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Little 7-year old Pfug climbed out of bed eagerly, this cold Saturday morning. No school, a cold day, no errands to run...It meant only one thing: Bugztown™!
He quickly put on the Bugsuit™ and logged in the Bugsystem. It was going to be a pretty day in Bugztown. Oh yeah!
He walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. A large Beetle loomed ahead. It seemed to be putting dishes in the dishwasher, no matter how strange that may sound. Pfug giggled, imagining the face of his mother on the body of that huge beetle. He grabbed his jacket and stormed out of the house.

The light blinded him at first. It was a sunny day, only a few clouds, like little white sheep in the sky. Everything was glistening with last night's rain.
''Ah...this place could only exist in the digital world'' Pfug sighed as he passed the white wooden fence that circles his bughome. He started picking up the pace as soon as he rounded the corner, running wildly down the road that would take him to the Bugztown™ central area, where all the newbies are, where all the action is. On the road, he passed a Cockroach pushing
a pram that contained a little mosquito, a fly making pizza deliveries and a bee running into a florist shop. Everything was running smoothly today, almost too smoothly. Everything was seamless; the computer A. I was functioning normal, with all the Bugz® going about on about their business, and even the players themselves seemed to be trying to fit in the general surroundings. It was a perfect day, Pfug thought. The only thing that bugged him (ha-ha, excuse the pun) was the fact that no one seemed impressed by him today. His dragonfly character was already awesome in its own right (and he had paid a handsome amount of money to get it), but after reaching level 20, he was a God in this game. Or at least a semi-God, Pfug thought. Just yesterday, he had gotten into a fight with a grasshopper that had looked at him the wrong way, and kicked his ass in the arena. It was a glorious day, even though he got in trouble the next day for not doing his homework. He didn’t regret it. After all, it was after the fight that he met that pretty butterfly girl.

He remembered when she came up to him. He quickly ran a whois command to see if he was in any danger. It turned out she was from Japan, she was the same age as he was and she liked lilies. She said her name was Hiakae. She said she was very impressed by his fighting skills. She said she might want to meet him outside Bugztown and when does he get out of school?
His heart was beating so hard he almost died on the spot. But he relaxed after a little while. He liked this girl, even though he usually hated them. But she was different…she didn’t care about dresses and girly stuff. That night before supper, he went to his mom to ask if he may see this girl after school tomorrow. She was doing the dishes again, and she didn’t turn to talk to him. She said that he can’t discuss this right now. She said ‘’ask me tomorrow’’. Pfug thought about asking his dad, but he was watching TV again, and he thought it might be best if he didn’t disturb him. Maybe after the weekend. Monday was good as any day. And he might see her again in Bugztown™!
But now he had other things to do. He thought he might go buy a new sword, there was a SpiderSlayer he had his eyes on for some time now. Then he might be able to take on the Spider Lord’s castle. He reached the town centre, avoided the various Bugztown citizens on their way to work and turned towards the weapon shop. After about 20 minutes of using his maxed barter skill, he was the happy owner of The Sword of Spider Slaying™®. He rushed out of the shop and ran up the road to his Bughome jumping around and yelling about dead spiders and splattered spider brains. Soon, exhausted but still happy, cradling the huge sword between his arm and his ribcage, he reached his home. It looked somewhat mishap, now that he looked closely. It looked more like his real actual home, although transformed to fit the Bugztown™ theme. Maybe a new feature of Bugztown™? Little Pfug shrugged and went to the door. It was time to log out and go talk to mommy about his new girlfriend. He laughed and entered the house. The scene awaiting him in the kitchen was horrible.
The dishes were pilling everywhere. What the hell did that Beetle do? Wasn’t she supposed to wash the dishes? He ran up to the Beetle’s room and kicked the door.

Sprawled on the floor near the window was his mother-beetle lying. A large gaping wound on her chest was still smoking from the shotgun blast. The Father-Cockroach was holding his pump-action shotgun with one hand, outstretched towards little Pfug’s mother. The second shot blew of her head completely, leaving only a bleeding stump in its place. The blood splattered Pfug’s face, and basically everything in the room. The Father-Cockroach turned to him and said:
‘’What the hell do YOU want?’’
Then, he placed the mouth of the shotgun under his chin, and pulled the trigger. Pfug dropped the plastic sword he was holding.

‘’I see, Pfug. You certainly have come along way since you’ve been here. You were moved here when? 2007-2008?
‘’2007 doctor Kamy.’’
‘’Ah…yes. At least you seem to understand that those were your parents that died, and not bugs.’’
‘’Yes sir.’’
‘’And do you know why Pfug?’’
‘’No sir.’’
‘’Yes you do Pfug .Because you never logged in that day. You only went for a walk. No Bugztown™. Everything was real that day.’’
‘’Yes Sir.’’
‘’But you still insist that we are all bugs, am I right, Pfug? The doctors are beetles, the nurses as butterflies, the inmates as cockroaches and spiders and grasshoppers. You see the inmates as bad, us as good. Is that right Pfug?
‘’Yes sir. You are a Beetle.’’
‘’No I am not, Pfug. And you’re not a dragonfly. None of us is a bug. And there are no bugs here. None.
‘’Really, doctor Kamy? Then what is that cockroach doing behind you?And why is he holding an axe?

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The following comments are for "Bugztown©"
by northerain

Haven't seen you in awhile - welcome back! There were a few grammatical errors, some spelling 'mishaps', but there was something about this that worked for me. Maybe it was the semi-psychotic way that you subverted reality?

My advice to you: cut out the epilogue type ending with the shrink. Been there, done that, and the sentences - 'Then, he placed the mouth of the shotgun under his chin, and pulled the trigger. Pfug dropped the plastic sword he was holding. ' - would make for a very impressive, very ambiguous ending.

See, we are already suspecting that Pfug has trouble dealing with reality, and we are pretty sure that his parents died in reality. But not TOTALLY sure, and that uncertainty fits perfectly with the rest of this. By making it too explicit at the end you are robbing this piece of whatever second-guessing it induces in the reader.

I enjoyed your use of TM and C. Very postmodern, like the rest of the piece. With some touchups I could see this going places.



( Posted by: strangedaze [Member] On: April 16, 2005 )

Pretty freaky. A vivid journey through a very strange landscape, trip-like at times. I don't want to use any of those names in case I am libel but I enjoyed that township of beetles story. On another level you deal with a virtual reality future where reality and fantasy can become mixed up when someone undergoes a tragedy. That was a good idea and imaginatively realised. Good one.

( Posted by: Smithy [Member] On: April 19, 2005 )

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