There’s a Video Game Controller Out There, on That Roof

Disclaimer: I don’t want to write about what’s going on right now, because it’s all anyone is talking about. As an American, I find it so difficult to watch the news that I can only take it in 5-minute bursts at the end and beginning of the day. So, if you were hoping for my perspective on the pandemic, I’m sorry, but I just don’t want to write about it.

What I do want to write about though . . .

LS-Controller on the Roof

. . . is the Playstation 4 controller on that roof just across the way.

I saw it when I sat down at my window, intending to keep hammering at the timeline for my WIP.

But progress on the timeline was so slow that I kept glancing up at the shape of it. A black dot that, in different light, had been a plastic bag from a bodega, sun-stuck to roof tiles. But now . . .

“Is that a controller?”

I squinted, but still wasn’t sure.

I got my camera, but the zoom wasn’t good enough.

The magnification was, however.

LS-Controller on the Roof Zoom-In

“Son of a bitch,” I said aloud.

Why is it out there?

Who throws a controller, even a broken one, onto a roof?

Actually though . . . it doesn’t look broken. Is it even scuffed?

Did it land right-side-up like that?

Did someone just . . . climb up there and lay it down?

It wouldn’t be impossible. There have been weird things on that roof before.

LS-Controller on the Roof Boots

Like these boots left by construction workers while they were rain-proofing it.

But I didn’t just notice those boots–I noticed their absence. I’ve been checking that roof for more weird shit to photograph since moving into this apartment, so how did I miss this controller? And how long has it been out there?

It could’ve been tossed out there this past week in a really unfortunate burst of lockdown-gaming rage (it’s a PS4 controller though, so I doubt it, because Mario Kart isn’t on PS4).

Or it could’ve been a bizarre, bottle-flipping challenge? The kind where you get only one turn? No. That doesn’t make sense.

If I had to write a story about it, the protagonist would’ve stolen his friend’s only PS4 controller and put it on that roof as a prank directly before lockdown. Maybe he can see the friend’s window from his room, so he just waits for the reaction. Maybe he sends texts with hints about where the controller is, assuming his friend is looking, but that friend never answers. Never appears at the window. The protagonist doesn’t go crazy (too ham-fisted) but does devote way too much attention to that friend’s reaction, going through the trouble of moving things in his room so he can sit where he can both play his own video games and watch the old curtains of his friend’s room.

But, of course, as time goes on and that friend doesn’t show up, the protagonist gets impatient–sends texts that are never answered. Maybe Summer comes and the protagonist’s parents put his AC back in his window so he can’t sit there anymore.

And then, maybe he starts to forget about it. His parents just leave the AC in the window until it snows. They finally take it out, but the roof is covered with snow, so our protagonist can’t even see the controller, the gag forced into hiatus.

And so maybe the protagonist completely forgets about the prank until the following Spring, when he looks out the window and realizes the controller’s gone. No triumphant text from his friend. No smug look from the window.

No idea if his friend took the controller back or even saw it there, water-logged and sun-dried.

Ultimately, it would be a story about a stupid kid, sitting at a window, finally noticing that the curtains across the way, in his friend’s room, are different.

Published by

Louis Santiago

I'm a fantasy writer based in New York. Recently, my short story, "Aixa the Hexcaster," was published at Mirror Dance Fantasy. You can read it here: http://www.mirrordancefantasy.com/2016/09/aixa-hexcaster.html.

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