short stories

Sega Genesis

Sega Genesis

Going for the trifecta in posting three days in a row. Never done that before. The 63 posts that I completed yesterday have taken me more than two years to author. And at least eight of them are chapters from an e-book I wrote (for all you dedicated Apple people, there’s a Kindle app), where I bound myself to publishing a new chapter every two weeks, like Sir Charles Dickens serialized his novels back in the 19th century.

So this will be lucky #64. Sixty-four is sort of significant. You can write it as 26 (two to the sixth power). It also reminds me of Nintendo’s 64-bit gaming console, N64.

Nevertheless, I was a Sega Genesis guy (16-bit).

So when I was little—maybe 8 or so—I’d play Sega’s X-Men like every day. Errrrry day. I completed level after level after level. Then I got stuck on the second-to-last stage for what seemed like a couple of months.

I just couldn’t figure out how to beat it. You see, at the end of this level, a message appeared. It said ‘RESET THE COMPUTER.’ Yet there was nowhere on the screen to reset the computer. A timer counted down, and frantically I searched for a solution. Time after time, the clock would dial down to zero and I would lose. I’d lose a life and have to start the second-to-last level all over again.

Eventually, I’d run out of lives and have to restart the entire game. Slowly, I’d make my way back.

After a while, when I approached this fateful, seemingly dead end, my eyes would glance down at the Sega Genesis itself.

There was a little, grey reset button there. It was installed by the manufacturers to reset the console, in case a game ran into glitches—kind of like restarting your computer. As I watched the clock winding down, time after time, an idea slowly crept into my mind: What if that was the solution?

I was extremely hesitant resorting to such a drastic measure. If it truly was not the solution, I would lose everything. No matter how many lives I had at the end of the second-to-last level, I would surely have to start from scratch. The risk for failure seemed too great.

One day, I got fed up with inevitably losing. I reached the end of that level and the clock began counting down. I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger (Dutch) when Predator initiated his self-destruct sequence and the digital wristband counted down in those weird alien numbers. In a fit of pure, pre-pubescent adrenaline, I threw caution to the wind and pushed that grey button.

The screen went blank. I thought for sure it didn’t work.

Then a little green cursor appeared in the upper-left corner of the TV screen. And messages scrolled across the display. The Sega Genesis had indeed not been reset. At last, I had “RESET THE COMPUTER,” as the X-Men game had been telling me to do.

This experience has stuck with me all these years. It symbolizes an evolution in thinking, a paradigm shift. In some ways it represents a fundamental change in the way I perceived Sega Genesis, the X-Men game and how I solve difficult life problems to this day.

short stories

See previous tweet…

Someone suddenly appeared at his doorstep. He never in fact saw this someone, just heard heavy footsteps creaking the weathered slats of his front porch. Perhaps a psychic, or maybe even a time traveler (if that’s possible), rapped on the large brass hanger that hung eye level on the monolithic frontdoor of his childhood home. The stranger left only a single business card, before disappearing as mysteriously as he had arrived. The boy of 12 slowly opened the door. Its hinges squeaked. And there, on the rough welcome mat, a tiny, neatly printed note.

The rather plain looking 2-inch by 3.5-inch piece of paper read:

Top tweets from

Both hands clutched #burrito, while he spoke into #earbuds. He refused to let a phone #convo impede talking with a full mouth @bolococommons
@TeamCoco Boston is the Wolverine of American cities.”
@TheOnion In Focus: NBA Arrested For Marijuana Possession
@natedog4th That pie’s gotta be cold by now!

The year: 1994. In the very first line, “” resembled something he had seen on this brand new computer reality called “The Internet.” Yet he could not comprehend why his name appeared before the “DOT com.” The 12-year-old imagination ran wild on fresh Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episodes and an uncomplicated opinion of the opposite sex, igniting elaborately impossible scenarios. In 1994, these were perfectly viable universes.

The 12-year-old intellect then attempted an extrapolation of “@bolococommons.”

“Where is bolo- bolo- bolocommons?” he said. “Boloco Commons? Boloco on the Commons.” The imagination took it one step too far. “Boston Local Commons,” the 12-year-old said. “Oh, so they change Boston Common to ‘The Local Boston Commons.'” The odorless scent of humor wafted his 12-year-old nose.

He knew who Wolverine was. The early-’90s 12-year-old logged some serious hours watching Marvel’s animated X-Men TV show.

@TeamCoco needed some explaining. @ConanOBrien was barely causing ripples in the toilet, let alone lighting up the Nielson ratings, in 1994. And it would be a decade and a half before @tomhanks coined Conan as Coco.

He believed that the entire NBA had been arrested for marijuana possession, which was devastating. He was really into basketball that year. The 1980s-born @celtics dynasty had fallen, but the Chicago Bulls were about to conclude the athletic trilogy of a 3-peat. @Jumpman23 believed he could fly.

He read the last tweet.

He wondered, “Who was @natedog4th?”

Or was it Nate Dog IV? And why did he care how cold the pie was? If only, he could see the previous tweet.

Also, What is a tweet? he thought.