Some Kid At the Airport: hey, man, do you have a quarter?
ME: No. But I do have a signed Gary Coleman poster if that will help you out.
SKAA: Who's Gary Coleman?
[Several minutes of digging through six-hundred bags, most of them held together by the electrical tape I had through some remarkable feat of planning or laziness put/left in my backpack. Dramatic unfurling.]
ME: This?is Gary Coleman.
SKAA: So you don't have a quarter?
ME: Come on, man, cut me some slackGary was big in the eighties. He even had a cartoon.
SKAA: So? My dad said Martin Short had a cartoon. Who cares?
[I think that sound is me laughing, but it could be something less libelous]
ME: Martin's actually doing quite well for himself these days. I just saw him host the Electronic?interactive?uh?annual?you know, awards.
SKAA: I've never even heard of that.
ME: Well, I don't think anyone really has. But they had free drinks. And the Final Fantasy guy was there.
[Kid now showing some signs of interest]
ME: No Mizamozo yama..ha?ma or something. I don't know; I'm tired. The guy who created Final Fantasy.
SKAA: Hmm. So where was he at, now?
ME: I told you, the intercontinental?achievement?art?he was at E3.
[Kid's eyes widen; his pulse quickens; small rivulets of drool emerge from the corners of his lips, beading up in his struggling teenage moustache]
SKAA: You mean like?.
[expansive hand gesture]
ME: Yep. Los Angeles. The Electronic?uh?video game convention.
SKAA: No way.
ME: You don't think Gary Coleman would just be hanging out in the street do you?
SKAA: I told you, I don't know anything about Gary Coleman.
ME: Well, what about Kate Mulgrew?
SKAA: Janeway? Uhnn. [shrug]
ME: Okay?Tony Hawk?
SKAA: Tony Hawk? Like, the guy in the video game?
ME: Uh, yeah. He also happens to be one of the best skaters ever. In real life. He was hanging out skating on half pipes all day.
SKAA: They had a half-pipe there?
ME: They had three half pipes there. Two of them were inside, and one was over at the beer party.
SKAA: Holy shit!
ME: You said it. I didn't even know about one of them for two days.
SKAA: Two days? How long were you there?
ME: Four. Including the boring press stuffyou know the PlayStation stuff, the Nintendo stuff.
SKAA: Woah. So, did you see any PlayStation 2 games?
[peals of laugh from me fuzz out the audio for a while]
ME: Uh, yeah. Yeah I did.
SKAA: Did they look cool?
ME: Most of them. Some of them played really sloppy though.
SKAA: You got to play them?
ME: Most of them.
ME: No. I didn't have time by the time I finally got to Mick Foley.
SKAA: Mankind? Oh my god. Oh my god.
ME: Well, I didn't get a lot of time for him, because I had to get to the Toxic Avenger and Space Channel 5 Go-Go dancers.
SKAA: What do you mean Go-Go dancers?
ME: You knowgirls with tight clothes dancing and stuff.
SKAA: So there were some hot girls there?
[more peals of laughter]
ME: Yeah, there were a few.
SKAA: Man. All I have is a PlayStation; I feel like a dork now.
ME: No, man, don't feel that way. There's some cool stuff coming out for the PSX this year anywayTerracon, Lunar 2, FFIX, Tony Hawk 2?you have nothing to worry about. Although, you should probably get a Dreamcast.
SKAA: Why? I heard that sucked.
[I must have been giddy, because I start laughing again]
ME: I used to think that too. But Jet Grind Radio is the coolest game I have ever seen?well, that might be going too far considering Kessen and Dynasty Warriors, and well?it was really cool though.
SKAA: Shit. I would, but I have to save up for a PlayStation 2. Isn't it going to be like almost 400 bucks?
ME: Nope. $299.
SKAA: Well, that's a little better, I guess.
ME: Hey, it's a DVD player too, what do you want?
SKAA: Yeah. When's it come out?
ME: October 26? Next fall.
SKAA: So you just got to hang out and play cool games, meet babes, and drink beer all day?
ME: Well, the beer wasn't around all day, which was lucky for me?but basically, yeah. Except that I have to write a shitload of articles now, which is really a bummer.
SKAA: Lame. Maybe you can find some way out of that.
ME: That's the hope.
SKAA: So who do you work for? A magazine or something?
ME: A Website. Gamesfirst.com. Have you ever seen it?
SKAA: I don't know, maybe. Do you have cheats on it?
ME: Yes, [irritably] we have cheats on it. But there are other things in the world.
SKAA: Hmm. So, do you have any pictures of the Go-Go girls?
[I know I was smiling at this point]
ME: Let's sit down. Let me show you a video?
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