at all. They don’t fight it, neither. They’ve been carryin round this terrible burden. It makes ‘em rough, and hard. Makes ‘em like bricks.

Anyway, I guess this all got started with a fella named Warren Heeler, he owned the drug store in the town where I grew up. He was a big man, always clean shaven but a bit of a slob. He had this kinda upturned nose too… ya put all that together and you’ve got a man that looks more like a pig than any rightfully should. “Squealer”, us kids called him, both on account of his hog like nature, and his habit of callin on our folks each time he caught us pocketing somethin from his store. We didn’t think much of ‘im. We’d all had our asses whooped on more’n’one occasion thanks to that “old hog”. But really, we were scoundrels, and we deserved every bit of what he sent our way. He’d just done right by us – squealin us out. Lookin back now, I know he was a good man. I just wish I’d had the eyes to see it back then. I might not have had to carry such a burden down the road.

This one afternoon, ol’Squealer caught me tryin to walk out with a pack of Junior mints, my favorite. He had me by the arm of my shirt, shakin me about, and he was gettin on about how I was gunna learn a lesson that day – how I was gunna finally figure it out.

If only he’d known.

Well, right in the middle’a’this lecture, some bent son of a bitch comes crashin through the front door like he’s on a god damned crusade – set the door bell alive with a sound like breaking glass. Just as soon as he got up to the counter, he started shoutin somethin about how ol’Squealer needed to figure how to keep his mouth shut, and how he had a message for ‘im. Warren’s hand was still grippin at my sleeve, only now it shook from panic, ’stead of rage. Scared shitless I reckon.

In my head, I rooted the Crusader on. Here’s this guy – cool lookin guy, got this look in his eyes like he didn’t take any shit from any body – but he shows up outta nowhere to put ol’Squealer in his place.

You tell him, I thought.
You tell that old hog off.

I was a kid – I didn’t know any better. Spent too much time with my nose in the comic books. Hell, I didn’t even snap out of it till I felt Warren’s grip tighten on my sleeve, like it was a fuckin liferope. The man had drawn this wicked .45, and was usin it to show Warren where to find his own belly button.

Then he shot him. Bastard shot him right in the gut, with me standin right there, rootin him on. Jesus Christ – I was rooting him on, like he was my god damned hero. Awful.

Slowly, almost casual like, Warren slid down the wall. By the time he hit the floor his face was white, blank, and cold – a blizzard – and he was lost in it. The bullet erased all his color, wiped his emotions clear. I guess he was shocked – like his mind hadn’t absorbed it as well as his belly.

I guess I was shocked too.

Wasn’t but a moment after, I heard another shot from outside. My Crusader caught one himself, but he didn’t stick around and make a fuss of it like Warren. He just went down. Bam, thud – like bricks. They knew where he was headed, and they didn’t take no more than a moment to send him there.

Bam, thud.
Like bricks.

By this time, Warren’s mind was catchin up with everything, but I guess the jury was still out. The pain musta hit him hard then – he started squealin like he’d vowed to give the term new meaning. He put his fat bloody palms against the hole in hisself – tried to damn this river of red that was pourin out of him so. He started kickin his legs about – his shoes squeaked as they slid across red-wet lenolium.

Somethin changed in me then. I wasn’t shocked anymore, wasn’t even scared. I just stood there, blank faced, and ate those god damned junior mints. Jesus, fat bastard is breathin his last breaths, and I’m actin like I’m at a god damned picture show. Awful. Just fuckin awful.

That was it – that was the start of all this. I enjoyed a pack’a mints while I watched a good man die, but I didn’t feel nothin. Nothin but the weight of the mints as I swallowed – the first few ounces of this grand burden of sin. It was by no means the worst thing I’d do – but It was the worst I’d done, and it would stay with me forever.

Since then, I’d seen lotsa Warrens bleed, lotsa bricks fall. It’s made me into a pretty decent judge of character. Enough so, I can mostly tell just by meetin a person whether they’re a brick or a Warren.

Like this guy I work with – soon as I met him, I knew he was a brick. Cold motherfucker, built like a Sherman and twice as dangerous. Ironic bit? His name’s Danny, but they call him Danny the Brick, or sometimes, just Brick. The weird shit life throws at you sometimes, yeah?

Anyway, whoever gave him that name was right on the money. This guy wanted nothing but to bleed people; watch em squirm. Sure, I’d punched my share of tickets for people who might not have deserved it – but I didn’t revel in it like this guy. He laughed as he did it. Always cut em, too – never used a shooter. I thought to ask him once – why he always gutted em so – but to be honest, I didn’t much care to know. Besides, when you’re in the business of killin people, it’s often best not to ask questions.

So one day, orders come down to this Brick and I. Some dumb shit bet the wrong people’s money on the wrong fuckin pony. Debt’s way past due, and it falls on us two to remind him of his place in the world. Now, there’s no good to be had in putting a bullet into a man that owes you money, so instead we’re sent after this shit’s daughter.

I’d seen this girl around town – good woman, sharp. Legs for days, that one. Soon as I saw her, I could tell she wasn’t no brick. It was too bad – fine woman like that. She’s the kinda ticket you’d love to punch in one way, but hate to punch in the other, yeah? At least, that’s how it was for me – as soon as that Brick got his eyes on her, I reckoned he was lookin forward to punching both. Like I said – a brick if there ever was one.

The job didn’t feel right by me – but by that time, any job killin a Warren had started to feel a bit off. Mighta been that I’d just had enough, mighta also been on account of how much that fuckin Brick enjoyed it. Either way, I kept out of the dirty work and minded the door. That Brick had no complaints – he’d made it clear what he wanted from the poor girl. Even took the time to remind me that me and my “limp dick” would only get in the way. Motherfucker. Anyway, I was just keeping watch, so my conscience was clear. Not that it mattered; I was a brick just the same. Whether or not this girl got cut didn’t make a lick of difference.

She kicked and screamed as he wrestled her down – bawled even, squealed. I couldn’t help but think of Warren – the first Warren. He laid there, squealin, waitin for his train, while I snacked on his junior fuckin mints. How awful that was.

Brick, just the same.

From there, it’s mostly a blur. Somethin changed in me. I tried to pull that Brick up off the poor girl, but he had his knife in me before I knew he’d swung it. Three or four times he must have stuck me – like he’d been beggin for the fuckin opportunity. Jesus H – what a fuckin Brick that guy was. Had barely finished gutting me before he turned back to the girl.

I fell back against the wall. I could feel this warmth pouring from my chest – this cold snap of copper in back of my mouth. I don’t remember firing – I don’t even remember drawing my gun, but I heard familiar sounds as I put a bullet into his skull.

Bam, thud.
No surprises there.

The girl stood – I guess she was shocked. Her mind hadn’t absorbed it as well as his. God damn, she looked like hell. She passed this glance as she walked out the door – looked like gratitude.

Hah. Wishful thoughts of a falling brick.

I sat there a spell, and wondered.

What am I doin, waiting?
Ticket’s punched… was I wrong?

Fuckin A.

People don’t die like they aughta.
Not at all like you’d expect ‘em to.

Renewed.
By: Josh Quinnett | April 21st, 2010

From my personal blog, Said the Fox.

It’s been a long time since I last updated SaidtheFox, and for that I apologize. Not to any of my stalwart readers – though I do appreciate your time – but rather to myself.

Aside from the regular (and sometimes overwhelming) schedule of schoolwork, I’ve not jotted a single word in the interest of creative expression. For that, I suffer.

I’ve found that without regular practice, the words come more and more slowly. What once flowed so effortlessly from mind to page is now dam(n)ed by a genuine inability to compose a rational thought. I bleed each word – even now, which further dampens my motivation to continue with any real effort.

I’ve felt this way once before, and just as I reached the peak of my frustration, I stumbled upon the following advice:

Writers write. That’s what they do. If you’re not writing all the time, you forfeit the label. Not permanently. You can get it back, but it’s all about action, not intention. Everyone has a great novel, or even a great blog post, somewhere in them. The difference between those who do it and succeed and those who don’t is, yes, of course a matter of skill and talent, but also, maybe most important, a matter of effort.

Jeff Green

Today as I reviewed this advice once more, I found myself  invigorated. Though my words may come with difficulty this evening, I am reminded of what I am capable of, and why I’ve devoted such time and effort into developing this craft.

With enough effort, I can do this.

That said, I will write every day. Some of it will be fiction.  Some of it will be random blogs. Most of it will be terrible – but I’m going to write it anyway.

Every day.

Oh! Nine!
By: Josh Quinnett | January 1st, 2010

2009 has come to a close, and I guess such an event calls for the obligatory ”year in review” post. Lets roll.

A lot of shit happened in ‘09, most noteworthy perhaps is my effort and eventual success in getting said shit sorted out. I escaped cubicle hell, went back to school, and earned myself a degree. Shazam. Moving on.

Just yesterday I signed a lease on my new apartment in Iowa City – a commitment signifying my desire to A: move out and B: attend the University of Iowa. There’s a lot to be said for that, I think. For starters, it’s a hell of a lot easier to talk shit when your not going home to your parents basement. So.. huzzah, right?

This time last year, I had just started courting Sara, and now I’m making plans to celebrate the anniversary of that event. I guess that means things are going well – I certainly can’t complain. We’re a pair, her and I.

I’m a bit dissapointed with the lack of fiction I’ve written over these past 365 days, but my time at Gamer Limit has afforded an immense amount of experience, which I like to think balances things out to a degree. Regardless, if I manage to make any resolutions for myself, “more fiction writing” will be among them.

I guess I like to think a kind of evolution has occurred. I find myself to be much more… capable, than ever before. Goals seem attainable. I feel successful.

I think that wraps it up nicely.

2009 was successful.

Let me preface this post by admitting that I haven’t slept in roughly 48 hours, and my cognitive engines are running the limited capacity provided by stale instant coffee. You’ve been warned.

As I traverse these wonderful internets, I often stumble across what at first appear to be advertisements for pornography, or lewd social networking sites – I’m sure you’ve seen them. They often depict scantily clad women, and text that suggests they’ll take you to a world where your actions are “unnoticeable”.

Though they may exist to draw attention to the online strategy game of questionable quality known as “Evony”, I believe they also serve a more subtle, slightly sinister purpose.

In short, I think putting pictures of half-nude ladies all over our fair internets is a crude attempt to stimulate our willies and draw us to the nefarious dens of the numerous online porn outlets.

Just sayin.

Simon Jones’ recent editorial, Professional Gaming vs. The World got me thinking about the reasoning behind Blizzard’s decision to remove LAN support from SC2.  Many have suggested that it was an effort to support Battle.net and reduce piracy – but there is another factor to consider.

As stated in Simon’s article, the professional Starcraft scene is dominated by KeSPA.

By removing LAN play, Blizzard ensures that all multiplayer goes through Battle.net, allowing them to consolidate control of the professional SC2 scene.

For more details, check out the following blog post by Battle.net forum regular, Ghetto-Overlord:

http://www.ghetto-overlord.com/Blog/?p=1109

Blizzard Responds
By: Josh Quinnett | July 14th, 2009

Yesterday evening Blizzard responded to my The Things I did for a Starcraft 2 Beta Key article with the following:

“Josh, you definitely made our Monday morning a bit more interesting. ;) We *could* request some of that video footage you mentioned, but I think the pictures prove enough. I actually enjoy grapefruit, and couldn’t handle looking at it smothered in peanut butter.

And with that, you are on the list for the StarCraft II beta! Once it starts your account will be flagged for access automatically. Thanks for being a good sport, and for your enthusiasm. And for giving us all a good laugh! :)

Win.