“Well, wanna go see if there’s any old person games to play? Pretty sure there’s some dominoes or Cribbage. There’s at least gotta be a deck of cards,” Mitch offered so that they didn’t dwell on the subject any further.
“You think that old Nintendo is still around?” Jodie perked up.
“Don’t see why it wouldn’t be. I’ll go check upstairs.” Releasing her, and he hurried to his old room. It’d been converted into a den with a daybed and a loveseat, but the decor remained mostly the same. His old skis were mounted to the wall in an X shape, since surely they did not fit anymore. On a large bookcase along the back wall was a variety of paperback novels, DVDs, and knick knacks, so he searched there. A clear plastic container sat on the bottom shelf, and in it was the NES and two controllers, with numerous grey cartridges covered lined up next to it.
Gathering everything up, he returned downstairs and announced “Good news!” to Jodie while dropping it all onto the coffee table.
“Why did you even have any of this?” Jodie crossed over into the living room and glanced over the bounty. She picked up the copy of River City Ransom and stared at the artwork. “I never asked, but I always thought that it was kind of funny that you did. Even I had a Playstation, and we were dirt poor. But you had these antiques.”
“Roland picked it up at a thrift shop. He was worried that we wouldn’t bond or that I’d get bored when we were down here.” Mitch removed the console from the bin and put it in front of the TV. “His roommate in grad school had one, so he knew the games and we could play together.”
“Well, you and I got a ton of use out of it, that’s for sure.”
With the cables and controllers untangled and plugged in, Mitch noted that nothing had been touched in the last decade. Memories flashed of being a pre-teen and hanging out in this exact spot, staying up much too late while the two of them tried and failed to beat level 57 of Bubble Bobble. He craned his neck backwards to look at Jodie and asked, “How has it almost been 20 years since we met?”
“Oh god, don’t say that!” she gasped. “Our friendship is almost old enough to buy smokes now.”
“Speaking of which-” Reaching into the breast pocket of his flannel, he grabbed and presented a joint. “Get this going.”
“Don’t have to tell me twice!” Plucking it from his fingers, Jodie plopped onto the leather sofa. As Mitch finished setting up, a lighter clicked twice before the familiar stench of burnt paper and weed wafted over. “Is it alright if we do this in the house?” she inquired after exhaling.
“Maybe crack that first,” Mitch tilted his head towards the window behind her, and she scrambled to comply. “Pretty sure Roland and Marie used to get high in here, though. One of the neighbors they’re friendly with grows it. So as long as we’re courteous and air the place out before we leave, it should be fine.”
“Nice hat, by the way,” Jodie commented in between coughs and dangled the joint in front of his face.
“Thanks. A real sweet babe made it for me.”
“She sounds hot.” Sliding off of the couch, Jodie took a seat next to Mitch while he took a hit. As she fidgeted with a controller, she asked, “On the topic of sweet babes, when’s Avi supposed to get here?”
Mitch resisted the immediate urge to check his phone and see if there were any texts. “Flight was supposed to get in around 2, so…dunno, between 4 and 5, if they don’t stop anywhere? I’m sure we’ll get an update if they get lost.”
“Do we know the girlfriend’s name?”
“Nope.” Mitch popped the ‘p’.
“You gonna be cool?”
“Cooler than a cucumber. I would have called this off if I wasn’t otherwise.”
“That’s bullshit,” she shook her head, and he softly chuckled.
“No really, I got this. Having a crush doesn’t even mean anything.” He paused, then slumped his shoulders. “I’m kind of an expert in having them by now. No big deal.”
Jodie tutted. “World’s saddest boy, this one.”
“Shut the fuck up,” Mitch shoved her, then hit the power button. “Let’s get our asses whooped in Bubble Bobble.”