The Guildhall was my worst mistake, though maybe my most catalytic one. It's a videogame college. It makes me frustrated and angry, more than anything else I've ever experienced. In 2013, I am given a standing ovation for being angry.\n\nI made the plans to go to the Guildhall before Slut and I started talking. I needed a way to get away from my family. I didn't realize that she, not the Guildhall, was going to be it.\n\n[[Back.|Texas]]
The year is 2008.\n\nThe place is Xbox Live.\n\nOkay, it's also New York, the Bronx, the place where I was born.\n\nWhen we're playing a game online, you see, we can talk to each other through our headphones. It's like a phone call - have we talked on the phone yet? No, I think that happens later - except with a game there. The game is a convenient [[pretense]]. This is a safe space for our first interaction.\n\nWhat should we play?\n[[Doom]]\n[[Marathon]]\n[[Aegis Wing]]
Years pass. We're in Oakland, a block away from our apartment. Slut is petting the big black dog, the one all our friends are scared of, the one who barks at everyone. Except she and I. Right now he is flopping on the ground and licking her hand as she pets him.\n\n"Do you want to pet him?" she asks.\n\n[[Time keeps moving.|petting the dog]]
The first semester of the Guildhall has ended. I get a week off, and I'm spending it at [[her place|dog]]. She's in my arms, playing a game called [[Mighty Jill Off|]] on my laptop. I made the game during my first semester at the Guildhall, on my own time, using my own computer so they couldn't make any claim to it. As an added measure, I made it really gay.\n\nMighty Jill Off is a game about an eager submissive masochist and her demanding Queen. I came up with it in my bathtub in Texas, listening to music on her borrowed Ipod, which the moisture slowly destroyed. It is pretty obviously a game about me and her.\n\nShe finishes the game for the first time. She tried a week before and gave up in frustration. "I DID IT, MA'AM."\n\n[[Time jumps again.|When Pigs Fly]]
We did a lot of things our first week together. I made a list, before I visited her, I made her memorize them and recite them back to me. Played means I did something mean and consensual to her. I don't think we fucked that first night, but I made her get off for me the next day, and then I got her off myself after that.\n\n[[Back.|picked up]]
She sends me [[a video of herself making pig noises|]]. I'm in New York, making [[a flash game about a flying pig|]]. The pig noises are sound effects, you see.\n\nI feel like this game is cheap, like I'm repeating myself. In my vanity, I worry that I've compromised and that nothing else I ever make will be good. I never talk about this game. Slut chastises me for it. This game, somehow, turned into my first apartment in Oakland, California.\n\n[[Time jumps, from coast to coast.|cocooned]]
Berkeley, crossing the street to Trader Joe's to pick up Two-Buck Chuck for a friend's dinner party. "Wouldn't it be better for us to die at the same time?" I ask. "That way neither of us has to bury the other."\n\n"No," she says, "cause whoever dies second gets to throw a big party for whoever dies first."\n\n[[Ti-|love]]
The year is 2008.\n\nThe place is [[Xbox Live]].\n
Self-adhesive bandages, for splinting sprained puppy legs. They're also marvelous for wrapping up people, because they don't stick to skin or hair. It takes ten-to-twelve rolls to cocoon Slut completely. I found a bulk animal supply store where I can get them for less than a dollar each.\n\n[[Back.|cocooned]]
This is where I found my voice, confused and startled, and where I began sharpening it into a weapon.\n\nIt's 2009, California, in the parking lot outside of Slut's house. The parking lot is for the church across the street. I am on the phone with MMMMMM, the editor-in-chief of the Gamer's Quarter, which by this point has stopped printing new issues.\n\n"All I'm saying is - look, when Anna says she's going to do something, she does it. You said you were going to move to California a long time ago." A heavy feeling settles on me like an old ghost. There's no money. I don't have any money to move out here.\n\nIt's the next night, or the one before. I am fucking her up against the wall of the church, in the parking lot. No one's around.\n\n[[Back.|meeting]]
It's night, I'm on my way back from downtown, and I stop to pet the dog. He buries his head in my hands. Someone who lives in the next house over steps out onto the front lawn.\n\n"Be careful around that dog."\n\n"Why?"\n\n"He'll bite you."\n\n"This dog won't bite me. I know this dog."\n\nIt doesn't occur to me until later that this dog's yard and that house are connected. A week later, the dog's yard is full of bones, and he's holding one, waiting for us to try and take it away from him.\n\n"They're training him," Slut says. "They're trying to make him more territorial. They're trying to make him behave like a guard dog." I feel as though I have betrayed this dog.\n\n[[Back.|Mighty Jill Off]]
What's this?\n\n"It's free," she says. "And we can play it together."\n\nIt's a generic space shooting game. We each fly a little spaceship, armed with little guns, through a gauntlet of enemy fleets that basically just fly towards us and shoot. But there's a Twist(TM) - if our little spaceships fly near each other, they can attach, one on the top and one on the bottom, forming a larger, more powerful spaceship, one of us steering and one of us shooting.\n\n"I'm on top, of course." This is us cruising each other.\n\nHer voice is giddy and insistent in my ear-bud. [["Tell me what to do! Tell me what to do!"|what to do]]
"I love you to bits and pieces," I say. We're standing on the fire escape outside the apartment. It recently rained, the smell is in the air, we're avoiding the puddle that collected on the floor nearby.\n\n"I love you to sheeps and fleeces," she responds.\n\n"I love you to folds and creases."\n\n"I love you to rents and leases."\n\n"I love you," I say. It's impossible to tell when. I say it every day. It's outside of time.\n\nOut of [[t-|game over]]
"You suck!" her voice yells in my headphones. "How did you get killed, that boss was so EASY. I had to beat it MYSELF."\n\n"I got distracted. You're distracting. Get over here."\n\nOur ships link again - I'm on top - and speed off the screen.\n\n[[In summary,|score]]
I'm in Plano, Texas, where the [[Guildhall]] is. I am standing in the doorway of my new [[apartment]], watching her get into a car and leave. She is leaving me alone in this wasteland. I can't drive. I'm still vegan. There's a Subway across the street. By the time I leave Texas, I elevate the "veggie patty" from the secret menu to the Local Favorites board.\n\nI'm crying and I don't want her to see. I'm not on hormones yet and crying doesn't come easy to me, like it will later. I'm grateful for the tears. But I still don't want her to see them. I don't think she does.\n\n[[Time jumps forward a few months. Time is meaningless when she's not there.|Mighty Jill Off]]
She stayed with me the first few days, before class started. On New Year's we went to an awful party with the people who would become my classmates. When we got home, as our first act of 2009, we broke in my new bed. We broke my new bed. The entire time I was in Texas I slept diagonally.\n\n[[Back.|Texas]]
He has leukemia and FIV. FIV is like HIV, but for cats. Meowzbow is dying of AIDS.\n\n[[Back.|Meowzbow]]
A tiny girl with a wicked goblin smile that I met on OKCupid. A three-way play-date turned into love, quickly for me, more slowly for Slut. Being desired by this cute queer girl, I thought at the time, would do wonders for Slut's self-confidence.\n\n[[Back.|Albany Bulb]]
The last song on the album is by a band called Lamp Leaking Dead Flies. "One of these songs is by me. Guess which one." I guess Lamp Leaking Dead Flies last, even though it's obviously hers, because it confuses me. It's noisy and weird and I can feel it pushing against my mind's outer wall, forcing me to carve a new place for it.\n\n"Not that one," I say. This is me being stubborn and cruel and somehow she forgives me.\n\n[[Time jumps forward again.|Texas]]\n\n
Stumbling between the bathroom and the bedroom, Slut trips and hits the closet door. She lies there on the floor, screaming "I'm sorry! I'm sorry, Ma'am! I'm sorry!" She is drunk and I am scared. I assure her and get her into bed. I get very little sleep that night. Every time she gets up to go to the bathroom I watch, terrified she's going to fall over again.\n\nEarlier. Or later. She's crying and telling me what a burden she is. "You'd be better off without me! If I wasn't with you you'd have some pretty girl taking care of you!" I am touching her and assuring her that I have made a choice to be with her, that I want to be with her. This event is loose in time, it's a recurring pattern, it's impossible to pin down which instance this is.\n\n[[Time sews two threads together.|Albany Bulb]]
I'm holding an urn in my wrinkled hands. They're shaking a little. I hold the urn to my chest briefly, almost like I'm hugging it, but I don't go so far. That gesture is meaningless now. Then I hand the urn to the pilot.\n\nThe plane takes off, loops around. The first puffs of ash-grey cloud leave the back of the plane. Soon, there's a giant penis hanging in the sky.\n\nIt's what she would have wanted.\n\n[[Ti-|berkeley]]
"This is going to be your room until LLLLLL gets back from the army. I just finished putting the bed together." She runs into the room and jumps on the bed. It collapses.\n\n"Good thing there was no cat under there," she giggles to herself. Strider immediately pulls himself out from under the bed and darts away across the house.\n\nIn the months to follow, I spend too much time thinking: what if Strider had died that day, for reasons completely out of my control? Would we be together still?\n\n[[Back.|picked up]]
AEGIS WING is a game for the Xbox Live Arcade network. It is free to download.\n\nFive out of five stars.
I have all this new weight on my body: hips, tits, an ass. I had a hard time keeping up with Slut before - I'm a slow walker, she's always in a hurry. Now I fall behind constantly. I wonder if it's going to be this way the rest of my life, always her waiting for me to catch up. It's not, but I don't know that yet.\n\n[[Back.|burial]]
2012. NNNNNN drives us to the Bulb. We're carrying a little box, and in the box is little Meowzbow's body. We take turns carrying him. I can't believe how heavy he is. I get tired so quickly these days, because of the [[hormones]], and NNNNNN takes the box from me.\n\nWe find the prettiest place in the Albany Bulb, and we leave the prettiest cat in the world there.\n\n[[Time keeps going.|broken arm]]
"Shoot, [[Slut|slut]]. You'd better not let any of those purple ships leave the screen alive."\n\nShe scrambles to obey, even though she's "not good at this kind of game." Years later, in this same room, she completes the first stage of R-Type without dying because I'm coaching her through it, directing her. But that hasn't happened yet.\n\nSometimes one of us gets dislodged from the other - we're one unit, but both of us are independently vulnerable. She can be shot off of my underside. "Get back on top of me!"\n\nIt's not a very subtle metaphor, but it ADVANCES OUR AGENDA.\n\n[[The boss shows up.|boss]]
Doom is colorful, silly, loud, punchy. It's pretty great if you're playing as a team, screaming at each other about the thing in the next room that just killed you AND IS ABOUT TO KILL YOUR TEAMMATE. If you're playing against each other, though, the worlds of the game aren't designed for that, they're designed for the heroes to blunder room to room, a surprise birthday party of monsters waiting in each. In DEATHMATCH mode, these spaces become hollow labyrinths, and you wander through them for hours, trying to find each other.\n\n[[Maybe something different.|Xbox Live]]
California. This is the second time I've been here. The first time, I went to [[GDC]] on behalf of a little independent magazine called [[The Gamer's Quarter]]. I was worried I would never come back here again.\n\nShe finds me near the baggage claim. I know her the moment I see her - or maybe a little before. Time's a little funny right now. She's a rainbow. She recognizes me the moment she sees me, too. I'm wearing all black.\n\nShe is nervous, her nervous energy is radiating off of her, jumping and leaping, everywhere. The more nervous she gets the louder she gets. I make her take my bag. We stand outside the terminal, waiting for her then-boyfriend to pick us up in his car. She turns to me. She has a big, anxious smile. The smile is seared onto my memory, it escapes time, I can see it right now.\n\n[[We get picked up.|picked up]]
"We're never going to die, Ma'am. We'll just be floaties." She curls up to me. "We'll be floaties forever and we'll never get bored."\n\n[[Time.|gay]]
It's a week later. "Put your hands at your sides, Slut," I tell her. "Keep 'em there."\n\nI can hear her mumble something into the phone, holding it with her shoulder. I'm pretty sure I know what she said, but I have her repeat it for effect.\n\n"What was that? Speak up."\n\n"I said I - <html><small>wanna - <small><small>jerk off.</small></small></small></html>"\n\n"If I let you move your arms again, will you jerk off for me?"\n\nIt's the first time I hear her come. The question of visiting her has already been raised; now the question is answered.\n\n[[Time tenses and jumps forward again, now skipping even farther.|meeting]]
She later claimed to be worried I was going to break the cord on her favorite Nintendo 64 controller.\n\n[[Back.|cocooned]]
We're in the Chapel of the Chimes - an aboveground mausoleum. Fucking, in front of the plaque that says "Gay." That's someone's name, someone's ashes are inside. The building we're in is open, and public, and echoes. Slut has to keep quiet while I fuck her.\n\nNo one catches us.\n\n[[Time.|sky]]
A hardware store in San Jose. CCCCCC lost the key to the collar he gave Slut - he's no dom, but she can't wear rings because of her skin allergies. I, however, am a domme, and I've spent a long time finding a [[collar]] for Slut that she can wear safely.\n\nThe key is in this case just an allan wrench, one of the L-shaped things, so we're at a hardware store, stealing one. "Try this one. Just get it open before they see us." I cover her as I find the size that fits the screw and hurridly unscrew it. Stupid, I'm turning it long-ways. I flip it around the other way and it goes faster.\n\nWe get the collar off and slip the wrench back into its plastic case, returning it to the shelf. No one is the wiser. Then we go back to [[her apartment.|collaring]]
Actually, this must have happened before we decided I was going to call her "Slut" and she was going to call me "Ma'am." Something funny must be going on with time.\n\n[[Back.|what to do]]
The boss has a time distortion weapon. We're seperated by an errant bullet. Before we can re-merge, I'm caught full-on in a laser.\n\n[[Time begins to distort.|phone sex]]
Wrong. There is no right answer here. It is the worst situation. No matter what I do I hurt someone I love. I comfort them both, but neither of them enough. I betray them both.\n\nIt takes me a long time to forgive myself for this night. When I do, Slut is still with me. KKKKKK is not.\n\n[[Time slips backward again.|allan wrench]]
It's our wedding. California has finally legalized gay marriage, and I've finally filled out all the paperwork to be recognized as a legal F.\n\nWe walk to the altar. We're both attired in our most beautiful dinosaur costumes. Our cake is at the head of the room, shaped like a city. We stomp it, destroy it, sit on it, smear pieces of it in each other's faces.\n\nIt's a beautiful ceremony.\n\n[[Skip back.|waiting room]]
The hospital waiting room. I wait for hours. They close the waiting room. I sit in the hallway, with another family. Then they disappear. I'm all by myself. I have never been so worried in my life. I keep waiting.\n\nWe don't know if she'll ever get full use of her arm back. We don't know if she'll ever not be in pain.\n\n[[Time goes - where?|floaties]]
We started talking because of a BDSM thread on a videogame forum. We both have ulterior motives here.\n\n[[Back.|Xbox Live]]
A stainless steel ring that she wears around her neck, with a little ring in the front that I can - and a few times do - attach a leash to. The ring is a little unsubtle and I like that.\n\n[[Back.|allan wrench]]
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She is bawling. She's bawling because i'm caning her. She's wrapped in a black [[vet-wrap]] cocoon, laid on the couch of my new apartment. Her head is exposed at one end, her feet at the other, and her ass in between. I'm hitting her ass with a cane and it //hurts//. She's crying and screaming. She hates me, sincerely, in this moment.\n\nA year earlier, in her apartment in San Jose - that was after the place in Santa Clara - she's tied to a chair, and I'm carrying a nightstick and making her beg me to fuck her with it.\n\nWe're in the bedroom and I'm hitting her ass three hundred times with a foam baseball bat while yelling "HEY BATTA BATTA SWING." Every time we reach the end I add fifty.\n\nLater, in Oakland. I'm chasing her through our new apartment, the two-bedroom one upstairs from our old one. She's slippery, I pull off her undies as she scrambles to get away from me. I chase her to the back room where I hogtie her with a Nintendo 64 controller cable and tickle her while she [[screams]].\n\n[[Time makes a strange connection.|drunk]]
New York again. I'm listening to a mix cd she sent me. She couldn't get the formatting right, so it's just a pile of music files, unordered, on a cd. On my computer, I click on the files one by one. They each escape time - whenever I hear one of these songs, I recognize it as a song from this CD, and time gets a little funny.\n\n[[Wolf Parade - I'll Believe in Anything|]]\n[[The Velvet Teen - Counting Backwards|]]\n[[Broken Social Scene - Shoreline|]]\n[[Ugly Casanova - Things I Don't Remember|]]\n[[Leonard Cohen - Avalanche|]]\n[[Xiu Xiu - Bunny Gamer|]]\n[[?????????????|Lamp Leaking Dead Flies]]
She kneels before me, naked. She's looking up at me. I put the collar around her neck. I twist the screw in. I adjust it on her, watching the ring dangle and glint. Her smile is enormous.\n\n"She wears it because she's my property," I explain to someone in a backyard in 2013.\n\nFrom then on she wears it, always. Outside of time. The only time she takes it off is for her surgery - the nurses have to scramble to find an allan wrench to take it off her, but they do. "Is that for bondage?" one of the attendants asks, laughing.\n\n[[Skip to the future.|wedding]]
2012. Slut is holding Meowzbow in our arms. I'm holding her. We're in our bed. Meowzbow is shaking, growling, screaming, pissing. Strider is standing next to us, howling in a voice we've never heard from him before. Slut is shrieking and crying. Meowzbow is [[dying]].\n\nIt's too soon. How did this happen so soon? The sounds he's making are escaping time. Meowzbow is escaping time.\n\n[[Like a rubber band stretched to its limit, time springs suddenly backwards.|mix tape]]
She's still staying at the dog boarding place. Sometimes after they clean up they take a dog into the apartment to hang out with them. Slut is a professional dog trainer, you see. That's how they got the apartment in the first place.\n\nThat night they bring an Irish Wolfhound into the apartment. It is a shaggy beast the size of a horse. "It'll help you get over your fear of dogs!"\n\nI slam the door to my room.\n\n[[Time distorts.|guard dog]]
LA. It is night, and people are playing games, and we just curated a very successful show called Metagirlactic Boners Battle at the Edge of Time, and we just met Pendleton Ward and Natasha Allegri, with whom we talked about Jersey Shore. Rachel is about to set up her dance-pad glitch-out collaborative music game.\n\nSlut comes up to me. "Ma'am," she says. Her arm is hanging at her side. "I think I just broke my arm."\n\n[[Time skips backwards.|break-up]]
KKKKKK and Slut are yelling at each other. Slut is hiding under the covers. KKKKKK is using a tone I have never heard before. "Am I being emotionally abusive? How dare you say I'm being abusive!" Our friends are in the other room, playing Kirby's Adventure. "You need to leave!" Slut is crying. "You're just hurting me. Please, I need to be alone." KKKKKK becomes dead weight. She doesn't want our friends to see her like this, she is possibly scared that if she leaves she may never be invited back.\n\n"Please, I don't feel safe around you right now."\n\nKKKKKK needs to sleep somewhere else tonight. Slut needs me to comfort her and help her process. KKKKKK is in no state to drive. She's not leaving the room, which is making Slut more distressed.\n\nWhat do I do?\n\n[[Make KKKKKK leave, take care of Slut.|wrong]]\n[[Go out into KKKKKK's car, comfort her until she can drive.|wrong]]
In 2013, I stand on stage at GDC. People are giving me a standing ovation because I was angry. This seems like a monumentally easy thing to be at the Game Developer's Conference. When the panel is over, friends hug me, lovers hug me, strangers hug me, Slut hugs me.\n\n[[Back.|meeting]]
Her then-boyfriend, CCCCCC, picks us up in his car and makes jokes about me being vegan. There's another dude from the internet in the car. We go out for burritos or something. Then we go to their apartment, which at this time is attached to a dog boarding place (as in a hotel, not as in [[this|]]), and they clean up at night in exchange for a reduction in rent.\n\nThat night, after we've [[played]], I hear Slut, who is poly, and CCCCCC, who is nominally poly, arguing outside my door.\n\nI meet [[Strider]], their cat, and Meowzbow, her cat, who she adopted after she got out of jail, and who she's had since he was a kitten. He is unimpressed by me.\n\n[[Time jumps forward in a big lurch.|Meowzbow]]
The Albany Bulb is a landfill, an island, a tangle of wilderness and trees and sculptures and abandoned art, a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Here, I feel like the world is far away, and my emotions very near and very real.\n\nWe climb a concrete castle, a primitive Flintstones house, graffitied and crumbling. She places a small plastic [[cock]] on the highest point and I take a picture of her gesturing at it. We are surrounded by the sea.\n\n[[KKKKKK]] is here, amused by our antics. On top of the castle, I take a photo of them in each other's arms that will later haunt me.\n\n[[Time skips.|burial]]
We found these at a Halloween / novelty store where LLLLLL's little sister works. They came in a box of novelty christmas lights that we found in a bin in the back. ("Check the back corner, that's where all the terrible stuff is," LLLLLL's sister told us.) A string of normal Christmas lights, with little hollow mushroom-penises to put over them, so that they'll glow from within.\n\nThe penises had little holes in their tips, so at a game jam in San Jose that week (KKKKKK drove) she made a game involving a bulls-eye and spitting through the hole in the plastic penis.\n\nNormally agreeable to the point almost of being invisible, that jam was the first time KKKKKK ever admitted she was bored somewhere we took her.\n\n[[Back.|Albany Bulb]]
Fuck yeah. We play "king of the hill" - whoever spends the longest time in the goal area wins - in the map with the giant pillar. The top of the pillar is the goal area. We set weapons to "fists only," and we set gravity to low. A single punch sends someone flying.\n\n[[What else?|Xbox Live]]