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Copyright (c) 1980, 1982, 1983, 2006 Sekocom, Inc.  All rights reserved.
CHRISTMAS! is a registered trademark of Sekocom, Inc.
Revision 23 / Serial number 8940726

West of Apartment Complex

You are standing in an open field west of a white apartment complex, with a boarded front door.  There is a small mailbox here.

> go home

You turn to your left and find yourself at an airport. The line of weary parents and unsupervised children snakes around the airport twice.

> stand line

You find the first available line and deposit yourself and your luggage at the end of it. In front of you is a college student of indeterminate age with suspect hygiene. To your right is an incontinent child.

> ignore

You are unable to ignore the stale sweat with its hints of Adderall and vodka. The child to your right is making a face.

> stop face

You grab the child by the face. Its father lunges at you. He is carrying the child, a camera case, a man-purse, a laptop bag, a carry-on, three large suitcases, his wife’s hat and two pairs of sunglasses.

> fuck him

Are you sure you want to do that here?

> fine punch dad

You strike the father in the face and make contact with one pair of sunglasses, a camera case, a carry-on, one large suitcase and his wife’s hat. The child resumes making a face.

> stop face

You grab the child by the face. Its mother lunges at you. She is carrying a copy of 50 Shades of Grey, a lady-purse, a child’s car-seat and a pet-carrier containing a small yapping animal.

> kick mom

You kick the mother in her lady-purse. She throws 50 Shades of Grey at your head but it strikes the unkempt college student in his. As he turns around she drops the pet-carrier and looses the small yapping animal. The family chases after it as screams of “Rat! Rat!” echo through the terminal.

> cut in line

You occupy the place vacated by the family. A few of your fellows-in-line shoot you disapproving looks but they are too demoralized to care. Five hours later you reach the ticket counter and receive your boarding pass.

> bout fucking time

There is no one here for you to fuck. You walk to your gate and await the initiation of boarding procedures. Hours pass. Centuries. Kingdoms rise and fall. Great men are born and die alone on sodden streets. Women are elected to offices higher and highest. Hot coffee spills from your tilted cup onto your most sensitive parts.


The coffee has soaked through your boxers and threatens to weld them to your skin. Your favorite bits will never work again.


This is no dream.


You are wide awake and in unimaginable pain. You begin to imagine life a life without–


You begin to imagine life with–


You are?


Because its jaws are fearsome and it loves coffee …


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  • Warren Terra

    A masterpiece of eliminationist rhetoric.

    • SEK

      I can’t write one of these without killing myself.

      • expatchad

        Wonderful. Maybe I could write one after killing myself.

      • Njorl

        As long as you save first, it’s OK if you die.

  • Jon H

    FYI, the Infocom games are now available on the iPhone/iPad App Store. Zork I is free with the app, a $9.99 in-app purchase gets you 27 Infocom games.

    • SEK

      I’m glad 1) you informed me of this after the quarter ended and 2) I don’t have an iAnything, or you’d never hear from me again.

      • Njorl

        You are in a maze of twisty little parser games all alike.

    • Linnaeus

      You can play them online, too.

  • rea

    Why does the child smell of Adderall and vodka?

    • SEK

      Have you smelled an undergraduate lately? Because based on my nose, that’s all they eat.

      • rea

        Back in my day, they smelled of pizza and marijuana

        • MAJeff

          Getting old and fat, I miss both of those things.

          • SEK

            If you stick to my diet, you might get old, but you won’t get fat.

            • MAJeff

              That sounds appealing. I want to fit in the contents of the “skinny pants” box again.

            • Phoenix Rising

              My diet is the other way around. But yes, based on how my rental properties with undergrad tenants smell…Ritalin and Chivas work too. Apparently the amphetamines really work better with distilled spirits, or possibly stop working only when you add liquor.

              • GMC

                My undergrads always smell like body spray and desperation.

                Christmas break changed my diet to copious of fried seafood. Mmmm shrimp poboys.

            • expatchad

              My diet results in getting fat but not old.

              • cream

                The magical properties of jizz.

                • spencer

                  Jenbob, Jenbob, Jenbob ….

        • MAJeff

          I dunno if they smell of it, but the bloodshot eyes I see would seem to indicate that weed remains.

        • Brandon C.

          Thats what the high schoolers smell like now.

    • Njorl

      Without the adderall, you might pass out when your judgement has been completely eliminated.

  • Uncle Ebeneezer

    I can’t believe you didn’t look in the mailbox. There could have been a Publisher’s Clearinghouse winning envelope in that shit.

    • SEK

      Given my luck generally and Erik’s recently, I’m loath to open unexpected mail.

      • BigHank53

        Wayne LaPierre’s head is too big to fit in a standard residential mailbox.

        • expatchad

          Not if you (can) shrink it.

          • rea

            Compromise–the mailperson can leave your mail in LaPierre’s mouth . . .

        • That Other Mike

          I have to disagree – Wayne LaPierre is the quintessential pinhead.

  • Uncle Ebeneezer

    Speaking of travel adventures, in our recent trip to Dallas, we overheard a handful of wing nut rant/conversations in public places. A friend of mine who is very sharp on politics and super-liberal, likes to join any conversation he overhears and give them smack-downs when needed. I usually leave well enough alone but have been moving more towards calling out bullshit in public when I hear it. Just curious how others proceed.

    For the record we overheard:

    -2 businessmen complaining about California’s taxes “I tell my daughter that someday she’s gonna be paying 90% of her income in taxes!”

    -2 middle-aged/wealthy women lamenting how reading “The Greatest Generation” has shown them that people don’t want to take responsibility anymore (citing frivolous lawsuits as evidence.)

    -2 two dudes in cowboy hats referring to Obama as the guy who “sold 200k guns to Mexican cartels and now wants to talk about gun regulation.”

    • In a related point, Dallas is one of my least favorite cities in this country.

      • Desert Rat

        As somebody with a fair amount of Texas roots, I’m actually a strong advocate of tearing up the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, and handing Texas back to Mexico with a heartfelt letter of apology.

        • Julian

          would the apology be for taking Texas or giving it back?

      • Uncle Ebeneezer

        To be fair the first two happened in CA (Pasadena over pre-airport breakfast) and in the San Francisco airport, respectively.

        But…since you bring it up. We were dumbfounded by the general ass-backwards nature of Dallas and the suburbs where people like this we where visiting (a place recently famous for this).

        The security line at DFW was probably the slowest and most poorly run that I have ever suffered through. The highways are designed very poorly and are incredibly dangerous (and mind you, I live in LA and grew up in Boston so I’m no stranger to poorly designed and dangerous roads.) The service at most of the places we ate was terribly slow, and in general everywhere we went the people seemed rather clueless to anything beyond their immediate world (their church, local football team etc.) At first I thought my impressions were just based on the fact that I am used to the big city and this was very small-town America and the South. But Texas is a whole ‘nother thing. It takes the small-town ignorance and Southern politics and throws in a Texas-sized ego to boot. I couldn’t help thinking about their supposed superiority and never-ending threats to secede. I don’t think the Independent Texas would do as well as they think they would.

        Anyways, the whole trip culminated in me asking my wife “Is it just me, or is EVERYthing about Texas, fucking retarded?” which I think would be a great title for someone’s memoirs.

        • Speak Truth
          • spencer

            Also known as the only state that seceded from two different countries over the same issue – slavery.

          • Also known as “that was more than 2 years ago.”

          • Cody

            Indeed. A lot of rich people move there. It’s great if you have money to attempt to enslave the impoverished who have what appears to be in practice no rights in Texas…

            • Speak Truth

              It’s great if you have money to attempt to enslave the impoverished who have what appears to be in practice no rights in Texas…

              I’m calling bullshit on this practice of talking points without facts.

              Let’s have a little backup for these assertions about slavery and lack of rights in Texas.

              We’re listening….

              • Colin

                You mean like this?

                Also, I believe North Dakota would like a word with you about everybody wanting to move to Texas.

                • Speak Truth

                  Human trafficking is not slavery. It’s called smuggling people.

                  Such blatant dishonesty on
                  your part.

                  Where’s the bullshit about rich people moving in to enslave others?

                  Where’s the lack of rights?

                  What an asshole, liar, etc.

                  Face it, Texas has a great economy and is the most business friendly state which means there’s lots of JOBS.

                  Affordable property values
                  JOBS – low unemployment

                  Could be worse

        • The highways are designed very poorly and are incredibly dangerous (and mind you, I live in LA and grew up in Boston so I’m no stranger to poorly designed and dangerous roads.)

          If you think Dallas was the worst in this regard, well…you clearly didn’t go to Houston.

        • Eli’s favorite is Houston with its 20 mile beltway. The thing is sort of like a real city that someone big stomped on and squished flat.

        • Uncle Kvetch

          The highways are designed very poorly and are incredibly dangerous (and mind you, I live in LA and grew up in Boston so I’m no stranger to poorly designed and dangerous roads.)

          Holy shit, this! The Hubby’s family are now all in the San Antonio area (family visits were so much more fun when they all lived in SoCal, but whatever) and the poor design and horrible signage on the roads are truly breathtaking. I’ve driven in NYC, I’ve driven in Philly, but every visit to SAT has included a near-death experience on the highway, and I’m a pretty conservative driver.

    • JoyfulA

      I call out bs when I hear it. I also start conversations in quiet lines to push my point of view.

      • Slocum

        Boy, I want to hang out with you.

  • Warren Terra

    this seems relevant: Text Adventure: Zork Creators Honored With Pioneer Award

    Wired spoke to Dave Lebling, as well as another Infocom designer, for this story. But in honor of their achievements and their medium of choice, we’ve decided to present the results of our interviews in a text adventure of our own, below. You’ll have to play to find out more.


  • Urban Garlic

    How about an interview with the Zork guys in the form of a live, in-browser text adventure console?

    • Urban Garlic

      OK, there was supposed to be a link to where I found it on boingboing, but I see it’s already been mentioned anyways.

      Here’s another try.

  • Should have fucked the father. Gotta replay.

    • When they outlaw christmas balls, only outlaws will have balls. Or something.

  • Speak Truth

    The dishonesty by omission is simply stunning.

    • Jameson Quinn

      Yes, he did omit that grues love pancakes.

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